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Hay Production Tamara?

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  • Hay Production Tamara?

    Just had our first cutting( this year) done on our 12 acre hay field. Its orchard grass/alfalfa, and was planted about 4 years ago. We have a new farmer cutting it and we split it 40/60. He seemed disappointed in the yield he got and suggested that we fertilize it. Any suggestions on what to use, and any other ideas to increase yield? What should we get out of it? He said 70 bales an acre( 50 #), but I have in the back of my head that it should yield that in 3 cuttings not one.
    I plan to have the local farm service group come in to do soil analysis ansd suggest what to do, but am looking for additional info. TIA

  • #2
    Well, my thinking on a good producing field of alfalfa/orchardgrass should be in the neighborhood of 5 tons per acre per year, or 200 50# bales/year. We just got about 500 (50#) bales of mixed grass/clover hay off 10 acres- pitiful production really- but we haven't done anything other than spread manure on that field for years due to lack of funds.

    Tamara should have some real producer's numbers!

    ETA: If we had that 10 acres in top notch condition with pH and fertilizer correct and re-seeded, it would produce almost all of the hay we'd need for the year. We'd be able to pasture our other hay field (that one REALLY needs lime and fertilizer) and sell the hay off the other fields we have use of for free.

    Comment


    • #3
      hey there.
      can I hit you up in the morning on this?
      I am really really spanked after today.
      But with my coffee tomorrow I promise.

      Tamara
      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SLR View Post
        Just had our first cutting( this year) done on our 12 acre hay field. Its orchard grass/alfalfa, and was planted about 4 years ago. We have a new farmer cutting it and we split it 40/60. He seemed disappointed in the yield he got and suggested that we fertilize it. Any suggestions on what to use, and any other ideas to increase yield? What should we get out of it? He said 70 bales an acre( 50 #), but I have in the back of my head that it should yield that in 3 cuttings not one.
        hi there

        sorry for the delay.
        in a mix crop like yours you have TONS of factors to consider
        1. what are the breeds of orchard grass and alfalfa you have down? what is their expected lifetime? barring things like Persist (a variety we are fond of and some stands are 15 yos old now) forage varieties and production varieties have different lifespans...a 4 yo field is coming into the end of its lifespan for most hay crops barring natives
        2. what have you done for the alfalfa in it's lifetime? do you have cut worms or weevils that you spray for?
        3. do you farm the crop for the first or the later cuttings ? one gives you volume but lower quality the other quality but lower yield.
        4.do you live in a place where the OG goes dormant in the summer? does it suffer from brown stripe?
        5.Do you actually weigh the hay?
        6.Does the farmer ted the hay?


        Tamara
        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, I'll try to answer, and really appreciate your knowledge.
          1) don't know what breed fo seed. DUH
          2) We fertilized in year 2 and also sprayed for leaf hoppers?
          Pardon my ignorance, I feel like a bad mother
          3) We usually get 3 cuttings, weather dependant
          4) We live in OH, so don't experience intense heat.
          5) We do not weigh hay, as it is mostly sold by the bale here, even the large squares. I know my Dad sold hay by the ton, on the East coast, but its not a common thing that I've seen here in the last 30+ years. We're not a huge hay producing area, very little Dairy, mostly corn, snd beans.
          6) It is tedded.

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE]
            Originally posted by SLR View Post
            Thanks, I'll try to answer, and really appreciate your knowledge.
            1) don't know what breed fo seed. DUH
            try to find this out....this alone will tell you most about your crop
            2) We fertilized in year 2 and also sprayed for leaf hoppers?
            we fertilize about twice a year and spray for critters every year....very few places of the US can avoid spraying...bug loss can equal 80% in alfalfa

            Pardon my ignorance, I feel like a bad mother
            don't...too many people have been raised to believe that hay needs nothing but sunshine and air to do well.Even the University recommendations for fertilizing here are inadequate

            3) We usually get 3 cuttings, weather dependent
            so you can go for quality over the long run but also alfalfa needs to be cut at about 21-28 day intervals..

            4) We live in OH, so don't experience intense heat.
            then your orchard grass can be considered in later cuttings...


