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Bermuda to pasture?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 22
Location: Tucson, United States
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I am moving to land with 4 cows feeding on Bermuda grass(and supplemental hay and feed). I am going to switch to rotational grazing and hope to come close to the increase in fertility and pasture that Salatin has. I want to get more pasture growing and get rid of the Bermuda. How hard will this be? The cows really over grazed and hurt the grass. The whole land is irrigated and sprinklers going. Can true pasture out compete Bermuda eventually or will it need to be removed? I don't mind the Bermuda I just think there is better grasses for cows. How should I attack this?
 
pollinator
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I have patches of bermuda and they outgrow any native pasture grass on my property. Where i place a round bale of bermuda for cows in winter, the next year i have a new area of bermuda.

Terrible in gardens. Great for pastures. The reason is the same on both accounts- You cant kill it.
 
pollinator
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I’d leave the Bermuda in some sections of your rotation. It should be good grazing part of the year.

It’s going be very difficult to kill. How many acres are you talking about?
 
Posts: 1802
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I would normally say that each pasture need to get to 12inches after being eaten down to 4inches aka about 30days for 30 paddock.
But I am going to say go ahead and create 40 paddock, and one would revisit each one once every 40days.

Now that the min rest time down and thus the amount of paddock, next is the carrying capacity of the land.
If it is well watered I would say 2.5 acres for every cow-calf pair. If it was native Tuscan land it would probably be 1 cow-calf pair every 40 acres.
If the site was already overstocked and trying to reduce the stocking number was undoable for whatever reason.
You would have to somehow wait until they have mob grazed the paddock (say in 3 hours due to overstocking) to feed them hay.
But yet still make it where they drop all the manure from the hay evenly over the eaten paddock.

But even before we get to that point it, the question is how to we restore this battered pasture, the answer is rest and reseeding at least in my head.
1) N-fixer (•15% Birdsfoot Trefoil•10% Forage Pea•10% Red Clover•10% Alfalfa)
2) Drymass (•35% hybrid pearl millet, Sorghum x Sudan Hybrid, teff, Bonanza Big Bluestem, Scout Indiangrass, and Trailway Sideoats Grama)
3) Medicinals/Pest Control (1% Mint family, Carrot Family)
4) Soil Aerators/Miners (10% Daikon Radish, 10% Forage Chicory,)
I would seed and then run the cows throw 1 minute later so that they can get the seed into more contact with the soil and the can drop their fertilizer packet.
I would regraze after the seed are 12inch and in the mean time cut the existing grass at day 7 & 14 to 4inches and then at day 21 at 8inches.



 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Good pasture is a mix of many different plants, the more species the better.
You have one of the best base grasses already in place, Bermuda is used in so many pastures because it is high in fiber and protein, and animals love to eat it.
Another plus for Bermuda is that it is a rhizome grass that will send those rhizomes down into the soil for draught survival and it will spread and regenerate even if cut to the soil, that makes is a perfect starting grass for pastures.
Many farm supply companies have "pasture" seed mixes, one of those would be a fast start to adding variety to your current pasture land.
Then you just keep adding from there, I try to reach a 20 species pasture setup so that there is enough variety to keep the animals feeding while they are on that plot during the rotation.
Just like humans, variety is the spice of life for all grazers and browsers, they will slow their eating if the menu is boring.
S. Bengi has posted a nice list of great pasture plants to add to that great Bermuda.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Jay Berryman wrote:I am moving to land with 4 cows feeding on Bermuda grass(and supplemental hay and feed). I am going to switch to rotational grazing and hope to come close to the increase in fertility and pasture that Salatin has. I want to get more pasture growing and get rid of the Bermuda. How hard will this be? The cows really over grazed and hurt the grass. The whole land is irrigated and sprinklers going. Can true pasture out compete Bermuda eventually or will it need to be removed? I don't mind the Bermuda I just think there is better grasses for cows. How should I attack this?



Bermuda is a very good pasture grass with 14% and higher protein content, why in the world would you want to get rid of it?
In my area all the cattle men swear by Bermuda for their pasture base fodder, then they add in other, early out of dormancy grasses to keep the pastures green and growing, in the winters the perennial rye grass keeps fresh grass available year round.

Instead, add to that wonderful base grass, rape, 7 top turnip, short fescue, perennial rye grass, Kentucky Blue, (tall fescues are not particularly good for grazers since it can mess with the rumen),
buckwheat, clovers, hairy vetch and legumes, all will serve to provide a varied and interesting diet for any Ruminant or other grazers you might end up putting on there.

