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Native Warm Season Grass

letemgrow

PMA Member
Eastern Gama Grass:

Took some plugs from local seed collected last year to fill in where some ditches are starting to form. Stagger planted these to slow the flow of water coming off the hill as some ditches are cutting pretty bad from this years rains. I’ll be back up in a couple weeks to collect more remnant seeds from the county to save genotypes. The few scattered plants are starting to disappear in the few places I’ve found them still. Cattle kill it out since they’re not rotational grazed on a lot of farms back there.





Fast forward 15 days later:

7-20

90 degree temps since planting the plugs and zero rain=new growth!





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letemgrow

PMA Member
Anyone looking to add Eastern Gama to their farm, it’s now time when a lot of seeds are ready. They will pull of easily when ripe. I’ve noticed a lot of plants I used to pick from are disappearing. Today’s land practices are not conducive for it to spread, or even maintain the stands. Collecting from local plants is a great way to keep those genotypes around.




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Bassattackr

New Member
Trying to establish 1.5 acres NWSG on a field buffer in central MO and 2.5 acres food plots this year in what has been a 4 acre (total) fescue/clover field. Hoping the experts here can help.. I bought the seed ($200 worth) of Little Bluestem and Sideoats Gramma so hoping to plant/use soon. A few helpful points..
  • Fire (noted below) is already scheduled. (Weather pending = Now thru early April).
  • Fescue/clover not mowed last year but already beginning new growth now thru the existing thatch.
  • No herbicides, landowner won't allow
  • Decent slope to field so don't want to deep disc or till entirely at once.
Plan A - Frost Seed (April 1)

Prescribed Fire - Entire Field (April 1)
Disc or till upper NWSG section 4" deep to slice up /set back fescue
Disc mid+lower field 2" deep and broadcast with cover crop (Rye/Oats now + Buckwheat when soil 60+)
Broadcast NWSG to frost seed immediately

Plan B - Disc In (May 30)

Prescribed Fire - Entire Field (April 1)
Disc or till upper NWSG section 4" deep to slice up /set back fescue
Disc mid+lower field 2" and broadcast with cover crop (Rye/Wheat/Oats now + Buckwheat when soil 60+)
Broadcast cover crop (Rye/Wheat/Oats) on upper section until May 30.
May 30th - Disc again 3"-4" deep to again set back fescue then lightly disc in NWSG.

Anyone have experience with either of these methods for fescue field conversion without spraying? Mowing later when NWSG gets 8"-10" high won't be a problem.
 

bwese

Active Member
Bassattacker, I hate to be the wet blanket but I don't think those plans/steps will result in a stand of nwsg's. The tilling will only enourage more weeds to start growing, it won't kill the fescue, the cover crop is not something one wants for nwsg's. There will be to much thatch in the disked soil for good seed to soil contact. Without a dead seed bed for the nwsg's the competition won't let it establish.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your plans. I see you are wanting two different fields and I perhaps have blended the plans for each. However I see no plan in there that will result in a successful nwsg planting. The cover crops will have a lot of competition also but some will grow but it won't be a good stand with all the competition. Without herbicide you have very steep mountain to climb.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Agree on above - no herbicides- gonna be a task. If u wanna look at this like “organic farming” - which it essentially is- a year of organic beans or corn would be nice. Then no tilled and mowed the following spring. But... ur next best bet.... u need to completely kill the fescue. It must be dead. U will for sure have some weed competition so frequent mowing will be essential. If u can kill it totally dead and keep on the mowing- that’s ur Avenue.
 

BlizzardofOzz

New Member
I frost seeded some switchgrass this year and am preparing for weed prevention. Looking for recommendations on herbicide products and rates. I only planted about 1.75 acre. I know atrazine is restricted but is also available on amazon? It is also cheaper than Simazine. What is the most effective and economical way to go? Thanks!

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Simazine is fine if u don’t have RUP. Atrazine is a little better but is restricted. Be fine either way though. Go heavier. & for foxtail & crabgrass.... got few options..... spray couple times & add Gly in of course & spray up til about late may. Quinclorac with methylated seed oil is a good option if crabgrass or foxtail start. Or earlier on, some metolachlor or 2-ish oz or plateau/imazapic. Ideally a couple sprayings with Gly & simazine, etc. mow if xyz weed somehow gets out of hand.
 

Bassattackr

New Member
Agree on above - no herbicides- gonna be a task. If u wanna look at this like “organic farming” - which it essentially is- a year of organic beans or corn would be nice. Then no tilled and mowed the following spring. But... ur next best bet.... u need to completely kill the fescue. It must be dead. U will for sure have some weed competition so frequent mowing will be essential. If u can kill it totally dead and keep on the mowing- that’s ur Avenue.

