grass crop suggrsted

Asked February 27, 2015, 7:08 PM EST

I have some old pasture mostly Bermuda grass that I lightly disked to aerate and harrowed. I am not ab le to irrigate. what would you recommend I seed that will root in the shallow seedbed, that I can hay and then graze.

Baker County Oregon

1 Response

That is a great question given our warm and dry conditions recently. You will need a plant that will root aggressively and fight a little bit to chase water and compete with the existing grasses. Even disced the grasses that are established will most likely return with a vengeance.

I would suggest that you look into a spring cereal such as beardless barley, oats or triticale. These cereals can be planted deep (around 2+) and will mug around taking advantage of the available moisture. Small-seeded grasses will struggle to produce and it is so hard to get broadleaf plants to grow in those conditions as well.

A word of caution on dryland spring cereals, they can tend to have nitrate issues when stressed. Especially if there is residual soil nitrogen present. That is one of the reason I like beardless barley. It seems to have a few less nitrate issues than triticale or oats when stressed. That said, I would still encourage you to test the foliage before turning the cows in or feeding it as hay. The cost of a test is about $50 which is nothing when compared to having a sick or dead cow on the ground!

I would also suggest that you plant them no more than 50#/ac. That will fill in the gaps and not be too thick. Get it planted and pray for rain!