Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Q: I have been using your advice on how to manage a brome/clover hay field of five acres near Ash Grove in Greene County I have had a great year of hay production. I think I will get one more cutting in the next few weeks, While walking the field recently I noticed a rust like substance on the leaves of some brome plants. This is only in small patches in the field and makes my boots and lower paints legs orange. What I would like to know is should I cut for hay this last time?
Ash Grove Mo.
A: Rust happens on fescue and orchardgrass and brome at times. I would think twice about cutting a last cutting in October. I’m convinced that we should treat brome, orchardgrass, timothy like alfalfa and target a last cutting in mid-late Sept., then allow a rest prior to first frost, especially for a young stand. This will strengthen the stand going into winter. If you take a cutting, do it immediately. If there is not enough regrowth now from the last cutting, it may not be worth it. A few years ago I cut half my orchardgrass in October, and lost the side I cut by next spring. The other side is still going strong. Not having a cover for insulation through the cold winter may have been part or most of the reason. Rust may be a normal thing on brome since it’s been a while since it was cut. I doubt it will be detrimental to the stand.
RESPONSE: “You haven't steered me wrong yet so I think I'll hold off on this last cutting. Neighbors will be disappointed, they like the hay this stand has produced and comment that they haven't seen a field of brome/clover this nice in years. My reply is talk to your extension office.”
Ash Grove Mo.