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General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: mike_belben on September 06, 2021, 04:24:28 PM

Title: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 06, 2021, 04:24:28 PM
I dont wanna keep derailing garden threads with stuff not related to gardens.



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0906211224-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1630959830)



for you cow corn gurus, how many ears should i get on a stalk?  i planted a bit too dense thinking my sprouted seeds would have some loss but not one of them actually died.  the most robust stalks hit around 9ft tall with 2 ears, and the runts are trapped underneath at 1/3rd the size.  since im feeding the corn to chickens i am removing the stalks as i harvest 2 mature ears, in hopes that the runts can respond and finish off.  but im seeing small 3rd ears on those big stalks.  

you think they will they come to fruition or fizzle out?  i have to weigh the nutrient and light cost of a monster stalk crowding a little one that has 2 mid sized ears, where keeping the big stalk may only provide a stir fry baby corn and also prevent the shaded ears from filling out.  

at my present scale it doesnt matter at all, but i prefer to learn sooner rather than later.

this was august 2nd


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0802210640_Film1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1627908213)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0802210640a_Film1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1627908225)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 06, 2021, 09:49:54 PM
I drove a silage truck for the neighbors the other day, and the corn stalks looked like they were about every 4" in the row, and each had one big ear of corn, the 2nd ear did not develop other than a small shuck. We have had pretty good rains this summer, the one Sept 2 was just in time, we received 2 3/4".  It was just in time for the beans.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 06, 2021, 09:55:31 PM
Is that the new magic number, crowd them in and get 1 ear per stalk?  Or was it a failure to get the 2nd ear and a big yield loss per acre? 



Im really unsure of what happens when you pull a ripe ear off and leave the other to grow.  Whether it gains in size or ends up stunted or over ripening etc.  First time corn made it to maturity for me. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 06, 2021, 09:59:24 PM
They had to get some bales and make the pile longer.  Think it was a huge success.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: btulloh on September 06, 2021, 10:06:27 PM
One big ear, one second ear thatís pretty good if spacing is adequate. Anything beyond that is a freak show.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 06, 2021, 10:48:42 PM
I cant believe it took me this many months to stumble onto virginia techs weed id database.  Theres a lot of nutrition in "weeds"

https://weedid.cals.vt.edu/
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 07, 2021, 07:55:25 AM
Mike, I'm surprised you did that good with the corn [being from Mass and all].  2 ears and a nubbin is the best I ever do but more like 1 big ear and a nubbin most times. That high nitrogen fertilizer is too much $. If you plant the same ground [with corn] next year you would do worse.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 07, 2021, 09:46:03 AM
I have found that composted cow manure is just the best fertilizer.  There is a lot of bedding mixed with it, and bale bottoms, that is the stuff left in the feeder when the cows have gone through it, that is piled in the spring and allowed to heat, which kills the seed.  Have been spreading it the last couple weeks, even on hot days steam comes out of the pile when I disturb it with the loader.  The hay that comes out of the pile is gray colored like it has been on fire.  I just load it on my manure spreader and spread it on poor grass.  Native grass, (CRP) seems to benefit more than brome grass, but all does better.  Just a thin layer really helps the health of the grass.  Had a field that was so poor that it only had a little tuft of grass here and there, with a lot of bare dirt between the tufts, and since putting on some manure it has thickened the grass significantly. Would put it on farm ground if there was enough to go around, but going to get the grass healthy first.  Does take a couple years before the compost fully breaks down and becomes dirt, which helps more.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 07, 2021, 12:46:24 PM
Mike, I'm surprised you did that good with the corn [being from Mass and all].
yeah i know'd it.    ;)

i think it was 3 or 4 sweet corn fails before i got good enough at soil building. but it still took a boatload of fertilizer.. corn is a spendy crop to produce. if it keeps taking more fertilizer to produce the same yield your soil microorganisms are dying off. jumpstart them back with an abundance of organic matter, moisture and time.

here is a current pic with the largest ears removed and the suffocated ones now getting front row, seem to be responding pretty fast.  

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0906211608.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631031566)

you can see that tilled up strip in the background.  it was a little too hard when i planted this but i let it grow knee high grass, right up into the tomatoes, cukes and squash that i had twined up to fenceposts or an A-frame stick arbor.  the weeds didnt stop any of that from growing but the grass root system dug down into the hard clay and gave it broke it up.  i flipped that big green afro with a shovel and let it suffocate then rototilled to break the sod up. let the weeds provide organic matter.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0907211819.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631112024)

will be seeding it with some cool season stuff today.  some corn is gonna stay as a sunscreen until the new stuff is hardy enough and hot season has waned a bit.  then ill chop the rest of the corn out. (i planted early radish, white beets, forage rape, kale, purple top turnip and cabagge.  need more space to open up before i can put in the bush beans, onion and rutabega.)


the stalks that were completely enclosed in the center of the patch with no access to direct sun have only put on one large ear and much less leaf, as well as less height while having no more than 8" in any direction, very dense. some of them are 4" apart.  those stalks are really spindly, half the diameter of the big ones, and half the height.  but on the other hand- the ears arent really much smaller. so that jammed together segment probably extracted a lot less soil resources per cob.   maybe thats how the high density wins.. less fertilizer input? less nutrient extraction to grow the same tonnage of grain?    at a glance, i am thinking more space would be much more productive in tonnage of green stover if you were grinding it all for feed. maybe im wrong.. just thinking out loud.




