How do I prepare my field to grow timothy hay?

Asked May 6, 2014, 12:11 PM EDT

I have 5 acres that have historically been used to grow alfalfa for horse grazing. Most of the alfalfa is gone/overgrazed, and the ground is taken over by weeds. I would like to use this land to grow timothy grass/hay, and I'm entirely new to this process. My question - If I heavily till this ground, and then seed, can I get away with not spraying Roundup or other herbicide before seeding?

Warren County Iowa

1 Response

I recommend you contact your local extension office in Warren County. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/warren/. Practices for growing specific crops can differ a lot according to region - what kinds of weed pressure, adaptability of particular crops and varieties, and insect pests. For example timothy has serious problems with mites in some regions.

A general answer to your question is that yes, you can certainly till for weed control. However, depending on your particular growing conditions, you may want to consider no-till or minimum till seedings. A downside of tillage in terms of weed control is that new weed seeds are brought to the surface. This is usually more of a problem with spring seedings than with late summer seedings.