Our pastures are coming in wonderful this year!
We have been working on getting our pastures ready for our cows in 2015. When we bought our land in 2010 it was in oats. In 2011, we had it moldboard plowed and smooth brome and red clover seed drilled. But it didn’t germinate, so we had a great stand of weeds. Though, now I understand that weeds are a colonizing species that take opportunity when they don’t have competition…and although it is not what we wanted to pop up, it did hold our soil in place which is probably more important.

In 2012, we broadcast more smooth brome and some dryland alfalfa. We always chose our species based upon 20” of rain and no irrigation. Plus, the smooth brome is sod forming and would choke our unwanted species while giving good cover. We did have a better hay crop in 2012, but it was weedy, and the weather wasn’t great, so it was rained on. But it was our rained-on-weedy-hay and as our first crop we were proud of it.

The second cutting was actually much better and was mostly all red clover!

This year our grasses and legumes have been coming in very well and we are actually quite surprised! Everyone always comments on how good they look this year and we hope the encouraging trend continues. Based upon my soil tests, we plan to add gypsum, boron, copper and sulfur this fall. We don’t want to get caught in taking nutrients off the land without replenishing them. Hopefully the weather will hold and the neighbor working the hay for us will have good timing!
Virginia showing height of grass at start of our recent farm visit. By the time we left two weeks later the grass was at least another foot taller and the clover had bloomed!