@farfromkansas-  the hot, white smokey thing is a function of hot composting.  some living microbe produces it.  they are breaking down the carbon (straw, hay, wood chip, leaves etc.  "browns") and consuming the nitrogen (manures, grass etc "Greens") as an energy source i guess. having it cooking hot and a little sweet smelling (ammonia) means youve got plenty of nitrogen, maybe excess so it happens fast.  if youre really cooking even in winter, add some browns.. take advantage of the huge microbial action present to reduce all the browns you can because they are whats really slow.  like rotting wood and bark.  the more you pee on it the faster it turns brown.  the nitrogen in that whiz is like hiring a small crew of workers for a huge project.  when youve got a huge manure hill, you have enough workers present to break down 2 more equal sized sawdust piles.  you can get dirt in about a month by mixing that ratio if it stays hot.  

its odd the things youll think are fun when you quit drinking.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 07, 2021, 03:40:17 PM
if it keeps taking more fertilizer to produce the same yield your soil microorganisms are dying off


Guess I would say that a little differently.  In many cases the fertilizer is the reason your soil biology is dying off to begin with.  Crops remove nutrients from the soil as they are harvested and one way or another those nutrients need to be replaced.  The scaled solution has been chemical fertilizer, but that comes with a cost.  For example, nitrogen in the form of urea or anhydrous ammonia is a desiccant, so all the worms, micro flora, etc in the region of application suffer and you end up with dead zones that ironically can only be "repaired" with additional fertilizer.  Self fulfilling circling of the drain.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 07, 2021, 06:36:17 PM
Thatís an excellent description of what I feel has taken place on this ground Iím working here. Iíve been trying cover crops and applying ďcompostĒ horse manure thatís been piled up for years. Itís amazing to see the ground and plants respond so well. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 10:49:15 AM
visit to a friend yesterday, "army worm" has eaten up an entire paddock on him and apparently a lot of others.  he is maybe 15 miles from me.  i guess the whole region is out of pesticide and its spreading fast.  not good.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0907211517.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631111598)


you can see how brown and dead all this goose grass is.  the permanent fence makes for permanent cow walking paths that are too compacted to grow and has luckily prevented them from crawling into the other fields. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: beenthere on September 08, 2021, 12:32:04 PM
Mike
Spectracide Triazicide


is in stock on Amazon in gal concentrate. 

Sorry to read about the army worms. Gotta stay ahead of them.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 01:06:11 PM
thanks BT.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 08, 2021, 02:33:12 PM
Thatís a bad deal for sure. How many acres are effected
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 05:44:07 PM
not too many at jackie's.. thats his sacrificial mudlot for rainy weather to keep the leased pasture from getting pugged up. this one drains pretty fast with all the slope.  the bulk of it is in that picture. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 08, 2021, 08:45:17 PM
Mike when I weed the corn I leave the pulled weeds in the row to get tilled later. My wife doesn't like that and she picks up her weeds and throws them over the bank.  So the next time you stop by you can talk to her about this and easy on the hammer coming up from Port J. :)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 09:52:18 PM
'fraid Its gonna be a while on that trip doug. I will be sure to stop and harrass you though.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 10:13:38 PM
Woodchipper eats corn just fine. After 3 days of fermenting in water my birds are happy eating chopped cobs too so in it goes.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0908211521-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631151648)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0908211526.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631151992)


Corn is incredibly digestible compared to other feeds, and fermenting just increases that.  

Maize grain, yellow | Feedipedia (https://www.feedipedia.org/node/11668)

Gonna ferment the chopped stover too, incase i find some free pigs and have to overwinter. This stuff should be pretty rich given it just came off the stalk.  Chopping and fermenting will improve digestibility, very fibrous otherwise.

Maize stover | Feedipedia (https://www.feedipedia.org/node/16072)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0908211552.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631152007)



Tomorrow i will chop up more yard greens and ugly maters.. Hopefully i can make enough free feed tomorrow to get the whole crop to slaughter weight.


I planted a lot of leafy green cool season proteins yesterday to make up for the warm season ones that will be trailing off soon.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 08, 2021, 10:53:58 PM
Funny - the corn in your pool looks just like whats known as shredlage.  Guys pay big bucks for a forage harvester that will produce that material. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 08, 2021, 11:28:47 PM
Go figure.  Got mine at the scrapyard  ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on September 09, 2021, 08:01:10 AM
A silage  chopper and a wood chipper are very similar machines, if you think about it. Just one handles a much large volume of finer stemmed stuff.  Conceptually the guts aren't much different.  When you are done chopping Mike  make sure you pack and tarp the pile well so you get a good fermentation. Oxygen will spoil the batch. Wait six weeks and it's  done.  :)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on September 09, 2021, 08:26:12 AM
My 2 cents since this is the forage thread.  Just some pictures.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/55256/20210908_113025.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631189328)
 

Yes corn in a field along the road.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/55256/20210908_113309.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631189025)
 
It's been a few weeks  since I checked an ear. This stuff  is very good that ear has a diameter almost  as wide  as my phone.  Those corn plants are roughly  nine feet tall. Rains came in a timely manner. Soybeans look pretty good for the most part.  We missed very dry conditions  by  about 80 miles.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/55256/20210908_182637.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631189004)
 

Got a second cutting of cool season grass put up last night.  I cut the stuff I won't late season graze...A small four acre patch left to do this evening. Then pick up the bales.  Clean up and grease the equipment  and put it away til next year.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 09, 2021, 12:14:06 PM
wow, nice work doc.

