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Forage Management on Small Acreages

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Non defoliation leads to shrub and trees dominating the system. Seed Germination ... Checkerboard: alternating squares of forage and shrub/ trees ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Forage Management on Small Acreages


1
Forage Management on Small Acreages
  • Agronomic aspects

2
Livestock Requirements
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Living area

3
Agronomic Questions
  • Soils - What do you have?
  • Species selection - What do you want?
  • Establishment - How do you get it?
  • Weed control - How do you get rid of the other?
  • Vegetation management - How do you keep it where
    and when you want it and use it.
  • Ecology - How it all fits together.

4
Soils
  • First decision on species/variety selection
  • Texture Clay, loam, silt, sand
  • Chemical
  • Physical
  • Soil Test
  • pH
  • P K
  • Nitrate (?)

5
Species Selection
  • Annual vs. Perennial
  • Cool vs. Warm season
  • Bunch vs Sod (grasses)
  • Legume vs. Nonlegume (Forb)
  • Native vs Naturalized

6
Annual vs. Perennial
  • Annual requires reseeding
  • Greater seed production.. quick ground cover
  • both cool and warm season available.
  • Perennial- longer life, individual plants more
    likely to survive,
  • Seed production varies, slower, but permanent
    ground cover.

7
Cool vs. Warm season
  • Cool season forage growth in fall and early
    spring, seed production in late spring and early
    summer
  • Warm season forage growth in spring through the
    summer, seed production from June to November
    (very species dependent)

8
Bunch vs Sod
  • Sod grass prostrate, sod forming. higher ground
    cover, but poorer infiltration.
  • Bunchgrass upright, tiller driven, lower ground
    cover, better infiltration.

9
Legume vs. Nonlegume
  • Legumes Net nitrogen producers, generally very
    high quality. Native and naturalized species
    available
  • Nonlegumes Net nitrogen users forage quality
    varies. Perennials are usually very deep rooted.
    More warm season species available for use (?)

10
Native vs Naturalized
  • Native Acceptance by livestock not always known.
    Most are not resistant to excessive defoliation.
    Difficult to get quality seed
  • Naturalized Acceptant by livestock, many are
    abuse tolerant. Seed sprig supply generally
    plentiful and of good quality.

11
Recommended Species
  • Grasses
  • Legumes

12
Recommended Native Bunchgrasses
  • Switchgrass (Alamo/Caddo)
  • Indiangrass
  • Big Bluestem
  • Eastern Gamagrass (Pete)
  • Little bluestem
  • Sideoats grama
  • Mixtures of the above

13
Recommended Naturalized Bunchgrasses
  • Johnsongrass
  • Kleingrass
  • Caucasion Bluestems
  • Lovegrass
  • Tall Fescue (?)
  • Bluegrass (?)

14
Sod grasses
  • Buffalo
  • Bermuda
  • Dallis
  • Bahia (?)

15
Annual crops
  • Haygrazer, Millet
  • Wheat, oats, rye and ryegrass
  • Soybeans, cowpeas for forage

16
Native Naturalize Legumes
  • Bluebonnet
  • Illinois Bundleflower
  • Mimosa

17
Introduced Legumes
  • Clovers
  • White,
  • Arrowleaf
  • Crimson,
  • Berseem,
  • Other legumes
  • Alfalfa,
  • lespedezas Japanese, serecia, etc

18
Establishment
  • Species selection What to plant
  • Planting Date
  • Seeding Rate How much
  • Seeding Depth How deep to water
  • Planting Method
  • Erosion control
  • Fertilization What is needed
  • Weed Control Reduce Competition

19
Species Selection
  • Plant what fits your soil
  • Determine the livestock you want
  • Select native species that are found no more than
    50 miles west and 100 miles north, south and east
    (lots of exceptions)
  • What do you want? (qualitative)
  • What can you afford (economic)

20
Planting Date
  • Cool season grasses and most forbs are planted in
    the fall (Sept. - Nov.) some opportunity exists
    for early spring (Feb 15 to March 15) plantings
  • Warm season grasses and some forbs are planted in
    the spring (late March to late May). Plantings
    after June 1 are risky without irrigation.

