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We are clearing three acreas of our land for a horse and goat pasture. A local farmer told us that we need to spray weed killer on it before seeding. We own state protected wet lands and I'm concerned about run off. Has anybody ever used a weed killer on their pasture and is it really neccessary? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I would probably spray it with Roundup. No danger of runoff and will be safe to seed.
Are you tilling the soil? Roundup will kill any growing weeds but have no effect on future growth. If you are tilling anyway, I probably wouldn't spray it unless tilling can't get all the weeds growing now.
 

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Why poison the land/ground/water table with chemicals? The goats will eat the weeds anyway, native grasses will grow with the least amount of trouble as well.
 

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big difference, she/he wants a pasture, much higher tonnage per acre. Till, wait for the weeds to grow up, spray with roundup, fert. and plant.
 

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Here's what we do:

First thing is to go over the area with Roundup. Then when everything's died off and brown, plow it under, go over it with the cultivator and disk, then wait for about a couple seasons.

Then in the spring, seed. Sure the weeds'll come up while the grass is growing underneath, but once you cut the weeds before they finish their flowering stage and bale it up right away, the grass will take off like crazy, giving the cut-weeds no chance to regrow, no herbicides required.

Next year, you'll have a thick, grassy pasture with only 0.5% of it in weeds. Garranteed. :)
 

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shelly, don't know where you are, but. here in virginia, and depending on shape of present land. if compacted, we would probably turn the land with plow, double level disk, drag until smooth, drill in or broadcast fescue at 20 lbs to ac. in late aug. or early sept.

oh yeah...soil test for soil ph and mineral levels

if planted this year, roots will be formed by spring and developed before it gets hot and dry next summer... around here most spring planted pasture have a high failure rate because of root development/summer draught.

in the old days turning soil was enough to kill weeds down enough for grass to dominate.. but round up is fine, if sparayed on in correct rates and a few days before rains, it will be no runoff problem (to speak of)
 

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Roundup is inactivated upon contact with soil. No runoff problem. One thought I had, did you clear this land of trees? If so, you will probably have too many roots and stubs to do much tilling. Usually deep tilling only brings up more weed seeds anyway.
Fall and winter seeding is a good idea, if practicable in your area. In fact you can seed in the fall and the snow, and freezing and thawing will have the seed ready for an early start.( Unless of course you happen to be in a southern area where it doesn't freeze.)
 

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The goal is to get rid of deep rooted perannual weeds. Very hard to control those with tillage or other means.

So, spray glyphosate (Roundup, there are cheaper brands out there....). About a quart per acre is what you want. Only green actively growing weeds will be affected. It takes a week or more for they RU to flow through the whole plant, down to the roots, and start killing them. So, spray good healthy weeds, and let them sit for a week or 2 - no tillage, grazing, etc. before or after. Let the spray work.

As mentioned, it binds up with soil particles and become inert in an hour or less - it will have no effect on the soil, etc. (Yea, some debate on that - there is a soap part of the mix that some feel builds up & affects ponds....)

When you plant, new weeds will likely grow up with the slow-moving grass. You may need to cut off the area before the new weeds go to seed. You don't want to aggressively graze the new grass too soon, so typical to mow everything once to set back the new weeds. The new weeds will be frail & the grass will soon more or less overpower them - with the one cutting to set the weeds back.

Should be a good pasture after that.

--->Paul
 

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Well, I wish that I's gone ahead and sprayed when I had the farmer plant my pastures!!! (back in 04)
The cursed knap weed has taken over! And, it "poisons" the ground, killing out the surrounding grasses and legumes.
So, I just had the whole place mowed. When we get a rain to spurt the knap weed growth, then it will be sprayed with either "Crossbow", or "Milestone", both chemicals much more animal friendly than "Curtail"
They tell me such infestations may need spraying twice to really get the monster under control. There are areas where it is bad, but some regions here are weed free-those folks are spraying for weed control. They also say the knap weed seeds can sprout even after 8 years.
They say there also is a bug one can broadcast that eats knap weed seeds for its living. But, that would be for just little infestations, or after spraying control.
 

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We use a combination of goats, monthly mowing, and 2,4-D for weed control in our pastures.....

The mowing has made the most difference, if you just keep cutting the weeds off before they get to the reproductive stage (seed head), they kill themselves trying to reproduce....

The goats do well also, they really love ragweed and some other common weeds, but they only eat thistle after I cut them off for them...
 

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2-4-d is the main tool i use to control weeds on the farm. i used to spray several hundreds of dollars of the stuff for about five years...now that i have the weeds fairly under control, i use several gallons a year and spray with a small tank i keep on a utility vehicle in the spring. so far good stuff, doesn't kill grass.
 

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It's only three acres. Till it and then get out there and knock down those weeds before they go to seed with a machate. Chemical sprays are no good substitute for the hard work that is mandatory on a farm. My neighbors spray like mad.

What you're looking for is called "pasture management". It's about what to plant that will compete vigorously against the weeds. It's about what to plant that will improve the soil to the point that weeds don't thrive and solid grass does.

Incidentally, I've got a weed problem too ... mostly because the previous owners of my farm overgrazed the pastures with horses. I'm slowly turning it back into more useful land. Cows will help since they eat the grass in such a way that it actually promotes growth. It's going to take me at least four years to get this pasture in tip-top shape but it's usable now so long as I keep horses off of it and rotate its grazing with the other pastures.

There's not a substitute for those four years of labor that comes in a bottle.
 

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We got a 10 acre pasture started without resorting to spraying. We just planted the grasses, and kept brush hogging it whenever any sort of weed was starting to bloom. That causes them critical damage at a vulnerable time that they don't really get over. We eliminated huge masses of thistles and Queen Anne's lace that way.

It took about 2 years, but now we have a great pasture that is about 95% of the grass we wanted. No poison was necessary.
 

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i used weed and feed maybe 4 years ago. its fast, easy, cheap and effective. but after that i went chemical free.

learn about the weeds you have. some of them take two years to come to fruit and spread seed. some actually like it when you shred because they can outgrow the grass after that. do you have a lot of a particular weed? i do know that i have thistle come up really thick and the books tell me that i need to add calcium ? to my soil. ive resisted that... its expensive.

keep weed seed away from your place. when you bring in stock, put them in a pen and feed them for a couple of days. you want to empty their gut of all the foot they ate somewhere else. compost that poop in a hot pile. my farm didnt have any dove weed or horsetails until i took my cows back and forth to my brother's bull. i think they brought it back in their gut.

clean off equipment that you have used elsewhere. shredders are particularly bad about collecting seed heads on top.

the shredding is a good idea. i do it myself. then i go back and pull whatever i cant get with the shredder. shred or weedeat the fence lines. dont shred cactus. every little piece will regrow.

also dont disk unless you have too. weed seeds need only a fraction of a second of sunlight to go crazy. i couldnt get anyone to coulter my bermuda so i turned it under with a disk. wrong move. had a wonderful crop of weeds come up. so i bought me a little homemade coulter to loosen the soil.

fertilize with manure, not chemicals. a high concentration of fertilizer will kill worms. the more worms you have the better your soil and the more grass you will have.
 

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anyone know if roundup will kill cactus?
 

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You do understand that goats will do better, be healthier and happier on browse/weeds/brush?? They will eat some grass but prefer the taller stuff. For goats, a mixture of pasture/weeds/browse is best. We have some pasture for the cows and the goats eat the taller stuff. I would not want to have just pasture unless I had just cows.
 
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