Does a New Year Mean a New Pasture/Hay Meadow?

It’s always best to initiate the planning process the year prior to actual planting. So start planning in 2019 to plant in 2020. Instead of planning in 2019 to plant in 2019.

A Coastal Bermudagrass hay meadow that has lost production

A Coastal Bermudagrass hay meadow that has lost production

  • Evaluate the farm’s forage needs. Consider how the forage will be used (grazing vs. hay), what species are better adapted to your area (season, soil type, rainfall) and what resources (equipment, money, and time) are available. Reestablishment should be considered when less than 40% of the desirable species exist.

  • For exclusive hay production:

    1. Take visual appraisal of meadow. Bald spots may fill in with time, fertilization and weed control. Or bald spots may be filled in with sprigs or seed.

    2. Determine if you have seen a reduction in production (quantity produced). If hay production has been reduced considerably reestablishment may be desirable.

    3. Determine if other forage species and/or broadleaf weeds have invaded the field. They may be easily controlled with herbicide.

  • Collect soil samples, have samples analyzed and correct any soil deficiencies.

  • Select species adapted to your area. Visit with county extension agents or forage specialist to determine options based on your location (soil type and rainfall distribution).

  • In late summer the year prior to planting (for warm season forages), destroy existing perennial grass vegetation.

  • Implement the correct planting method (seeding vs. sprigging) and rate.

  • Implement a weed control program.

  • Use proper management to maintain a productive stand.

 

Keep in mind a newly established pasture/hay meadow may not be very productive the year of establishment. Therefore, be prepared to have other forage options for livestock during that season.

See “Publications” tab for more information on forage species, hay production, soil sampling, weed control and establishment.

 

Vanessa Corriher-Olson

Forage Extension Specialist

Soil & Crop Sciences

Overton, TX

vacorriher@ag.tamu.edu

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Texas A&M University System

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