I have 2 overgrazed pastures (about 5 acres each) and i have some questions about turning them. Apparently its been over 20 years since they were turned, so I get that its probably time. I'm looking to have one field hay, and one in pasture.
Questions: Do you have to turn fields in the Fall?
Do you have to get rid of small willow shoots that have sprouted along the fenceline first (they are growing IN the pasture).
Do you fertilize every year? (should we buy a fertilizer for the tractor).
Do you know of anyone who will do this for me in the Ness Lake Area of Prince George?
i have old hay field that need to be turned too and have some info for you but i am not an expert by any means.
The idea of turning fields in the fall is to give the roots of grasses and weeds time to decompose over the winter. Than the tradition method is to disc and harrow in the spring in order to smooth out your seed bed and prepare to plant. If you disc, harrow and seed as well in the fall you run the risk of your new seedlings either dieing over the winter (because they haven't established enough of a root base) or washing out with spring run off for the same reason. If you plow, disc, harrow and seed all in the spring then you may not kill off the weeds as the roots won't have died off.
I think there is probably some room for expermentation depending on your local soil type. My back field is really wet in the spring and we can't get on it with equipment to disc and harrow in the spring so I am going to try to do all of that this fall but seed with something that will grow quickly and hold the soil so that we don't suffer from erosion in the spring.
Plowing up the willow roots should be enough to kill them back (as long as they are not already trees!