Author Archives: Tom Payne

Dec 2022

We have no hay available and will not cut any until June of 2023.

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May 2021

Weather conditions this May has prevented everyone from harvesting the ryegrass in the area. The cool and wet weather has set up the Bermuda grass for a good start in June. In an effort to reduce fertilizer cost we will be utilizing a mix of dry and liquid fertilizer to achieve our harvest goals. We are expecting a good harvest this year due to the abundant rain and the addition of our Ranchworks aerator. The aerator should allow for our fertilizer and water to better penetrate into the ground making for a more efficient process.

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May 2018

We are starting to cut the ryegrass fields and they are not producing but about half of the normal amount. The weather has not been good for the winter grasses but the Tifton is coming on strong early. We have added another Tifton 85 field to our baling rotation so we hope to have hay available into the winter this coming year.

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August 2016

July was a very dry month and we didn’t get a rain until the middle of August so our third cutting will be the first week of September. This should be a good cutting due to the week of heavy rains we got. We added a storage barn that will hold over 300 bales of this cutting allowing us to sell premium hay throughout the winter.  If you are interested in this hay contact me at tandrhay@gmail.com.

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Hay Meadow Establishment

In 2014 I decided that I was going to establish an improved Bermuda grass meadow in Van Zandt County East Texas. My first step was to collect information on which hybrid grass species would best suit my needs and property. I spoke with local hay producers and sprigging company’s which ultimately led me to choose Tifton 85. The next step was to contact the N.R.C.S.(Natural Resources Conservation Service) and ascertain if there was a possibility of assistance from any government programs for forage production. Once these steps were complete I set a time line for setting the sprigs in April or May of 2015.

Deciding on which species I was going to plant was basically a choice between Tifton and Coastal Bermudas as these are the most common for our area. My property is a light clay soil and is the top of a hill. Either grass species would do well on the property so it then came down to productivity. According to my resources the Tifton 85 would perform better and had a better drought tolerance. The year of 2014 was our third year of a severe drought and I felt that I could hedge my bet by choosing the Tifton.

Researching N.R.C.S. I found that there were programs that could assist in establishing a new meadow if it met certain conditions. The main condition was that the acreage did not have an existing suitable forage stand. My property had been planted for sorghum previous to my acquisition of it leaving the field with virtually no permanent grasses on it.

Upon contacting the N.R.C.S. representative, he informed me that I would need to register my farm with the U.S.D.A. (United States Department of Agriculture). He assisted me in contacting the U.S.D.A in my region. The U.S.D.A representative informed me of what documents I would need to bring and set me an appointment to complete registration of the farm.

Once the farm was registered I again returned to the N.R.C.S. and started the process to receive assistance with the hay sprigging. The agent assisted me in filling out the application and establishing a plan of action.

My soil test revealed that my property had a ph level 5.7 and would need a ton per acre of lime to bring the level up to an acceptable level. I decided that I would put the lime down in September after I sub soiled the land and ran a disk over it to destroy all vegetation. After the application of the lime I brought in a breaking disc and turned over the soil in late November.

I located a local grass sprigging provider who agreed to conduct the sprigging in early spring utilizing local sprigs. The spring of 2015 was extremely wet for North East Texas and prevented the planting until May the 7th where we had a short window  where the rain let up. Once the field was planted the rain set back in and the field was saturated for 30 days. Two weeks after the rain quit the sprigs emerged from the ground and 45 days after that I cut and baled the field netting one and a half bales per acre. I got a second cutting in the fall at just over 2 bales per acre and left the grass at 6 inches tall going into the winter.

I am going to describe in more detail the field preparation, fertilization and weed management in future post.

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July 2016

June was a good month for our hay production. We cut the Tifton field and got 5 bales per acre. This cutting was on a 21 day cycle which produced a very high protein and weed free bale. The new baling equipment also made a 1000 lb very tight 4 ft by 5.5 ft square shouldered bale.  We also produced several hundred 4 X 5 mixed grass bales which have some fertilization but would not be classified as premium but good quality. As always we will load for free and we can arrange for shipping.

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May 2016

We are starting another season with favorable conditions for hay production. Our Tifton 85 field that was sprigged in 2016 is now completely filled out and at full production. We have upgraded our equipment to be capable of producing 4 X 5.5 bales that will top 1000 lbs.  All of our Tifton hay is fertilized, sprayed and tested for protein to insure its premium quality.

We also harvest several hay meadows that are un-fertilized for customers who are concerned about purchasing hay at  a lower price. This hay is good quality and clean with few weeds.  We have Ryegrass, Bahia and Coastal available in the lower cost bales.  We attempt to have all of this hay available by the end of June but weather conditions sometimes interferes.

We have our 1st cuttings already available please call to check on prices.

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October hay inventory

Most of our hay is 4 X 5 Net Wrapped using a Vermeer baler and a wheel rake. Our round bales average 850 lbs or more. We bale the hay at a low moisture content to insure no mildew or mold in the bales. We are putting up some hay in 4 X 4 net wrap to see if there will be a market for 450 lb round bales, for people using smaller tractors.

This has been a good year for hay production and we have an over abundance of coastal mix big round bales. This is good cow hay that has a few weeds in it due to the late first cutting this year. We have dropped our price on this hay to 30 dollars a round bale. We can have this hay delivered by Shocker Ag, at 46 round bales per load.

Our Tifton 85 which has been sprayed and fertilized has come in very well. We have sold most of the first cutting but have about 50 round bales left. We have dropped the price down to 45 dollars a round bale to clear it out in preparation for the last cut of the year. We will be cutting the Tifton 85 the 1st week of October and will have a couple hundred round bales to sell at 50 dollars a bale. Once again this is good, clean Tifton 85 that has been sprayed for weeds and fertilized at 220 lbs per acre September 3rd.

We still have some very clean unfertilized coastal that has been tested at 8.5% protein we are selling at 35 dollars for a 4×5 round bale.

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2015 Hay Supplies

We currently have several hundred bales of Coastal Mix Bermuda ready for sale. It is first cutting hay from 2015 bailed in Early July. This hay contains mainly Coastal but does have some Bahia mixed in it. We also have 200 Rolls of Bahia Grass Hay that is available. This hay is selling for 40 dollars a roll. Delivery is available at an added cost. Contact us to figure out the cost for delivery.

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