What do I do after I plant?
Your new seeding is more vulnerable to insects weeds and other maladies while it is being established. Proper pest control will improve the potential for success.
Improper grazing or mechanical harvest techniques will damage newly established forage stands and reduce their productivity. Proper defoliation is essential to establishment success and stand longevity.
Appropriate fertilization is important for establishment success.
The use of irrigation is dry areas or drought situations may make the difference between establishment success and failure.
Proper defoliation of new stands includes delaying the first grazing so that plants will not be uprooted, and also avoiding defoliation until plants have built up sufficient energy reserves.
Grazing is the process of allowing livestock to defoliate forages. It is often the lowest cost way of harvesting a forage crop, since the animals do most of the work for you. <p> Two primary grazing methods are <b>set stocking</b> and <b>rotational or management intensive grazing (MIG).</b><p> Set stocking systems allow livestock to remain on pastures for extended periods and to select the forage of interest. These systems often result in highest per animal performance.<p> MIG systems allocate portions of the pasture for short time periods, typically using high tensile electric fence. These systems result in highest per area production.
Mechanical harvest uses choppers and/or swathers and conditioners, rakes, tedders, balers, and bale collection machines to remove forage and prepare it for later use as silage or hay. <p> This defoliation method is more costly than grazing and requires special machinery, but allows the forage to be conserved for times of low pasture growth or to be sold off the farm.
Depending on what your soil test shows and what you have added recently, the new planting may benefit from fertilization.
Your stand may benefit from well-managed irrigation if dry weather prevails.
Irrigation systems should be designed to apply water evenly to avoid places of over or under-application. Water loss through evaporation may also be a concern. The requirements of the irrigation system you choose should match the level of management, labor, and water availability of your farming system.
A well-planned irrigation schedule will meet the needs of the forage plants while avoiding leaching or runoff of the soluble nutrients that you paid for. Additionally, grazing or machine operations should be timed for when the soil is drier so as to protect the soil from structural damage.