21
Seeding Rate
  • Species dependent Generally 20 to 80 K plants
    desired per acre (1/2 to 4 plants/ft2)
  • Increase seeding rate as demands or hazards
    increase
  • Decrease species seeding rate with mixture (total
    seeding rate increases)
  • Seed quality dependent base seeding rate on pure
    live seed calculations
  • PLS(germ hard seed)purity

22
Seeding depth
  • Best is planted to moisture (field cap.)
  • Considerable species variation (switchgrass)
  • The bigger the deeper
  • (4 to 8) seed diameter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 . Not more than 3/4
  • many small seeded plants (lt 1/8 ) can be surface
    planted, if soil moisture is or will be adequate.

23
Planting Method
  • Seedbed preparation
  • Prepared Seedbed
  • Sod or minimum till
  • defoliation
  • desiccation
  • Seeding method
  • drill
  • drop
  • broadcast

24
Effect of planting and and light disking on
forage production by April 1 of ryegrass
overseeded on Bermudagrass, Winnsboro, LA
25
Chemical Desiccation of Dallisgrass Sod
26
Erosion Control
  • gt60 ground cover required for erosion control
  • Erosion is a storm event not a season event
  • Prevention the steeper the slope closer to
    water, the more important the effort
  • Use of a companion crop often advisable
  • greensprangle top with bunchgrass
  • Wheat or oats with white clover or alfalfa

27
Liebergs Law of Limits
28
Fertilization
  • Grasses need nitrogen soon after germination
  • Legumes need phosphorus
  • Avoid nitrogen with legumes
  • Species variation huge
  • Both need K and other nutrients
  • Soil test

29
Weed Control
  • Chemical
  • and
  • Non Chemical

30
Life Cycle
  • Annual Seed germinates, plant grows, flowers and
    seeds out in one growing season (crabgrass)
  • Biennial Seed germinates, plant grows, then
    reproduces in following year (onion)
  • Perennial Seed germinates, and plant lives and
    reproduces for several years (bermudagrass)

31
Keys to weed persistence
  • Seed crop size
  • Seed hardness
  • Nutrient Reserve in the tap root
  • Defenses (resistance to grazing)

32
Weed Control Methods
  • Chemical
  • Mechanical
  • Biological
  • Crop Competition
  • Crop Rotation
  • Fire

33
Chemical Weed Control
34
Chemical Weed Control
35
Mechanical Weed Control
  • Burial
  • Cultivation
  • Mowing

36
Burial
  • Placing soil or mulch or other material over the
    reproductive organ
  • Effective with seed
  • Ineffective with plant parts (bulbs , rhizomes,
    etc.)
  • Destroys perennial crop

37
Cultivation
  • Works in row planted crops, ineffective in
    broadcasts
  • Destroys root system of weed
  • Deep cultivation may hurt crop
  • Deep cultivation may bring up buried weed seeds
  • Expense (?)

38
Mowing
  • Effective on tall growing annual weeds (redroot
    pigweed)
  • Ineffective on short growing perennial weeds
    (dallisgrass)
  • Little benefit for current years forage program
  • Timing is critical

39
Biological
  • Defoliation, desiccation of disease
  • Insect No known control
  • Mammals Possible

40
Biological
41
Biological
  • Effectiveness determined by the preferred diet of
    the vector (grazer) and susceptibility of target
    weeds to predation (animal acceptability) and
    defoliation
  • Economics varies with vector acquisition costs
    and market value of vector

42
Effect of N Rate, herbicide and covercrop on weed
production
43
Crop Competition
  • Long term solution
  • Often the most economical
  • Requires compatible and useable crops
  • Maintenance of proper soil fertility levels is
    required

44
Crop Rotation
  • Replacement of one crop with another
  • Works best with annual crops
  • Usually not economical in perennial forage crops
    (bermudagrass) but may be feasible with alfalfa
    or johnsongrass

45
Fire
  • Earliest recorded form of forage management
  • Multiple benefits (residue removal, control of
    spring weeds, increased infiltration)
  • Effective on young annual weeds
  • Ineffective on many perennial weeds
  • Timing is critical and target species dependent

46
Fire
  • Fuel load is critical
  • 1500 lbs./ac minimum
  • 3000 lbs./ac optimum
  • Optimum weather conditions, winter headfire
  • RH 25 - 40
  • Air temp 70-80oF
  • Wind speed 8 - 15 mph

