New information on forages:


Tips or problems to watch for:

  1. loss of production over time
    • check soil fertility at 0 to 4 inch depth versus 4 to 8 inch depth.  If there is a difference you may have effectively mined your nutrients from the root zone under heavy growth conditions or under drought
  2. stand decline
    • some grasses need to reseed themselves.  If the grass has not been allowed to reseed itself such as Klein or other perennials then the stand will begin to decline
    • in cases of hybrid Bermuda grass the decline may be due to winter freeze out, fertility deficiencies in potassium or phosphorus in sandy soils, or due to extended drought conditions complicated with fertility availability
  3. poor quality
    • usually due to lack of proper fertilization or cutting too late for more volume production
  4. weedy fields
    • can be caused by stand decline
    • under fertilization
    • poor weed management program
  5. nitrate accumulation
    • nitrates will accumulate to unacceptable levels in times of drought or following heavy fertilizations and cloudy conditions lasting many days.  Test for results and conduct CropDoc to interpret information
    • will not reduce in hay over time as content present at cutting remains
    • can be managed by mixing to acceptable levels in silage, ground hay/feed, or be fed to more tolerable animals
  6. prussic acid
    • forms after frost or during extreme heat/moisture stress on sorghum species crops
    • will break down in several months after crop is cut


Other information:

Ongoing testing of surface and subsoil in permanent pasture indicates a wide discrepancy between surface (0-5 inch) and subsoil (7 to 12 inch) phosphorus and potassium levels.  This has caused stressed areas in fields increasing exposure of forage to drought, heat stress, and freeze out.  The sandiest areas are the most problematic areas in the fields.   The surface fertilization of fields has caused a buildup in shallow fertility while mining the nutrients out of the deeper soil profile. 

There are numerous reasons this is a problem.  First, when under stress these areas stress, loose yield potential, and die first during droughts.  Second, under cold, dry conditions these areas  will freeze out due to shallow root systems trying to access nutrients.  Third, these areas will always under perform because when summer conditions prevail moisture is deep and nutrients are limited in these areas. 

It is absolutely necessary to incorporate fertilizer and organic matter each three to four years by either plowing the soil (in Bermuda grass fields during late winter or early spring) or applying fertilizer yearly using a knifing/coltering methods.


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