Redhawk


 
Posts: 215
Location: SE Oklahoma
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Jay Berryman wrote:I am moving to land with 4 cows feeding on Bermuda grass(and supplemental hay and feed). I am going to switch to rotational grazing and hope to come close to the increase in fertility and pasture that Salatin has. I want to get more pasture growing and get rid of the Bermuda. How hard will this be? The cows really over grazed and hurt the grass. The whole land is irrigated and sprinklers going. Can true pasture out compete Bermuda eventually or will it need to be removed? I don't mind the Bermuda I just think there is better grasses for cows. How should I attack this?



I've lived near massive cattle ranches in both Texas and Oklahoma. Summer grazing is always some improved variety of coastal bermuda, usually Tipton 44 or similar. In Texas, they hayed the summer grass and left it dormant over the winter. Half their land was permanent coastal pasture and half they plowed and planted rye grass and wheat or if the winter was mild, rye grass and oats. (Oats freeze easier than wheat.)

In Oklahoma, one neighbor poisons his coastal to burn it to the ground and then overseeds it, probably with rye grass but at least once with some kind of flower mix.That could be some conservation program they run in Oklahoma. (They have a lot of grant programs for plasticulture, hoop houses, pasture, wildlife, ponds, etc.)

Our pasture here is a mix of coastal bermuda, common bermuda, bunch grass, native grasses, and maybe an unknown number of other grasses, clover, some weeds. It grows all year long. Coastal only thrives during warm and hot weather. The rest of the year it is dormant (although if you don't graze if off or mow it or hay it there will be roughage that can be grazed over the winter).

The other grasses take turns growing during their favored seasons and where they do better. Coastal grows thick and crowds them out in some areas of the pasture, but not in others. You almost can't get rid of it because it has roots very deep.

Improved bermuda grasses are planted by sprigging which is basically taking the grass, chopping it up in pieces and semi-burying it in the ground by disking or plowing over it, using a sprigger (like a manure spreader) or sticking it into plowed ground. So plowing it makes it spread.

Better varieties of common bermuda are now available and it can be planted using seed or used in pasture mixes. Common is more drought resistant, can be overgrazed and survive, but produces less grass that is shorter and not as suitable for haying.

Note that some varieties of grass including an improved giant bermuda require heavy fertilization or they will die out. Useful resources:

http://bermudagrass.com/info/giant.html

SunGrazer Plus Coastal SEED https://mbsseed.com/products/farm-ranch-seed/sungrazer-plus-forage-bermudagrass-blend-25-lb-bag.html?___SID=U $195 for 25 lbs plants 2-3 acres.

Useful chart: types of pasture seed
http://www.mbsseed.com/planting%20chart.htm

Fertilizer I've decided to use on my pastures (no relationship - just doing my research). Put GroPal on soil (home page) and use GroPal C for foliar  10-40 oz per acre
http://www.ag-usa.net/proddetail.php?prod=1GroPalBalanceA-bucket $399.40 for 5 gallons to treat 10-40 acres of grass 16-64 oz per acre

http://www.max-well.us/proddetail.asp?prod=Huma-Tec $104.95 for 1 gallon - can apply with hose sprayer. Treats 2-4 acres.

How to plant year round pasture
http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/how-to-choose-the-right-pasture-seed

https://www.groworganic.com/premium-horse-pasture-mix-irrigation.html NOT ORGANIC, but is non-GMO $4.99/lb

https://www.groworganic.com/o-livestock-pasture-mix-irrigtd-lb.html ORGANIC $12.99/lb 25-30 lbs/acre - may want to AVOID for horses - contains Fescue

Note that whatever mix you plant you should research each type of grass because some are not suitable for other types of grazing animals. For example, pregnant mares are typically removed from any pasture containing fescue as it can cause miscarriages and difficulty foaling. See http://www.sites.ext.vt.edu/newsletter-archive/livestock/aps-97_06/aps-794.html

Many grasses that are used for cattle are bad for horses such as haygrazer, Klein grass, and other grasses of that type.  They cause kidney failure if enough is consumed and irreversible damage. One gelding that was fed this type of hay over one winter could no longer retract his penis after that winter.

The way it was discovered Klein grass is eventually toxic was when horses that had grazed it for years and been fed the hay off of it for years started having neurological issues and then dying. With those types of grasses, horses may tolerate them in small quantities, but the toxins are cumulative and eventually cause damage.

Remember that even if you never plan to run any other kind of animal, plans can change. You might decide to sell, and what grasses you have will limit who can buy it. Or you might find the love of your life and she might have horses.  
 
Jay Berryman
Posts: 22
Location: Tucson, United States
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Thanks for the replies, I will definitely check out those links. I wasn't planning on getting rid of it like plowing it all up etc, I was kinda hoping to just bring in more variety and nutrients. I think we have the common here, I've never seen it get very tall and it usually has more runners than height. I will have to do more research.
 
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