Our main hayfield is now gone. I went through 2 weeks ago and sprayed it down with Roundup (Glyphosate).
Unfortunately, the temps dropped and the sun left the day after I sprayed the field, so it might not have had as much chance to work as it should have.
My plan had been to spray the field, wait 2 weeks, burn the field, then lightly disc it and then seed with a brillion-style ground seeder.
Erik had different ideas.
He didn’t want to burn the field (which would have gotten rid of extra sod and made for clean ground), he instead opted to till the whole field under.
The field was hard-packed clay . . . not such a good idea.
Since it hasn’t been tilled up in well over 20 years, tilling left giant lumps of clay. Tilling 3 times total helped break them up into golf-ball size lumps, but still not enough to plant grass on.
Now with 3″ of rain expected over the next few days, we stand to lose the entire field to washout.
Our second hay field (previously the teff field) will fair better. This was also sprayed to kill weeds and perennial grasses, but we didn’t till it, I used a field drag on it instead. This toothed contraption sank rows of teeth 1″ into the soil and ripped out all the grasses.
If it rains, the grassy clumps will protect the fragile top-soil.
This field will be solid “smooth brome” grass. The larger 8 acre field will be solid orchard grass. The guys online all said we won’t get much for cuttings off the fields this year. However, the orchard grass variety I chose was rated for 16 tons the first two years of planting. That’s about 8 tons per year . . . typical is a bit over 2 tons per cutting per acre (or about 80-100 50lb bales per acre)! 8 tons per year would be 320 bales per acre, or 2,560 for our 8 acre field PER YEAR.
Last year we got maybe a ton and a half per acre for THE YEAR. If we got 100 bales off each acre this year, each cutting (200 bales per acre for the year) we’d STILL be doing better than every other year we’ve had, and have more to look forward to for next year.
Bottom line, I’d be very happy to at least average 100 bales per acre, per cutting. Really.
The brome field I’m not sure. Everyone across the board said brome is hard to plant, and takes forever to grow thick. Well, we’re only doing 2 acres of it, so I’m not overly worried.
Fingers crossed on getting the hay to grow. Erik found some new liquid fertilizer stuff to buy for the fields, which should boost nutrition and help the grasses grow. We have a 3 acre field off to one side that I’m hoping to fertilize, then cut the wild grasses off from for hay for our group.
It’s going to be an interesting year.