Written Monday, March 03, 2014,6:33 AM.
Central Missouri. Monday, March 3rd 2014. -2F ‘n -21F windchill. Terrain ‘n stock covered in frizzle from Saturday night and Sunday. These Frizzle coats are a great thing. The frizzle is a blanket or barrier to help protect the stock from some of the harshness of the wind and the windchill. Pecking away at the keyboard here, sipping Dunn Brother’s Guatemala coffee. Thinking, wondering, hoping that we get rain someday soon. Rain to thaw the ground, rain to soak the soil, rain to grow some grass. Sun and timely temperatures to grow some grass. The long dry drought spells covering years have taken a tremendous toll on the grass stands here. All the fluff of rotating your cattle, don’t graze it past 4″ tall/short, don’t be on the land when conditions are extreme. You know, all that great advice and recommendations go out the window when the drought comes, stays and doesn’t leave. This little piece of range land got a timely rain in April 2013 and was enough to grow some grass for grazing and haying. The year before in 2012, I had to race like the dickens in May to mow off the “hay fields” before the scorching temperatures and the dry conditions took the sparse grass and rolled it into brown sprigs. Barely a normal 1/3 of a hay crop. 2013′s hay crop was better but the quality was down. The degree of weeds on the hay ground and the pastures was unbelievable. From weedless in 2011, to some weeds in 2012 to a full-blown weed festival in 2013. Kept telling myself to just mow and graze it Tammy. All that work with using Grazon, Forefront, Remedy, Grazon Next, Remedy Ultra, PastureGuard, and Chaparrel may seem down the toilet and that your are starting over, but stay the course, wipe those tears from all those toils, and just take care of what you have. Even if it is curly dock, daisies, wild carrots, thistles. My lushious weed crop came about because I had my back up against the wall and was buying hay from everywhere that hay could be found. Most of the high quality hay was “put up right”, “from sprayed areas”, “all good grass”. And, high $$. Well, I knew better, knew it was crap, but I was not ready to cull the wheels off of 17 years of genetic progress. So I bought that crap, fed that crap, knew I’d have weed species I’ve never seen before and knew that “Dear Dow” could take care of that crap’s offspring in due time. If you have “xx $$” to spend on growing grass and if you have a choice between commercial fertilizers and commercial chemical “weed getter ridders”…your great bang for the “xx$$” is the spraying of the fields. Yet, experience will give you this – wisdom. Wisdom gives you the lived hands-on experience of the spray’s effectiveness – timing of the application, weather conditions in the weeks after spraying, the applicator’s expertise (or lack thereof), and availability/dependability of a spray rig service. The weather conditions in 2013 made spraying less attractive simply because the forecasting of rain to grow grass was minimal. The forecasted temperature for the growing season and the summer was “HOT”. I did not spray the entire place in 2013. I opted in April to go the commercial fertilizer route. I am glad for the choice I made but it sure was teeth grinding painful to see all those damn weeds. I did some personal spraying in August to test “fall application of Grazon Next” on some ground that I had mowed down to regenerate the daisies. The idea was to see if I gave those daisies new growth could I kill the dudes with Grazon Next and then get some fall grass seeds to sprout if I got some fall sprinkles. Interesting results. A few sprinkles came, the days got shorter, the nights got longer, the Grazon Next was applied to those “fresh daisies” and they slowly curled up and turned brown. And little sprigs of grass appeared. We shall see what is there come March when it warms up. Oh…it is March. Frost in the ground here is interesting. Though it has been polar vortexing for months, the degree of frost and the depth of frost is interesting in that it takes “moisture” to make frost and it takes “moisture” to drive the frost deep into the ground. Our lack of moisture has put a whole new spin on frost and frost ratings. Anyway, back to growing grass. I will be once again giving my preference to being a good steward of the land and my 1st priority will be spraying. What will the forecast bring for timely temperatures, rains, and sunshine to grow grass? If it all works out, I will put a high priority on Grazon Next + Remedy Ultra (or whatever they name it this year). I am happy with the Dow Chemical products and very grateful to the semi-retired Rodger Benson for coming to inspect and visit back many, many years ago. He is a wealth of information, always a phone call away, and am proud to call him “friend”. Thank you Rodger. And folks, take a bit to follow this link and then trot over to “Like” Dow’s FB page. They have some interesting reads. ~Hopin’ 4 Rain 4 Grass 4 Cows
This photo is yesterday feeding some of my own hay to the yearling heifers.