i have been reading about ensiling trying to decide what to do with the green shred.  the corn cob mash already got soaked in water overnight and a little fed out this morning. its obvious that its producing vinegars and they ate it like gangbusters.  i have to hurry up and go get a drum from a neighbor before the stover loses any more quality.. i mean not that it matters, im just playing right now to see what can be scaled up..but the stover is getting pickled like kimchee.  

this has been the best single source ive come across about the whats going on part of ensiling
Understanding the process of corn silage fermentation and starch availability | Hubbard Feeds (https://www.hubbardfeeds.com/blog/understanding-process-corn-silage-fermentation-and-starch-availability)


and yes, it only took a few minutes to determine there is a really really big industry for the machine shops when it comes to shredlage now that i know the term to look it up.  ag universities are on board and the data suggests its the best technology for high output dairy feed. makes seeded out dry bales look pretty unappealing!


i would say there is a tremendous opportunity for someone to produce a user serviceable, corn harvesting and shredding rig that runs on 35 PTO hp and can be afforded by a working class mortal.  shortages are normalized, everyone is gonna have food on the mind as less and less is available for more and more dollars. you could finish animals a lot faster on good feed year round.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 09, 2021, 12:25:56 PM
Iíve got to look into this shredlage deal , Iíve never heard of it. Without knowing anything about it seems like a comparable product could be made by backing the shear bar off and or taking knives out . The flail choppers the old timers used to green chop come to min as well.
Canít imagine digging that stuff out of the bunk after itís piled, that stuff must bind together like crazy.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 09, 2021, 01:09:31 PM
My what big ears you have there @Nebraska (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=45256)  :D  :D  :D

Many pto driven, single row corn choppers used to be along fence rows in the iron pile on old farms.  Probably the last scrap metal peak claimed a lot of them.  They ran on low HP, but like anything else went out of favor given their efficiency.  If it's you and one other guy trying to get the $300-$400 / acre cash expense corn in before the weather turns do you want to chop one row at a time or 16?  

To me if you want to put up a good forage, and do so with less investment, and lower risk, then baleage of perennial grasses and legumes are the key.   
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 09, 2021, 02:09:31 PM
The neighbors have a 12 row cornhead and they mount it on their silage chopper, and grind up just the ears, and call it "earlage".  They have a pile of earlage along with a pile of silage, and a lot of round bales, they grind the round bales, store it under a pole type building, also have a pile of distillers grain, go to the trench and pile on so many pounds of silage, so many earlage, so much distillers grain, and so many pounds of ground hay, mix it up in a silage truck and put it in feed line bunks.  They usually feed 1200 steers.  Me, just have a cow calf operation, and I feed bales.  The alfalfa I can unroll on winter pasture, have about 100 bales of oats baled when the grain was in milk stage, and hope to be able to unroll that on the grass.  One bale will tell if it will work.  Otherwise, brome and native grass go in bale feeders in the corral, which I leave open unless the cows need worked. Feeding on the grass creates a lot of cow patties, and that helps keep the native grass healthy.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 09, 2021, 05:33:33 PM
Itís a shame how much farm equipment got scrapped, some of it still had plenty of use left for smaller operations.
I agree making baleage is probably the most efficient way for smaller operations to make high quality feed.
If nothing else it takes a bit of the weather struggle out of making higher quality hay.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on September 09, 2021, 09:44:35 PM
Those little choppers  are still lurking about, my dad owned half of a single row Ford unit.  I remember dad chopping forage sorghum silage when I was a little boy. I don't remember where it went.  Seems like we ran it on a 70hp propane buring Minneapolis Moline tractor.

Mike take a look at Ag bag. I have folks using it for silage/haylage, dry and wet corn storage in the field.  If I were going to mess with the green chop silage like you are, I would  try those 3 mil contractor cleanup bags fill them seal them then stack them up. (OK no really I would buy a silage kit for my round baler and wrap the bales.... its been thought about)...Since you have a back  hoe though, you could make a trench lined with plastic sheeting then fill/pack until heaped and cover with a plastic tarp and use dirt to seal the edges and old tires to weight it down as long as the O2 is shut off it should  ferment well.  The pile will shrink. Enjoy the learning.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 09, 2021, 10:54:41 PM
I pickled the corn chop fines today, literally.  Theyre in a drum with water, salt, vinegar, some yogurt and probiotic chick grit to attempt dropping PH and innoculating before yeast and mold eat it.  Will see what happens. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 10, 2021, 07:39:26 AM
 :P
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 10, 2021, 07:43:50 AM
Why do I keep hearing "Copperhead Road" playing in the background now while reading Mike's posts?  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 10, 2021, 08:26:00 AM
I have a neighbor who bought a bale wrapper.  Think the brand is Anderson. It has 2 rolls of plastic, and a gas engine with a belt, and the thing spins the bales and wraps them with the plastic. He gets it wrapped tight enough to seal, and can put wrap on a row of bales.  Start at the beginning, just put the bales on the rear of the wrapper and keep adding bales till the whole row is wrapped. Has a plastic cap to seal the ends.  He baled his sedan green, and when he took it out of the row it was still green.  Cows loved the stuff.  Said he would wrap for 3$ plus cost of plastic, but you have to have all the bales carried up so you can put a bale on the wrapper every 30 seconds.  Thing is fast. I looked at the bags, looks like a lot of trouble to get them put on and sealed, decided the millet and sorghum sedan feed is just not all that great, as the cows turn their noses up at it.  Baled dry. Decided to try oats for forage.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 10, 2021, 08:27:15 AM
'fraid Its gonna be a while on that trip doug. I will be sure to stop and harrass you though.
It's long overdue.  If you stay down there any longer your gonna lose your Yankee accent.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 10, 2021, 08:40:16 AM
I have a 3 point hitch wrapper, makes individual bales that way, uses more wrap but provides flexibility. Makes great feed. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 09:19:03 AM
'fraid Its gonna be a while on that trip doug. I will be sure to stop and harrass you though.
It's long overdue.  If you stay down there any longer your gonna lose your Yankee accent.
luckily im from the part of the state that doesnt have one.  the not boston side.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 09:27:56 AM
Why do I keep hearing "Copperhead Road" playing in the background now while reading Mike's posts?  :D
its funny that ive never met anyone in the south making moonshine.  meth absolutely, seems like 1 in 3, but not shine.  my brother up north had all kinds of stills for a while.  and i coulda made a mess of them by now but its just not my jam.  i study the word every day.  