So, if I understand correctly. You would:
1) April 1 - Burn
2) Immediately Post Burn - Disc/Till entire Field
3) May 30 - plant entire field in soybeans or corn.
4) Winter 2020 disc/till entire field OR no till / frost seed NWSG.

Do I have this right?
 

Bassattackr

New Member
Bassattacker, I hate to be the wet blanket but I don't think those plans/steps will result in a stand of nwsg's. The tilling will only enourage more weeds to start growing, it won't kill the fescue, the cover crop is not something one wants for nwsg's. There will be to much thatch in the disked soil for good seed to soil contact. Without a dead seed bed for the nwsg's the competition won't let it establish.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your plans. I see you are wanting two different fields and I perhaps have blended the plans for each. However I see no plan in there that will result in a successful nwsg planting. The cover crops will have a lot of competition also but some will grow but it won't be a good stand with all the competition. Without herbicide you have very steep mountain to climb.

Same 4 acre field. Just trying to do a 1.5 acre buffer along one side and food plots in the rest. I would be discing or tilling under the cover crop before NWSG planting. Would only be using the cover crop to try and set back the fescue further before NWSG planting. Hope that helps clarifying..

I have the option of spraying 10%-20% vinegar solution (Weed Pharm) if I need to after planting. For both fescue and other non-native weeds (Thistle, etc). Spraying the entire field first is insanely expensive though with a vinegar solution.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
So, if I understand correctly. You would:
1) April 1 - Burn
2) Immediately Post Burn - Disc/Till entire Field
3) May 30 - plant entire field in soybeans or corn.
4) Winter 2020 disc/till entire field OR no till / frost seed NWSG.

Do I have this right?
Above has some really good thoughts or ideas!
My other thoughts were to tear it to bits now so cool season grass is dead and be ready to deal with major weeds. Need to keep it from coming back so likely wait until closer to may - or do it twice.
If u ran a rotation of corn or beans- I would not tear it up once it’s done for the year & shaded out weeds. I suppose corn would be more ideal as it will do better job of shading floor out.

keep this last bit in mind.... seed will germinated when SOIL TEMPS hit something like 55-ish (going off memory- might be off). So.... for side oats & little blue- ur germination would likely be in may.... this leads to many options or ideas on how to handle..... I’m not saying this is possible but here’s extreme example of “ideal” just so understand..... one would kill off fescue & if it’s on worked soil where weeds are an issue..... u would wait for a rain in may, let weeds come up & then run rotary hoe to take care of that flush of weeds. Seed immediately after. Is that what u will do? NO. But - just an example of logic of when seed germinates with the best weed control possible. Corn that gets weeded perfectly & shades out weeds is probably best approach for ideal as well this year followed by seeding next.
Reality.... I just think ur best option is getting it as dead as dead gets- seeding it “heavy” & plan on clipping it many times through out growing season. The cleaner u can go into the seeding the better of course. clip as needed & interseed & Mow following years If need to fill any spots in.
 

Bassattackr

New Member
Sligh1 - Great feedback, thank you. That's why I was considering the "Option B" of using some sort of cover/smother crop in between the "April 1 post burn disc" and the "May 30th disc". The second May 30th disc being for whatever fescue comes back + weed growth arises. It sounds like the May 30th disc would be lighter (2" deep?) to act as more of a rotary hoe & keep from pulling more seed up?

Based on what bwese mentions with the "thatch", I'm wondering if I'm better off omitting the cover crop between April 1 / May 30th and just trying to spot spray Weed Pharm around May 1 with whatever fescue, weeds comes back? Maybe impractical with amount I will have and a 2 gallon backpack sprayer.. Not overly concerned about native weeds, I can mow as needed. A little diversity doesn't hurt, just mainly want to set the fescue back enough to have a decent NWSG stand.

If I go the corn/beans route - will much NWSG seed go bad if I keep it in the house basement for a year?
 
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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
No. Won’t go bad. Dry cool location it’ll be fine. Might add a little too it if germination drops a touch and u want to seed it heavier. Whatever u decide, how ever it plays out- kill that fescue off!!
 

WapsiHunter

New Member
Great information as I am new to this forum!

I bought a farm a couple years back. A ~70 acre CRP contract (brome) expired in 2020 which was re-enrolled and approved. The new seed plan calls for approximately 70% warm season grass/forbs mix, 20% pure switchgrass for winter cover, and the remaining 10% in food plots. I burnt the 70 acre brome parcel last Spring to get rid of the thatch, mowed and baled a good majority of it in late Summer/early Fall, and then sprayed a combination of Gly and 2,4-D once the stubble regrew to about 6 inches. I plan to burn the stubble next Spring and then hit it again with another dose of Gly to kill anything that survived the Fall spraying. I have a 10' Great Plains no-till drill which I plan to use to get the seed into/onto the ground once sprayed the second time and the ground temps warm-up. I am being told that I will need to mow it 2-4 times each year for the the first couple years to keep the weed pressure down while the new seedlings get established. Here's my question.... What type of mower would work best? I have a couple bush hog mowers that I can use, but I am worried about the effectiveness of mowing at 8-10" high knowing that the tires will mash down a fair amount of the grass prior to it getting to the mower. What type of mower would work best? Any feedback from those that have done this using a bush hog? Also any input regarding the conversion process itself would be appreciated.

