We just bought 8 acres of land in hay. Our future plans involve pasturing some and harvesting the rest. It will mostly be used for horses. What can we do to make the hay quality better? Currently lots of red clover and queen Anne's lace. Second cuttingis being used for mulch hay.
York County Pennsylvania pastures and forages
The first step to renovating any ground is to soil test and apply the required lime. Mow on a regular basis, once grass is just beginning to head, and at least 8" tall, down a 3-4" height.... Not lower.... This will help the grasses compete against the weeds. If your stand is more than 30% weeds, weed control and possibly reseeding may be needed. Once a stand of mostly grass and clover is established you can start to fertilize. More information can be found at these links: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/sustainable/production-tips/fall-management-for-pastures-renovate-or-restore http://extension.psu.edu/plants/crops/news/2016/03/frost-seeding-for-pasture-renovation
When is the best time to apply lime?
Ag lime works very slowly. It can only move offsite by erosion. So the standard recommendation is to apply lime whenever the field can handle the spreading equipment, the sooner the better.