            5) We do not weigh hay, as it is mostly sold by the bale here, even the large squares. I know my Dad sold hay by the ton, on the East coast, but its not a common thing that I've seen here in the last 30+ years. We're not a huge hay producing area, very little Dairy, mostly corn, and beans.
            weigh the crop.even just a sample can give an idea of yield.W.o accurate yield numbers in tons you cannot measure your fertilizer value or even inputs...crop yield MUST be measured in the same unit as the inputs...unless you measure your fertilizer in bales your measurement of the output in bales is flawed


            6) It is tedded.
            tedding a hay crop will cause a 30% loss of total volume for every time it is tedded

            as an example of what we do here here, one of my 13 acre fields yielded at the end of April 80 wet tons of hay (113 4x5 bales) and had 5 tons to the acre of chicken litter applied to it



            Tamara
            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks Tamara!!!! I'm going to try to digest this and run some #'s.
              Pretty standard for the guys to tedd it here. I had never heard of that before. They really try to get it baled in 2 days, maybe 3. We're at the mercy of the weatherman
              So I should weigh before fertilizer, or after to see if yield increased?
              I think again, they are not so much into production, but as a side crop. The hay guy said, "Well just put some fertilizer on there, because you probably can't afford all that it needs"
              I also have to think about reseeding.

              Comment


              • #8
                [QUOTE]
                Originally posted by SLR View Post
                So I should weigh before fertilizer, or after to see if yield increased?
                both.your bales weight will not increase as that is determined solely by the moisture content AND the balers individual settings...


                I think again, they are not so much into production, but as a side crop. The hay guy said, "Well just put some fertilizer on there, because you probably can't afford all that it needs"
                I also have to think about reseeding.
                I'd ask him what he thinks it needs...just straight up say "talk to me" about these specifics...because fertilizer is a toilet flush of money (at $775/ton) w/o the other factors worked in...

                Tamara
                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                Comment


                • #9
                  [quote=Tamara in TN;6345218]
                  tedding a hay crop will cause a 30% loss of total volume for every time it is tedded
                  Seriously? On grass hay too? We only ted when we have to, and we don't have alfalfa, but holy cow!

                  as an example of what we do here here, one of my 13 acre fields yielded at the end of April 80 wet tons of hay (113 4x5 bales) and had 5 tons to the acre of chicken litter applied to it
                  Tamara
                  WOW! And that's just your first cutting... What variety have you got planted there? I'm guessing the pH is perfect, and it's obviously fertilized well...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE][QUOTE=shakeytails;6345714]
                    Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post

                    Seriously? On grass hay too? We only ted when we have to, and we don't have alfalfa, but holy cow!
                    grass hay the loss is a little less but yes loss none the less



                    WOW! And that's just your first cutting... What variety have you got planted there? I'm guessing the pH is perfect, and it's obviously fertilized well...
                    it was rye and grown as a cover crop for the corn from last year....it was replanted in corn two days after the rye came off so it is the only cutting we will get off that field.

                    Tamara
                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A soil test (Ag Extension office can help with it.) should tell you what kind and how much fertilizer you need. No sense in adding stuff that isn't needed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        a soil test is only a tiny tiny part of the whole program.

                        And if you have a Ag Extension as fearful of lawsuits as the one in this state you will get a recommendation for a reduced application rate for any crop you plant.
                        Yeah that took some four years to admit to.

                        Tamara
                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What is tedding for the uninformed, like me?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BasqueMom View Post
                            What is tedding for the uninformed, like me?
                            it is the fluffing up of a crop once down to "toss" it and speed up drying time

                            Tamara
                            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SLR View Post
                              Just had our first cutting( this year) done on our 12 acre hay field. Its orchard grass/alfalfa, and was planted about 4 years ago. TIA
                              hi again

                              found an article that I wanted to send you but can't figure out the link :>

                              anyway it talks about determining yield potential by density in stems/ft² with this equation

                              Yield(tons/acre)=(stems/ft²x0.1)+0.38

                              so 50 stems/ft² should have a potential yield of 5.38 tons per acre

                              it also says that stands with 40-55 stems/ft² and under 4 years old should be tilled in with clovers or some such to increase life by 2-3 more years

                              and stands under 40 stems/ft² should be turned into something else

                              anyway hope it gives you some number to think about
                              sorry to take so long


                              Tamara
                              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Hey Tamara, Thanks SO much. I guess I'm gonna have to tromp out to the field this evening. Seems like a cool way to figure it. Question? What does "tilled in" mean? Would that be the same as overseeded? If so what time of year is best for that? I assume Spring or early Fall .

                                Comment

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