CONSERVATION CORNER: Hay Production 101- continued

Small grain field (grass would be the same) with extra nutrients on the right and none on the left.

So, my first comment is “nothing can compete with well managed grass in the northeast”. If you manage and feed your grasses correctly, they will outcompete everything else. If you have weeds, it is because the grasses are not being managed as well as they can be. They are lacking a good cutting schedule or nutrients. Depending on the weed, cutting them on a timely basis will help a lot. Most weeds we deal with are annuals. They live one year. You cut hem before they go to seed then you have that many less weed seeds next year. Do that a few years in a row and there are “no” seeds left to germinate. Now, that does not work on perennials. They will be harder to deal with. Call me and we can discuss how to handle them. It will depend on the weed.

Fertility. There are a few different ways to get fertility into the ground. The obvious one is to buy fertilizer. That is pricy, but it is one of the easiest ways to get nutrients in the soil back up. Another is manure, or compost. If you don’t have animals, find someone who does and see if you can get their manure. Manure is probably the best one. It not only supplies NPK, but also organic matter. Organic matter (OM) does HUGE things in the soil- feeds microbes, soaks up moisture (a huge benefit this year), mulches the ground a little, makes better pore space in the soil, etc. When I say manure, I am talking anything along the lines of manure, compost, bedding, old rotten hay, etc. It all has nutrients, and it all adds OM.