- Feb 11, 2005
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I thought I mentioned, it's gravity flow. No cost to pump, and actually no cost for the water. There is a cost to maintain the ditch and pay for the 'ditch rider' but it doesn't amount to much. It's added in on our annual taxes. This has been a really productive area in the past when it was all ranching. I realize that we need to turn this ground over. When we do that, we would have to seed it to barley hay and miss selling to our loyal horse customers as it would have to sell to ranchers. Maybe do half and half. A little alfalfa mixed with the grass (we love orchard grass) would be okay, but then the grass takes over eventually anyway. We would not plant straight alfalfa to sell for horses hay. No one would buy it, for one thing. Glad it works for you, however. In our country, it is too washy for cows. They need something in winter that takes longer to digest so that it sticks with them to keep them warm. It's a wonderful supplement. We really don't like feeding it at calving time. Causes cows to give too much milk, raises the ph level and can cause the calf to scour. We got along fine for over 40 years feeding mainly grass hay. Like I have said before, to quote Pat Parelli, "normal changes every 50 miles."I havnt had troubles feeding my horses straight alfalfa. Same with cows and bloat. They just need to get gradually used to it. Horses tend to get high and broncy on straight alfalfa so some might not like that. I couldn't keep weight on a horse with out alfalfa or barley. I know your not sapposed to feed horses barley but if been doing it for years.
I'm just saying new seed makes a big difference and if you seeded it 50% alfalfa then there are no future nitrogen bills.
Having said that I'm not sure about going from an old grass stand directly to hay again. Where I'm at everybody would do a rotation. Example greenfeed for a few years before going back to hay.
But new seed in a new seed bed will really out perform a twenty year old stand.
Irrigated quarters with pivots sell for 2 million each in southern Alberta but they really produce with new seed,water and probably the best in fertilizer as well. I sure couldn't pay 2 million for a quarter and make it work selling cow feed but if I had some irrigation somewhere I would be looking at ways to make it produce better than dry land. Example an old dry stand that's 50% alfalfa/grass should produce 2 tons an acre without fertilizer.
Trouble with cow hay is in a wet year it might be $60 a ton and then in a dry year you might not be able to get it for $300. You just dont know.
How do you pump your water? Have you ever fingered out how much it costs you to irrigate? Up here they are gradually putting carbon taxes on everything.
BMR, Mr. FH would like to see that spike tooth that you mentioned. When I told him about it, he chuckled and said. "that would keep me occupied for awhile." How wide is it?