i did have a novel thought today.. why dont i just go find the itty bitty hipster micro brews and find out exactly what fancy grains they want. they can put all that local, non gmo, all natch, pesticide free organic vegan unfertilized blah blah labelling on to make it extra exclusive.  so far i can grow wheat and rye like red maple sprouts. then i could get the spent grains back for feed after theyve already paid me once. feed it to meaty things and it pays me again.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 09:37:26 AM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211627.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631273948)


yesterday i used some really high tech stuff - a busted kiddie pool, a yellow plastic stick with bubbles in it, a scrapped server enclosure vent door, plastic barrel and slave labor - to sort the fines from the unfines.  ran the unfines through the chipper again but it just cant reduce this stuff any more unless it dries out, which i guess will have to just be fine with me.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211643.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631273691)


im on the fence about a test batch of fermenting/pickling the coarse shreds to see if pigs, deer or cows like it in winter.. or just turning it back into the compost pile.  yes, the dirt would be happy with it but i would glean no new information from that.  


theres the first mash experiment.  charts are showing that if i did it right, itll be at its best around mid february which is perfect. in terms are predigesting starches and fibers, and staying at a low and stable PH to prevent bad juju.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0910210639.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631274089)



my thought here is that i bet i can get some free little meaty things in winter when the feed bill and heating bill is hurting someone who has to make some tough choices.  so maybe having fence and food for free little meaty things in winter is a good way to get started growing meaty things.  i will bet livestock prices go in my favor every single winter.  what are yalls thoughts on that?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 10:12:16 AM
so the woodchippered corn cobs went to a different bucket.  the one that should plump up some cornish crosses for the freezer.

grabbed the mini sickle, took a few laps around the various corners of my overgrown yard and rounded up the split tomatoes, a fistfull of dock, arm full of yellow sweet clover with a bit of red clover, some giant ragweed, a good clump of ryegrass and a bundle of really fresh, lush crabgrass tops.  

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211245-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631282408)

tossed that all on the ground, and hit it with my push bagger mower.  next time i will dump it out and do it again.  this was matched with about an equal amount of corn stover fines on the green side.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211246.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631282770)


then combined with the yellow side that really keeps birds hammering it looking for yellow flecks ..


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211421.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631282356)


and finally...

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0909211454.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631282329)



made 1 full pail and dumped all the same inoculant junk in there to try to get it firing with lactic and acetic acid.  plus the vinegar to give it a jumpstart in PH decline and hopefully keep the juju away.  all rainwater by the way.  chlorinated water will kill the lacto whatever strains im trying to promote.


i already know they love it.  the question is, will they be healthy and will they reach market weight in the normal time frame. and will they taste good.  ive got a little under $100 into this whole experiment including the birds and all their accessories and supplements.  a lot cheaper than sending boy to a 4 year AG program.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 12:00:19 PM
this guy is a dandy. 

Walt Davis Ranch :: Romancing the Clover Gods (http://www.waltdavisranch.com/articles/romancing-clover-gods)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Tacotodd on September 10, 2021, 12:08:09 PM
Mike, your boy sure is turning out to be a man right before our eyes! Good job on the training👍
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 10, 2021, 01:38:57 PM
All the forages will keep well if you get it dry and keep it dry.  The bottom of round bales is a problem, as they get wet from rain on the ground.  So I have taken to laying 2 poles about 2' apart to put a row of bales on.  Keeps the bottom dry.  And varmints have not been a problem so far.  
Alfalfa can tolerate more moisture than grass.  Don't have enough poles so have been putting rows of bales on top of terraces.  Figure water runs away both directions, but it is only slightly better than other places.  In grass hay, the bottoms smell musty if you store them on the ground. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 01:59:28 PM
I think we have a stretch of the punk phase before he starts acting like a man, but thank you Todd.  I am confident he will be able to feed his kids one way or another. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 10, 2021, 02:47:24 PM
'fraid Its gonna be a while on that trip doug. I will be sure to stop and harrass you though.
It's long overdue.  If you stay down there any longer your gonna lose your Yankee accent.
luckily im from the part of the state that doesnt have one.  the not boston side.
Don't bet on that. [everybody knows I'm from New York]
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 03:59:05 PM
if i had the brains to bet on it id have been a millionaire by now. Ive met thousands of people since bootcamp and "you dont have an accent" woulda been a winning lotto ticket.  as long as i dont say wicked, people usually cant guess where im from.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 10, 2021, 08:55:29 PM
Well Mike even though i am always right I have never met you in person so just maybe I'm a little off. One thing is for sure; the natives know your not from there. It sounds like you could be from California, you know, where the Peterbuilt's came from.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 10, 2021, 10:30:45 PM
 wrong again doug, peterbilts come from heaven.   ;D



When i stop by ill put on a bahston accent just to mess with you.  ;)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 11, 2021, 08:30:48 AM
Your pretty good Mike.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 11, 2021, 08:50:35 AM
So when are you gonna start peeing on your sawdust pile to sell organic compost to the sustainable citiots with balcony farms?

