Growing hay (advice for a total newbie)
This is my first agricultural endeavor, so please be patient with my complete ignorance.
My family recently purchased 80 acres of virgin land in central Missouri. The plan is to hay it somewhat recreationally while we get our feet wet in the world of agriculture... and then eventually it will be the family farm, with horses, goats, chickens, etc...
Right now, the "pasture" area is a mixture of native grasses, weeds, johnson grass (eek!), and wild blackberries. My inclination is to disk the whole area we plan to use for hay, and start from scratch with organic seeds, and grow alfalfa or timothy or orchard grass... or some blend of the above that I would feel comfortable feeding to my own horses (because that's what I plan to do someday!) I never ever ever want a single toxic chemical to touch my beautiful virgin land (or my ponies' lips)! However... my father (the actual landowner) is a red-blooded Amurrican who loves his Roundup, and thinks I'm silly for paying extra for organic food. He thinks disking would be too much work and too expensive... His plan is to overseed with red clover, spot treat the johnson grass, and voila! hay.
??? Am I being irrational about the whole organic thing??? How do you guys feel about exposing your horses to herbicides? Is it really safe? Is disking really that difficult/pricey? (we don't have our own tractor yet, so right now we have to hire out all the labor until we have our own stuff) I just think it's a shame to start with land that has never been touched by toxic chemicals, and then spray poison all over it. But... I don't really know anything about farming, so... maybe I'm being unreasonable.