Low Cutting Height Can Result In Loss of Orchardgrass Stands

– Les Vough, University of Maryland Forage Specialist Emeritus

Cutting height may be the cause of loss of orchardgrass stands as much as insect and disease problems. Insects such as grubs and billbugs and leaf diseases are certainly contributors to loss of stands but the advent and popularity of disc mower-conditioners somewhat coincides with the shorter stand life and slower recovery of orchardgrass fields after cutting. There is a tendency to set disc mower/conditioners to cut closer to the ground than with sickle bar mower/conditioners. I see much more scalping of the ground where disc mower-conditioners are used than where sickle bar are used. With disc mower-conditioners, some farmers are cutting as close as an inch or inch-and-a-half, sometimes even lower. This is analogous to overgrazing of pastures and if done repeatedly the outcome can be the same – loss of Continue reading