:)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 11, 2021, 01:51:12 PM
this guy is very under rated.  i suspect the current leadership that is making a lot of money teaching truly sustainable and regenerative everything, learned much of it from walt davis. 

Walt Davis Ranch :: Biological Capital (http://www.waltdavisranch.com/articles/biological-capital)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 11, 2021, 07:16:57 PM
So when are you gonna start peeing on your sawdust pile to sell organic compost to the sustainable citiots with balcony farms?

:)The first part is done on a daily basis.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 11, 2021, 08:41:27 PM
Any special needs chicks get Blue Kote sprayed on their legs so I can easily monitor them. It wears off on the feet quickly and on the feathers it can attract pecking because it's something different as you observed, so the legs work well. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 12, 2021, 10:06:58 AM
Mike, your boy sure is turning out to be a man right before our eyes! Good job on the training👍
Ditto on this post. The poor kid will get tired of having the old man around all the time but it is so much better than the other way. Some day he will realize how lucky he was.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 12, 2021, 10:55:37 AM
Some days thing occur that make me realize im the lucky one.  


All the best men i know had a mean old critical jerk in their life who probably loved them. So thats who i am for him.  Your biggest mean old crabby critical fan.  Now quit screwin off and get me the xyz. Hurry up!
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 14, 2021, 10:20:23 AM
The test patch had run its course through summer.  Summer emerged clover fizzles out, i will collect it and seed in cool season next time. I got a nice diverse variety of weeds in the area that rested after i crimped off an early spring food plot which went to maturity and seed by late april i guess give or take.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0912211436.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631627943)



Id collected all the best cool season seed varieties i could before crimping it down with the roller then left it alone


Yesterday i used the roller again to trample the summer weed crop and plant cool season mix. Also expanded into the blackberries and toward the fence.  The new seed has many many cool season grasses in it so i expect to see this go more toward the establishment of a grass sod.  

There is no doubt that the top layer of soil is darkening in color as OM and fertility increases. It is also a softer profile before you hit that ultra compacted sand and then solid sandstone a few inches under that.  The tractor above is parked on bare sandstone slab. This was dozed off years back to flatten the slope when i stumped, and it was devoid of life for a year or so.  The trees i removed where only in maybe 10 inches of clay ontop rock. Pretty useless land from a crop standpoint but i think were gonna see pretty high grass production once i get it there.



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0912211444.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631627946)



As you can see, the roller mimics the trampling of an extremely high stocking density.  What it lacks in manure and urine deposits is offset by not having to feed a herd the other 364.9 days of the year i guess. Not a bad way to start paddocks.  


I have a very diverse collection of warm season seed that has already finished, and real soon i will be collecting the stuff im waiting on now.. Crabgrass, big bluestem, johnsongrass, goosegrass, bahia, more barnyard grass as it comes in plus a few others i cant ID yet.  


Eager to see what the test patch swards look like as i go.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 14, 2021, 12:50:22 PM
As I try to get rid of weeds, Mike grows them...                 Does that babota have one eye out?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 14, 2021, 02:49:26 PM
Yeah, one eye missing and the other dont see worth a dang anyhow. Best to be home by dark when you get as old as this thing i guess 

;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 16, 2021, 02:53:19 PM
this is a spot that was crimper trampled a few months ago then left alone.  it has never grown like that before.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0915211422.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1631817722)


note that it is a mix of mostly wild clover and warm season grasses thatve not seeded out yet, when all the other warm season stuff in the yard has already dropped seed and gotten rank or is hardening them off right now. (which i collect every few days.)

  so crimping this spot mid summer extended the lush vegetative stage.  it would otherwise be a mature pile of seed heads by now, which is very low in nutrition.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 17, 2021, 12:36:44 PM
Difference things grow latter in the summer . Behind the sawmill, that is mainly compacted sawdust, weeds come up in spring and early summer [if anything] and then grasses like now. You have to take this into consideration.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 17, 2021, 07:12:30 PM
ive gotten fairly fluent lately in cool season and warm season grasses. well.. there are hundreds, i can probably eyeball ID the most common 40 or so in my region at this point.

either way, ive owned that spot since 2012 and it never grew like that any time of year until it was trampled.  and theres a new grass blend coming up in it now that hasnt seeded yet, which makes it a very late blooming warm season grass compared to the others ive got.  that stuff isnt even in the boot yet  

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on September 17, 2021, 08:15:02 PM
ive gotten fairly fluent lately in cool season and warm season grasses. well.. there are hundreds, i can probably eyeball ID the most common 40 or so in my region at this point.

either way, ive owned that spot since 2012 and it never grew like that any time of year until it was trampled.  and theres a new grass blend coming up in it now that hasnt seeded yet, which makes it a very late blooming warm season grass compared to the others ive got.  that stuff isnt even in the boot yet  
Well, good for you. You know I do respect knowledge and hard work. It is rare today to meet somebody who can recognize anything that grows and I'm ignorant in that respect myself except maybe trees. I would say it's foxtail that grows in the [dirty]sawdust this time of year.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 17, 2021, 10:10:34 PM
well, thank you doug. i guess troubles will learn ya a thing or two. 

 some health stuff is forcing the misses and i to go down yet another unplanned path, which requires that i be very knowledgeable about many characteristics of many plants and grasses and be able to establish, manage and time them all quite well.  on the bright side, its never been easier to teach yourself anything before in the history of mankind so ive got it pretty easy in that regard.  

foxtail type grasses have a single stalk seedhead sorta like a miniature marsh reed.  the one flavor i have here is among my latest bloomers.  it flowered already but hasnt hardened off seed yet.  i have collected hundreds and hundreds of seed heads this year from anywhere i could find them.    
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 22, 2021, 09:18:33 AM
A rainy cool spell has the foxtails starting to drop seed here.