BTW - I bought my seed from Allendan Seed Company so that piece has been secured.

Thanks in advance,

WapsiHunter
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Great information as I am new to this forum!

I bought a farm a couple years back. A ~70 acre CRP contract (brome) expired in 2020 which was re-enrolled and approved. The new seed plan calls for approximately 70% warm season grass/forbs mix, 20% pure switchgrass for winter cover, and the remaining 10% in food plots. I burnt the 70 acre brome parcel last Spring to get rid of the thatch, mowed and baled a good majority of it in late Summer/early Fall, and then sprayed a combination of Gly and 2,4-D once the stubble regrew to about 6 inches. I plan to burn the stubble next Spring and then hit it again with another dose of Gly to kill anything that survived the Fall spraying. I have a 10' Great Plains no-till drill which I plan to use to get the seed into/onto the ground once sprayed the second time and the ground temps warm-up. I am being told that I will need to mow it 2-4 times each year for the the first couple years to keep the weed pressure down while the new seedlings get established. Here's my question.... What type of mower would work best? I have a couple bush hog mowers that I can use, but I am worried about the effectiveness of mowing at 8-10" high knowing that the tires will mash down a fair amount of the grass prior to it getting to the mower. What type of mower would work best? Any feedback from those that have done this using a bush hog? Also any input regarding the conversion process itself would be appreciated.

BTW - I bought my seed from Allendan Seed Company so that piece has been secured.

Thanks in advance,

WapsiHunter
What type of mower? Batwing is best, IMO. Which is just wider winged version of what you have... A larger version of a "bush hog" type mower. It's a rotary cutter or shredder. Your "bush hog" is just fine too. 10-12" high will be just fine. You are not going to escape the tires pushing some down before it's mowed. BUT- in my experience, what the tires push down, enough still gets cut of that and what's not cut, it's a "small band" that still should get enough sunlight. I'd be far more concerned with a guy who cut their stuff "too low" and let 2-3' of trash get cut and left on top. So, smothering is more of a concern.... Don't let it get out of control before cutting. Any form of rotary cutter that can do 10" or more is going to be just fine. Only reason I like batwing is it saves a ton of time & less tire issues as they cut 15 or 20'. But, also cost a good bit more as well. It's all a cost/benefit decision for a guy. IMO - mowing 70 acres a few times, I'd want a 10' or bigger. 7-8' is doable but man is that gonna take a while!!!!

*the only way around the tire mashing things down would be: a baling type mower..... then baling it. Which usually cuts it too low and I just wouldn't do it. Or, a front mounted rotary cutter, which, I can't think of anyone reading this who is going to be doing this ;) For fun, go look at a Fendt tractor for example with a front PTO & A front 3 point system.... Incredible. Incredibly expensive. No one needs or will be doing that. But fun to look at.
Here's a BALING VERSION..... See what I mean by TRASH???? This is what you don't want- all the trash on top!!! But, yes, they BALE this so it takes that off. But, way too low of a cut after they take all the trash off.... Baling & CRP establishment are VERY DIFFERENT!!!!!! BALING, NOT HOW TO DO CRP!!!....
 
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Weather permitting I’m going to start working on a 15 acre section of my CRP in the next few weeks. Start by burning and cleaning up some sprouts. Cant wait to get the new farm projects started


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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Diversity in plantings is ideal. Based on soil types, goals, variety for wildlife & benefits, etc. monocultures have their place but don’t make a farm a total monoculture. Diversity!!

think a little bit on the vast benefits of the deep root systems you are planting. Benefits are pretty mind boggling (drough tolerance, improving soil, improving water infiltration, erosion, soil ecology benefits, breaking down phosphorus & potassium, etc, etc).
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eiowaarcher

Member
Had old brome field that we turned into CP 25 mix. Mowed and sprayed with gly last fall. No till drill in first week of December. Should I spray with atrazine or simazine for pre emergent?


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Jbohn

Well-Known Member
Had old brome field that we turned into CP 25 mix. Mowed and sprayed with gly last fall. No till drill in first week of December. Should I spray with atrazine or simazine for pre emergent?


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Not sure CP 25 mix is but if it has BB or Indian , NO , CIR yes ..
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Post up the exact seeds u put down.
mix with forbs... im gonna guess u will be Gly with a chance to do some imazapic/plateau/panoramic (all the same). If u can run imazapic- will be low rate. But- post seed mix if able.
 
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