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mowed the pasture..now what

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  • mowed the pasture..now what

    I have a pasture area that in the past was used for growning bermuda hay (some time ago) It was never cut last year so the grass got a couple feet tall and naturally through winter turned dry and brown. I started turning horses out of it and they occasionally ate some but not much.
    I mowed the field this weekend and it was so thick there are clumps of the dry hay/grass all over the place. Do I need to worry about the horses deciding to graze this stuff ? Tying to rake it all up and out would be a Herculean task but I dont want sick horses. It's NOT green, just dead brown grassy bermuda.
    I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you

  • #2
    if you have the equivalent of lawn mover clippings, do remove them. it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Besides, clumps left to their own devices do smother the growth underneath.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you mow it again to break up the clumps?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I mowed with a tractor pulled mower or perhaps its a shredder? It was borrowed and had been returned so I can't remow.. the clumps are random from the grass piling up on the machinery. Trying to think of something to drag behind my truck to smooth it out some.. but again my main concern was my horses eating the chopped grass.
        I am sure once the green grass gets high enough they won't look at the dry/deadstuff. If it was baled it would be cow hay or something to put behind an archery target,lol
        I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you

        Comment


        • #5
          It's just dormant Bermuda. It won't hurt anything, especially in cold weather. The answer is a mower with sharp blades.
          www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Horses probably won't touch the clumpy stuff. Clumps may ferment and will prevent anything below them from growing or sprouting as days get longer.

            Sorry, have to agree with the suggestion that you go out and pick up the clumps, remove them from the field. UNLESS you can borrow a drag/harrow tool to drag around the field to further break up the clumps and manure. There are small chain harrows, could be pulled with your truck or small ATV, lawn tractor, but anything dragging is going to make your powered machine WORK. This is a chain harrow, which you want to use with teeth down, and probably some tires on top to hold it down to the ground for moving the clumps. With no weight above, it just moves the clumps around or skips over them. I use old tires, easy to move one-at-a-time onto my chain harrow, secure them to the chain with rope or binder twines to hold them in place while covering the field.

            http://tsc.tractorsupply.com/search#...jax&asug=chain harr?apelog=yes

            Sometimes you can find used ones, for less cost. Really a good tool to have in pasture keeping.

            If you can't drag the field, you need to get the clumps off the ground with hand work, fork them into a wagon or the truck bed for dumping on the manure pile or compost bin.

            Try keeping your field mowed more often in the future, so it continues to grow well and you don't have to deal with these huge clumps. Good for you though in getting it cut, ready for Spring!

            I mow my pasture when the grass gets up to about 8-10inches high, or if seed heads start showing. I never mow shorter than 5 inches, to protect the roots. That keeps new growth coming along with regular cutting, prevents grass from going to seed and NO growth. Plants go dormant once they set seed, quit growing for the season then.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the info. I'll see if a neighbor has a harrow to borrow and also be looking to get one of my own. This pasture will have a few horses part of the time and am adding some field hunter type jumps built from the dead trees getting removed. I am a bit behind on the learning curve for this stuff but I better borrow the tractor mower/shredder thing again this weekend and get the non-horse field done as well, (unless it rains). Have I missed the best time to fertilize these areas? Then again,with acreage would that be some sort of liquid/water based fertizer? maybe I better find the local ag dept person..
              [Good thing tractor owner likes beer]
              I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jumpytoo View Post
                Thanks for the info. I'll see if a neighbor has a harrow to borrow and also be looking to get one of my own. This pasture will have a few horses part of the time and am adding some field hunter type jumps built from the dead trees getting removed. I am a bit behind on the learning curve for this stuff but I better borrow the tractor mower/shredder thing again this weekend and get the non-horse field done as well, (unless it rains). Have I missed the best time to fertilize these areas? Then again,with acreage would that be some sort of liquid/water based fertizer? maybe I better find the local ag dept person..
                [Good thing tractor owner likes beer]
                always find the local guys.
                They can tell you much better what to do than people in a different climate zone.

                Where I am it would be too early, really to fertilize, and I am southish. In another month the situation looks different.
                But basically, you fertilize when the stuff is growing, stop before things ripen and get ready for fall/winter, because fresh green growth is not winter hardy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Using a drag harrow will only frustrate yourself. The harrow will quickly load up with the clumps. Just leave it. the horses won't eat it if there is something else better tasting.
                  Equus makus brokus but happy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hosspuller View Post
                    Using a drag harrow will only frustrate yourself. The harrow will quickly load up with the clumps. Just leave it. the horses won't eat it if there is something else better tasting.
                    Maybe a drag harrow is different than my chain one? The chain harrow doesn't totally clean off the cut stuff, but it will spread it out in thinner layers, shred up the clumps to smaller pieces. Yes it may have a lot of grassy material in the teeth as you go over the field, but actually the cut grass spread thinly around, is good organic matter to leave on the ground to improve the dirt. Cut grass dries fast, breaks apart in a short time of exposure. The Grass Experts from MSU tell us that leaving on the summers worth of grass trimmings will equal an application of fertilizer! Like a giant freebie bonus for your soil!!

                    There will probably be some clumps left after dragging, especially since the cut grass was thick and long. Not nearly as much left as before the dragging, or as big and thick of piles to kill new growth. The harrow teeth scratching the ground helps open the surface a bit for better rain absorbtion too.

                    The chain harrow gets a lot of work around here, one of my favorite tools for a number of uses. A good one for wet spring is dragging muddy spots, with teeth up. Smooths them nice, helps dry them out faster and removes ruts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The grass was dry to begin with and it will break down eventually and that will actually help fertilize the pasture. We always had more grass than our horses could eat so several times during the summer we would mow our pasture leaving clumps which would dry and the horses left it alone. Even a chain harrow will get clogged up with the grass, that is what we have.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jumpy, how big are your clumps? Do you have lots of little ones all over the field or a few big ginormo ones? I've dealt with both kinds (without having a harrow - though I'm hoping that this year will be the year I get one!) and if you've got lots of small ones - you can try mowing them over again - it'll help get the cut grass into shorter bits, which will break down faster, without smothering the new growth beneath. If you've got a few of the big monsters (like the ones that always seem to end up in the inside of a corner because some of the cut grass piled up on top of or in front of your mower deck) you're better off picking them up and taking them out entirely (which admittedly, is a really un-fun job.

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