Ive been reading and watching a whole bunch of information from dr elaine ingham lately. The soil food web lady.  Her and her husband are both super nerd soil biologists credited with figuring out how the microorganisms in plant root systems actually work to stay in balance and convert the nutrients available adundantly in all dirts- even the crappiest ones- ... into plant soluble forms.   

The cliffnotes are that compost is the answer to all plant growth, disease, fungal and pest problems that the manufacturer's cures have created.  Herds coming off the land and chemicals going on is the true environmental crisis of the last century, and the mass decline in health is surely correlated to the mass decline in correct mineral and nutrient content in our foods, leading us to have inexplicable cravings just like a ruminant.  

The plants arent getting the right blend of native resources anymore because weve depleted them.  Theyre full of synthetics we spread and spray now, and thus, so are we. 


Im not a scientist, but i know the lady is right.  All my gardening failures were cured -after the expensive canned cures all failed- by hot composting before i had any idea why it worked.   So its nice to start seeing whats going on in detail.  

Stop buying product and start learning the C:N ratios and turning interval to make rapid hot compost.  apply wherever you want vigorous growth without pest, disease or drought issues. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 26, 2021, 09:58:13 AM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/FBEF5451-9DDE-4476-B1FA-4B788C94FD4E.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1632664572)
 The neighbors barn of tobacco. Always enjoy the smell when itís curing.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 26, 2021, 02:43:17 PM
i havent seen one of those in a spell.  i almost fell off/through one in enfield shoveling the rotted roof with a guy i knew during a rain onto a big snow accumulation. it fell down on top one of my belongings later on anyway. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 27, 2021, 03:43:06 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/C38BE4E3-8997-4E0A-B620-87AA3B85C5EF.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1632771558)
 Disking down the summer cover crop,put the fall mix in soon 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 27, 2021, 04:46:21 PM
 smiley_sun
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 28, 2021, 09:24:41 AM
Whats the cover crop?  Looks like maybe johnson, sudan or maybe some species of panicum grass.. ? 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 28, 2021, 02:09:39 PM
That was a Sudangrass buckwheat mix about a 60/40 mix heavier on the Sudan put in at about 120#/acre
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 28, 2021, 09:57:06 PM

Guess I am qualified as an expert on this thread now, drove a silage truck today, and hauled 26 huge loads of ensilage from the cutter to the trench silo.  Man am I beat.  Rough roads, rough fields.  Think the guy just disced his ground and planted it. Hard on me and the truck.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 28, 2021, 10:05:48 PM
That many loads you must be hauling away from a self propelled chopper? How many trucks hauling?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 28, 2021, 11:26:21 PM
How did the Buckwheat do with the competition?  Did it flower? How many days was it growing?  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 29, 2021, 08:27:41 AM
The buckwheat did well, actually went to seed. That stand was about 55 days. It seemed like the Sudan grass might have pushed it to flower earlier than Iíve seen before.
 Added the buckwheat in hopes of it being easier to disk up and create a seedbed with one pass. I feel it worked out as planned. Trying out different ďcocktails ď so to speak. So far very pleased with the results. Waiting to figure out what the downsides are to all this cover cropping, at this point itís working very well.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on September 29, 2021, 09:25:25 AM
My neighbors have a huge JD cutter, forget the number on it, but it takes 12 rows, has gps so he can divide the field so the swaths come out even, and we used 3 trucks, although they have 6 if needed.  The idea is to keep the cutter running, and how far we have to drive is what determines how many trucks and drivers.  Last time I drove we used 5 trucks and round trip was 11 miles. They use army trucks that are stretched with huge boxes, silage looks like it is 8' deep in the box, and at least 20' long. Turning radius is not real sharp.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 29, 2021, 10:25:06 AM
Waiting to figure out what the downsides are to all this cover cropping, at this point itís working very well.


Better crop production, reduced weed pressure, increased soil organic matter content.  Oh wait - you're not the chemical and fertilizer salesman - sorry about that, never mind. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 29, 2021, 10:53:17 AM
So from what i have gathered from a sea of information sifting, is that the next improvement comes from being able to cover all of that dirt with cover crop grass rather than tilling it in.  This is where switching from a disk to a crimper comes in because the disc is exposing bare soil for the sun to bake dry and kill the wonderful microbial life that was in it, and because the soil disturbance interrupts the micorhizae that was in it and is the system by which plants with limited roots get nutrients from farther away than they could reach.  Its that white hairy fungal network that is under the duff of every product forest and throughout the humus layers of rotten logs. It is priceless and to be preserved, thats the heart of no-til.  Dont disturb the microbes.

