Canary grass in silage

Discussion in 'Grassland Management' started by MF30, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    I have an 8 acre field that I reseeded last autumn. It had been in barley for 10 years and had some wild oats and canary grass which I sprayed for and hand rogued stray ones. This field was fertilised for silage in the spring without it being grazed at all and was to be cut two weeks ago but for various reasons it didn't happen. Now today I walked through it and was horrified to see a lot of wild oats and canary grass throughout it. I've been pulling it since morning but I'm having little progress as it's flattened with the weekends rain. What are my options for this? Do I cut and bale silage then spread next year's dung back onto it and cut it earlier next year before it goes to seed?
    Annoyed.
    MF30
     
  2. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Also meant to say I have two barley fields in long term barley that I spray annually for wild oats, I could spread the dung from this silage onto them and let the spray take care of any germination.
     
  3. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    i cant imagine the WO doing any harm in the silage or growing again after
     
  4. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    I thought the seeds would pass through the animal, and be spread with the dung and take root when tilled next to grow again?
    MF30
     
  5. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    at normal timings the seeds wouldnt be there or viable
     
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  6. nashmach

    nashmach Moderator

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    I'd be a lot more worried about the canary grass than the wild oats to be honest.

    In an ideal world my take on it would be that the dung/slurry should go back onto that eight acre field.

    @CORK might have some thoughts.
     
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  7. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    As Headcase says if it's mowed on time next year after returning the dung to the same field at least the seeds remain on the surface and whatever germinates gets grazed or mown. Returning the dung to a tillage field and ploughing it down just starts another cycle of seeds and weeds to be sprayed.
    MF30
     
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  8. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    I would try and confine it to where it can be sprayed (the long term tillage fields).

    I really don't know if the seeds will remain viable after passing through the animal. My feeling is that some will survive. I actually have the same challenge here. Have slurry which I know was created by animals fed with canary grass in the silage. It will be going on tillage ground that we are already spraying.
    Will also leave the slurry in the tank as long as possible in the hope that some seeds will rot. Canary grass seeds are very small and stand a low chance of being chewed by the animal.
     
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  9. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    Would you not think the seeds would be better left on the surface in a grass field where they will either rot or germinate and get cut?
    I feel by putting them in arable and ploughing them down you are creating a future problem
     
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  10. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    Canary grass will produce a new head within a couple of weeks of being cut. Unless the ground is being intensely grazed then new plants will reseed themselves.
    If Tillage ground is put down to grass and intensively grazed, Canary grass seems to clear out within a few years.
     
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  11. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    It seems both options have both pros and cons! The wild oats are not my main concern really though I control them everywhere else; its that darned Canary grass. It's a very persistent plant with a huge seed reserve.
    MF30
     
  12. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Does this mean that I would be better not using this field for silage for a few years as growing silage will give canary grass plenty of time to reproduce?
    MF30
     
  13. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    exactly... I know one mixed farmer who has confirmed to me that Canary grass makes very bad silage.....
     
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  14. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    A few areas thick with this curse but only here and there throughout the rest of the field.
    MF30
    [​IMG]
     
  15. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Coming back to this topic as dung spreading season approaches. The silage with Canary grass seeds has been converted into dung and should be entirely used by February. Was debating on mowing an early crop of silage around early May from this field before any potential Canary grass seed heads are produced, then spreading all the dung back onto this field to contain the problem. Since mowing last June, no heads have been seen since as I've grazed it intensively over the summer. Is there a certain time ie late May that the seed heads are produced? If I spread the dung onto the field now that will eliminate early silage but I have other fields for silage if necessary. This seems the most practical approach to me but others opinions are valued. Could spread the dung onto two tillage fields that are currently being sprayed annually for wild oats etc but they might be brought into the grass rotation in a few years so I could be compounding the problem that way.
    MF30
     
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  16. headcase

    headcase Very Senior Member

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    Imo i would contain the issue if possible
    No point spreading it about
     
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  17. gone

    gone Well-Known Member

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    I would think your first option is best.
     
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  18. nashmach

    nashmach Moderator

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    I'd be spreading it back where it came from only. Canary grass is such a scourge now there's no point in helping it's cause.
     
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  19. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    Just going off memory but I think it normally heads out from June onwards. If new plants are mown early, they can head out again after cutting as far as I’ve seen.

    I don’t know exactly how long seeds can stay viable in the soil but you are certainly doing the right things in terms of containing it. We have a tank of slurry which I know has seeds in it (shed was rented out and the silage fed did have Canary grass in it). This shed has been idle since last winter and the slurry is in storage for its second winter now. Will aim to leave it there till autumn 18 in an effort to destroy as many seeds as possible.
     
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  20. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Think I'll go with that plan then, fertilise with 80 units in March without grazing, watch it carefully during May for signs of heading, mow bale and wrap, then spread dung and graze within the month to keep heads down. Should I graze early to clear the butt in case of any stray heads or just fertilise to bulk up as is? Very little on it at the moment but it'll take off at first sign of mildness being a reseed.
    Thanks for all suggestions.
    MF30
     
  21. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    Grazing early might delay some plants perhaps? So maybe not. Just keep an eye as you say.
     
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  22. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Coming back to this topic, was planning on dressing this field for early cut silage in mid May to try avoid any canary grass seeds heading out in the crop. Will be spreading 2 bags/acre of 18-6-12 and 2 bags/acre of Sul-can on it so around 90 units. Should I spread this in mid March to get maximum growing temp from the ground as it needs to be gone from the crop 60 days later- I usually extend the fert run out date by ten days to ensure minimum nitrogen levels in grass. No grass worth grazing on it at the moment as it was grazed till the end last year ( it's actually the only field I don't have a cover of grass on at the moment). Starting to yellow up a bit now so I'd get a good response soon from fert but surely spreading now is too early?
    MF30
     
  23. Ozzy Scott

    Ozzy Scott Well-Known Member

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    small bit now if you have the pain, I would be going later and with maybe only 60units of N per ac though and be ready to cut early.
     
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  24. MF30

    MF30 Well-Known Member

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    Have given this crop 2 bags of 18-6-12 and 2 of Sul-can in late March, grass still looks very green and am expecting to take a cut of silage from it in a fortnight before any canary grass shows its head again. Is there a test teagasc can do on a handful of grass to see if the nitrogen has gone from the stem? Or is that a sugar test I'm thinking of? Also when might I expect the canary grass to shoot out a head considering the spring we've had, will be walking the crop daily but it's hard to identify canary from other weed grasses.
    MF30
    20180504_094741.jpg 20180504_094732.jpg
    20180504_094735.jpg
     
  25. Arthur

    Arthur Well-Known Member

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    Yes they can test for Nitrates. You need to cut a sample and freeze it which helps break down the cell walls so the juice can be squeezed from it when thawed for testing.
     
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