We have now made our last cutting (3rd) of sudan grass and baled it for haylage. This area is in the process of being renovated from KY 31 fescue to BarOptima PLUS E34 fescue. The renovation included killing out the existing stand of KY 31 fescue and using a winter and summer annual to smother out any remaining fescue. Now that two smother crops have been used we are ready to plant the BarOptima.
This sudan grass was a Hi-Gest Hayking variety that we liked very well. We cut it when it was around pocket height before the stems became too large. We did wrap all of it because without a mower/conditioner or a tedder it was too hard to dry the stalks down to make dry hay. This sudan grass did make good quality hay. The tests averaged 8.0 Crude Protein and had a Relative Feed Value (RFV) of 90.
The sudan grass was harvested 30 days after planting, then 24 days later made the second cutting, and then 31 days after that made the third cutting. It did get 50 lbs of nitrogen after each cutting. This field was 25 acres and we rolled a total of 62 bales that averaged around 1,800 to 2,000 lbs. It was a good quality, high production hay crop that performed well during the hot period of the summer.
We used a cone spreader to put the nitrogen down since we were applying such a small rate.
I barely got the third cutting baled before a nasty thunderstorm unleashed on the farm.
We used a wrapper from Southern States instead of purchasing our own. These things work really well once you get past the learning curve. Including renting the wrapper and buying the plastic it cost us about $5.00 a roll to wrap hay, but this should make some good quality feed for our cattle this winter.
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