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cut it or graze it?

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LCP

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I've got a bit of a dilemma. Between the late frost, warm and dry April, and weevils, the alfalfa component of my grass/alfalfa hay fields is pretty poor. The pubescent wheatgrass isn't great either, but at least it is green. I'm trying to decide whether to cut and bale it, and if so, when. Or should I take in some cows or yearlings and graze it? I have a good carryover hay supply, and will probably be able to get enough put up without this field. I cash rent it, so I have some fixed cost tied up in it. I rent my equipment from my dad on an per hour/bale/acre basis (depending on the machinery) so those costs are variable.

Thoughts or suggestions?
 

Haytrucker

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I'm the same as any expert, because I'm not right there; but I'd say if you don't need the the feed; sell the salvage value and save the fuel.
 

LazyWP

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If you can graze it, it will help control weevils next year, to some degree.
 

mrj

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For whatever free advice is worth these days...........pasture rents per cow seem very high in west central SD, so that may be your best option, unless you need to grow your herd.

mrj
 

Clarencen

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I have been there, and had to make that decesion a few times myself. If you want to salvage what you have now, grazing might give the best net return. On the other hand, If you graze it, and want to maintain a stand with a grass alfalfa mix, The alfalfa will take a brunt of the grazing, especially if we get a few freguent rains, then your stand of alfalfa will likelyl decrease. Intermediate and pubicent wheatgrass will make some leaf growth and greenup after maturity, even during the summer if there is moisture. continued grazing during the summer will put pressure on this new growth. This might have an effect on next years crop.
I see that you have 3 or 4 options: Hay it now or within the next couple of weeks, Graze it for about 30 days, leave it stand, then graze in the late fall, or leave it alone.
I have planted intermediat wheatgrass and alfalfa for pasture. After a few years there is not much alfalfa remaining.
In 1989, we didn't have any hay here, we bought Intermediate wheatgrass hay from Platte, SD. Some of it was cut after the seed had been taken off. With some cake, we got along well with this for winter feed.
 

101

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I have to agree with Clarencen, With the weevils, and if you are like us the early very dry spring and so so on the moisture your alfalfa is taking a pretty hard hit. You did'nt say how many acres your working with but if you can afford it I would spray it for the weevils, and make my bet's on catching some rain that would give you more options, You could still graze it this fall and not hurt the alfalfa as much if it stays dry. I seen some alfalfa fields today that were grazed hard that look pretty sick and might look a lot worse this fall if it stays dry. Good Luck 101
 
A

Anonymous

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Make sure you are using real today market values for hay and pasture. I know pastrue rates are up but hay is up big time to. Mel
 

mrj

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Good points, Clarence. Have you, or anyone else, had any experience with that grazing alfalfa in pastures? I believe it is called 'Falcata', or 'Yellow Blossom Alfalfa', and is an old seed originally brought from Russia. I'm wondering if it stands grazing better than conventional alfalfa?

mrj
 

Doug Thorson

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All I can tell you is what I am going to do, graze it. Our alfalfa is blooming at 4" tall and our grass is heading out at about the same. If I spent $3 diesel to clip it I might get #400 acre actually rolled up. If I do nothing it still ain't getting much taller. I am not worried but some guys who sent hay south last fall are.
 

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