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Frequent Visitor

Pasture production on hard ground

Having a major learning curve, I’m hoping someone with more experience can help. I bought a 13 acre ranch that had serious drainage issues that we have spent the past 9 months correcting. In the process we lost all of our grass so now that the place finally drains we have to get grass growing again. We are in southeast Texas so it was recommended for us to grow Bermuda for the horses. Note I have broodmares so fescue is a NO.
April 20th we disced and tilled the entire place then planted the recommended seed at the appropriate depth. Texas has experienced a crazy amount of rain since last October. So naturally we got several gulley washer storms that could’ve made us lose our seed.
Every time it rains hard it lays our soil down and gets hard as a rock. My land is primarily a clay with some sand. We were too scared to do anything to this rock hard soil as Bermuda seed is pricey. Fast forward 3 weeks we got absolutely nothing.
May 18th we have boxblade the surface to break it up the reseeded and fertilized. Once again got a lot of rain the following day and we are back to a rock hard surface. It was recommended we aerate. So we purchased one and it does barely 1/4 inch to this hard clay.
We can’t just keep starting all over by disking and tilling to get the nice powder soil for it to rain and get rock hard.
Has anyone experienced this or have recommendations on how to keep it softer to take seed. I have one corner of grass that will slowly keep growing to take over and it once was a nice pasture so I know it’ll grow on it.
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2 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Pasture production on hard ground

Soil test to see exactly where you`re at, but in the meantime get some pelletized gypsum out there asap! About 300lbs/acre that will loosed the soil and is neutral pH so you won`t mess up your acidity/alkaline, plus the grass will love the sulfur.  

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Pasture production on hard ground

First quite disking and box blading your making  a bad situation a lot worse. Beg, barrow, or steal a good no till drill and plant a cover/nurse crop along  with your grass seed to hold your soil in place while the grass  gets going.

If you were up in Iowa I would use cereal rye or oats. Depending on time of summer oats early rye late.

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