With crimping or even better, mob grazed trampling, the shade above the soil creates a thatched hut for the soil microbiology to multiply and then make the actual improvements to the soil.  It is the microbes digesting the plant matter and mineral that make the nutrient available in plant soluble form without adding purchased and short term synthetic fertility.  If youre gonna buy fertility, BUY MANURE!  Or work out a deal with a mob grazer to put livestock on that gorgeous cover crop for a day or two.   The tractor and crimper stimulate a cattle mob but thats only half.  Manure is the 2nd part.  If you crimped and spread doo doo youd have the full circle.  But maybe you can get paid a few bucks for a grass fed finisher to eat that ripe crop instead and save yourself the labor and fuel. 

You will see gains from the cover cropping from increased organic matter into the soil.. but it is limited to the aerobic layer, the upper soft and oxygenated portion. the anaerobic region grows pathogenic rather than probiotic bacteria.  If the greens are entirely ontop they are all aerobic so probiotic bacteria, fungus, microbes, nematodes etc will be breaking down the green roof into plant soluble stuff.  Probiotic is anything that makes a plant required substance available.  The more shade on that dirt, the less the sun will leach the moisture and nuke the microbial activity.  


If you can leave the top layer thatched over the dirt and device a way to seed into the cover crop thatch, boom, youre there.

Youll get weed suppression, water retention, probiotic living organism habitat that creates pest and disease resistance, high fertility, high soil structure, balanced PH, lowered salinity, water permeability, deep oxygenation, no more runoff or erosion... Im sure theres more.  


My understanding is that pathogenic microbes and fungi are unable to digest healthy plant matter.  The plant must be sick from a mineral deficiency first.  If the plant is sick, there is food for pathogen and pest.  If not, there is none.  The bandaid is to purchase synthetic mineralization.  The cure is to provide conditions where aerobic microbes vastly outnumber anaerobic ones so that complete and natural mineralization happens all by itself.  

When bison roamed the plains we didnt have these issues in our plants animals or people.  Nature did not invent an animal that needed deworming and antibiotics, man created these all by himself.

Ken hamilton makes a claim that glyphosate creates the perfect conditions for clostridium botulinum (which is everywhere and is lethal in microscopic doses) to colonize soil, and that the rate of autism and cancers has gained with the rate of glyphosate cropping.  

Health issues in the family that the PHDs cant figure out has me digging really deep to put good food on the table.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 29, 2021, 11:02:37 AM
Like anything I find a balance between tillage of a cover crop and crimping of one work depending on the needs, conditions, and time of year.

In the spring I don't want to do any tillage here as the warm season weeds are my biggest challenge and organic matter consumption increases with increased soil temperature.  On the other hand I have 40 acres of ground to disc as soon as I move my big tractor there. That will get a cover crop of wheat, rye, and barley, then be crushed and planted into alfalfa in the spring. 

Around here fall tillage can help with water infiltration over the winter, as long as it doesn't create an erosion issue. 

Everyone went full hog on no till, and yes it has a lot of benefits. However in some cases I see ground that is as hard as concrete now as equipment has gotten heavier over the years. Water runs right off of that ground. All about balance and keeping the goal, not the procedure in focus. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on September 29, 2021, 11:07:38 AM
Sure, i do think adjusting the tool you use on the fly based on what the land is telling you is critical.  You arent gonna make a parking lot into a crop field very quickly without pithing off some mushrooms!  

Otoh continually tilling just because thats how great grandad did it.  Well.. Great grand dads generation helped us define dustbowl too so .. Maybe ask the soil what it wants!   ;D

I dont have the experience, my job here is just to read vast amounts of info and put up cliff notes for everyone, then report on my little trials.  What works i will scale up, what doesnt i will retire. Fix in a can hasnt worked yet.  Hot compost has so far.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on September 29, 2021, 11:36:23 AM
@Southside (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=24297) curious if you do or can do any fall/late season deep ripping to break up the hard pan? Rocky soil doesn't work so well.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on September 29, 2021, 12:11:38 PM
Absolutely, about every 5 years. Have  5 shank Tebben with a chisel foot that will absolutely shatter the compaction. Downside is it makes 300 horses groan in our heavy clay. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: beenthere on September 29, 2021, 02:45:53 PM
My neighbors have a huge JD cutter, forget the number on it, but it takes 12 rows, has gps so he can divide the field so the swaths come out even, and we used 3 trucks, although they have 6 if needed.  The idea is to keep the cutter running, and how far we have to drive is what determines how many trucks and drivers.  Last time I drove we used 5 trucks and round trip was 11 miles. They use army trucks that are stretched with huge boxes, silage looks like it is 8' deep in the box, and at least 20' long. Turning radius is not real sharp.
ffk
Watch a farmer in NY who is chopping corn now and see the 12 row chopping head at minute 10 and a drone shot of opening up the field at minute 14. The two white trucks driven by his 18 and 20 yr old daughters followed by a 10 yr old son driving a dump wagon. Video shows some repair work needed to the chopper head before starting back up after the breakdown. Interesting farm operation with some 3000 milk cow dairy operation. Older son is driving the semi trailer being loaded with chopped corn. Good over-all view of corn chopping and bunk filling. Can see why you would be tired helping out. 
I Devalued the chopper head - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IKGXqq_crE)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on October 02, 2021, 08:18:11 PM
Very similar operation.  Same head, could not see the number on the chopper.  We were driving repurposed army trucks.  Think the ones we drive have higher sides, they have extensions made of screen, and they take those off to haul grain. Find it fun to drive occasionally, can't take it every day.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: beenthere on October 03, 2021, 01:23:04 AM
It is an 8700 chopper from this other video posted earlier.. about knives and corn kernel processor. 