47
Fire
  • Optimum weather conditions, winter backfires
  • RH 40-60
  • Air temp 40-60oF
  • Wind speed 5 - 8 mph
  • Minimum mineral fireline width
  • 8 1/mph

48
TACB Regulations for Prescribed Burns
  • Wind speed 6-23 mph
  • Burn period 9a - 5p
  • Location outside city limits
  • Border 300 ft from residential, commercial,
    recreational or industrial properties
  • Burns cannot be conducted when air temperature
    inversions are predicted

49
Fire
  • Red flag for winter burns
  • Wind speedgt20 mph
  • RHlt20
  • air tempgt 80oF
  • May damage crop plant
  • VERY RISKY, HIGH LIABILITY
  • Not recommended to most producers

50
Prevention
  • Minimize soil disturbance
  • Keep fence lines, feed areas, etc. mowed
  • Feed purchased hay and feed in weedy areas
  • Keep wildlife crop (system) vigorous and
    competitive

51
Vegetation Management
  • How to keep what you want, where you want it and
    when you want it

52
Why
  • Livestock Diet Quantity and Quality
  • Rejuvenation of the sward
  • Germination of seeds
  • Weed control
  • Reduction of liability (fire, pest, etc.)
  • Looks bad

53
Forage
  • Leaves age reducing quality and photosynthetic
    efficiency
  • Bottom leaves are the oldest
  • Nutrients transferred to seed and carbohydrate
    reserve
  • best to maintain an LAI of 4-6

54
Sward Rejuvenation
  • Grasses and legumes require some defoliation for
    sward health maintance.
  • Old plant die and litter prevents new plants from
    establishing
  • Non defoliation leads to shrub and trees
    dominating the system

55
Seed Germination
  • Seeds require infrared light to germinate
  • Litter blocks infrared light
  • Establish plants compete very effectively with
    new seedling for light, water and other nutrients

56
Weed Control
  • Removal of undesirable plants
  • Chemical and nonchemical methods to be used

57
Liability
  • Fire
  • Vermin
  • Disease
  • Insect
  • Weeds

58
When to defoliate
  • When conditions are favorable
  • When target plants can afford to loss the
    protection
  • When target seeds need to germinate
  • Before livestock needs the forage

59
Bermudagrass and Ryegrass Growth Curve
60
Defoliation Methods
  • Grazing/feeding requires adequate numbers
    controllable vectors
  • Mowing leaves a residue
  • Disking disturbs the soil
  • improved seed germination
  • erosion
  • Fire complete residue removal

61
Carbohydrate Management
  • Carbohydrates (TNCs) are the products of
    photosynthesis
  • Plant part removal and regrowth requires
    utilization of TNCs.
  • Depletion of TNCsPlant death
  • Reproductive organs are sites of TNCs
  • Consumption and defoliation deplete Plant TNC

62
Carbohydrate Management
  • Consequently vegetation management is
    Carbohydrate Management
  • Minimize TNC depletion of target plants
  • Maximize TNC depletion of weeds
  • Utilize growth curve knowledge for timing
  • Keep forage vegetative for browsers/grazers
  • Keep plant reproductive for seed

63
Vegetation Management
  • Goals
  • Wildlife food and shelter
  • Sward rejuvenation and restoration
  • Results cross purposed goals
  • Dont do all microsites within a wildlife unit
    during the same time or at the same time each
    year.

64
Prairie Ecology
  • Plant production
  • Species
  • Fertility
  • Growth Curve
  • Weather
  • Reproduction
  • Sward Compostion
  • Animal production
  • Requirement
  • food
  • water
  • shelter
  • living area
  • Behavior
  • Stocking rate
  • Species
  • Reproduction
  • etc.

65
Animal Production
66
Ecology
  • Balancing act
  • What helps one hurts another
  • Maximize niches
  • Shelter areas
  • Water areas
  • Food areas

67
Examples
  • Long strips of Shelter belts surrounded by
    foraging strips
  • Checkerboard alternating squares of forage and
    shrub/ trees
  • Islands of shrubs/trees circled by forage
  • Mixtures of tall and short grass
  • Mixtures of adjacent mown and unmown plots

68
Summary
  • Maximize plant numbers and diversity over time
    and space by carbohydrate management
  • Maximize animal numbers and diversity over time
    and space by vegetation management
  • Start with a small number of target plants and
    animal, increase over time
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