Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next

 

SEEDING TO FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.   23

In a dry climate weed seeds buried in the soil retain their vitality longer. Mustards, Ragweeds and other annuals may be reduced by seeding the land to meadow or pasture for a term of years, though it is scarcely possible to prevent occasional plants from ripening a few seeds each year.

After seeding to grass and clover on reasonably clean land, an early maturing nurse crop can usually be counted upon to check weed growth and prevent the seeds from maturing before the crop is harvested. The nurse crop should be ready to harvest or be cut for fodder within three or at most three and a half months after seeding. If weeds are not too prevalent when the nurse crop is harvested, it is better for the seedling grass and clover to leave a stubble four or five inches high. That will remove the seed stalks of the taller and more vigorous weeds and will enable the still tender fodder plants to gradually adapt themselves to altered conditions. Autumn weeds may be largely prevented from seeding by cutting with a mowing machine about a month after the nurse crop is harvested, and when Ragweed is prevalent this is especially important.

 

In the development of a meadow it frequently happens, as a result of unfavourable weather, irregular seeding, patches of too wet or too hard and dry soil, or a heavy nurse crop perhaps lodging in places, that the seedling plants suffer severely or are killed out in small areas. As soon as the autumn rains commence, or, if the soil is sufficiently moist, at any time after the summer heat is past, it is well to re-seed such patches quite thickly. If necessary, apply a thin dressing of rotted barnyard manure to cover the seed, to retain moisture and to insure vigorous autumn growth. If the killed out areas are large, it is sometimes advisable to use a sharp harrow to make a good seed bed. If the late fall is favourable and the re-seeded patches are well protected during the winter, they should make a fair growth, even for the first cutting, and succeeding crops will well repay the trouble and expense.

In addition to the suppression of weeds, close cutting with a mowing machine, not later than the third week in September, or about a month after the nurse crop is harvested, stimulates the branching and stooling out of the clovers and grasses, thus insuring a thicker stand and a more uniform growth the following spring. By removing the nurse crop stubble and the autumn weed growth, a cleaner and better quality of hay is secured from the first cutting. It is import-ant, however, that this be done in plenty of time to insure a good top growth for winter protection. The last cut of Alfalfa should be


Previous Fodder and Pasture Plants (1913) Next