Corn Crackers and Wet Lines - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meCjyqNz93w)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on October 03, 2021, 10:35:55 AM
The neighbors install a kernel processor if folks want to pay for it, they complain about how much fuel it takes to run the thing.  The chopper takes about 300 gallons of fuel per day, it takes more when running the processor.  They have a trailer they use to fuel up when on jobs that take more than a day, amazing how much fuel it takes to chop a field, haul and pack it.Most jobs take less than a day, the last day I drove, we did 2 jobs. Folks around the neighborhood get to depending on these guys to put up their feed. I have hay equipment, so just bale all my feed.  Silage is expensive, and takes more equipment to feed it, along with fence line feed bunks.  You need a wagon or truck with a box that you can stir up silage with ground hay and grain.  They say it is more efficient use of your feed, but a lot more costly than just dumping a bale in a feeder, or unrolling your bales on grass.  I find that unrolling alfalfa on winter pasture works great for me, as the boss cows can't keep all the other cows out of the best feed. Even calves get a share of the alfalfa, and lots of times they eat the grass under the alfalfa as well, trying to get every leaf. They also leave cow pies out in the pasture, which helps replenish the soil in the pasture.  I like to harrow the grass that I fed on in the spring, which breaks up the cow pies, and moves any residue left from feeding, and seems to improve the grass.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 03, 2021, 10:58:39 AM
Those kernel processors do take extra power to run for sure especially if the corn is on the green side. The two row pull behind I ran had one. used to use a zip tie for setting the distance between the rolls. Nothing compared to the one you hauled from but always amazed me the volume of feed going through that space that fast. Be curious what the tolerance between the rolls on the KP in that big boy is.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 03, 2021, 09:09:42 PM
Unrolling is a very good practice.  It spreads your compaction, spreads precious manure and urine, all cows get fed and you get free seed.  


If your land has pitch, unroll at the top of the slope so rain can dispurse nutrient and seed even further. It cant go uphill if you unroll it in the bottoms. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 03, 2021, 09:31:49 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1423.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1633311091)
 Spent today here. Got it baled into 4x5's before the rain starts tomorrow. Almost done for the year, 40 or so acres to go, still have 120 ish to plant. 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1424.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1633311037)
 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on October 03, 2021, 09:35:49 PM
Big squares right?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 03, 2021, 09:42:02 PM
No, upgraded to this. 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1408.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1633311570)
 

After this happened a couple weeks ago. 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1382.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1633311645)
 

Been a challenging late summer/fall. On a good note that NH practically runs itself. Have a preservative kit coming for it too. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 03, 2021, 09:54:01 PM
Thatís big field to lay down, must be comfortable with the new baler.
Or youíre trying to stay ahead of the proverbial ball that wants to roll over you :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 03, 2021, 10:10:47 PM
I think the ball is trying to back over me now.   :D  In a good windrow that new baler will pump out a bale every minute without hesitating at all, and that's without the roller wind guard doing much, so she still has more in her.  Laid it down with my Kuhn FC4000, 13' at a time.  Folks look at me funny when they see the 8640 in a hay field, then they try to keep up with her mowing at 15 acres an hour.  8)

I run a 12 wheel rake that has a kicker in the middle, so technically 13 wheels, the New Holland and that rake are getting married this winter, was thinking of mounting the rake ahead of the tractor but I think I will train the baler behind the rake instead.  Either way, one less pass around the field and be done in probably 60% of the time it takes now.  

Which probably means I will chase more ground, so no real time savings at the end of the day.... ::).  Dang cows are addicting.  

Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys....
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 03, 2021, 10:22:07 PM
True farmer, always thinking how they can get it done faster only to add more work when they figure it out  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Nebraska on October 04, 2021, 07:40:36 AM
Silage option, nice...that will be handy once the preservative kit comes in.  I wish my JD449 was a 459 with netwrap and a silage kit too.  Couldn't pass on the deal for the smaller one.. Mine wouldn't eat that big of a windrow..  You shouldn't  need a bigger tractor to get stuff done. ;)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 04, 2021, 08:15:04 AM
Never had a net wrap baler before this one.  Will never go back to twine now.  Learned pretty quickly that loading 12,000 ft of net into a New Holland ain't for sissies, the rear storage JD system is definitely easier, and a buddy watching me make the first few bales laughed his butt off when I made the second bale as I had the monitor in the wrong mode.  Probably put 20 layers of net onto that bale while I sat there smashing buttons trying to make it stop.  Finally shut off the PTO and got the book back out.    

The dealer told me not to feather the clutch after making a bale and taking off at the start of a new one, just go.  I gave him the - don't think so look - gives me his cell phone number and says to call if I plug it, he will come dig it out.  Slowly I got brave enough to do just that, and sure enough, she just eats.  So now it's one beep at 52" of bale diameter to let you know to get ready, then the one at 59" to stop and let it wrap, 5 seconds later dump it and go again.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: welderskelter on October 04, 2021, 08:32:01 AM
I just finished hauling silage for a 10500 cow dairy. We put 3000 acres in one pile. The chopper was a 9900 John Deere taking 16 rows at a whack. Traveling about 6 miles an hour. We ran 24 hours aday till done. Big pile
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 04, 2021, 09:48:28 AM
Awesome jim.  Does the new baler have a spray tank?

Does the dairy run a manure lagoon or spray it out?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: welderskelter on October 04, 2021, 03:08:34 PM
There are three lagoons I can see but I think there is more. The barn is 1500 feet long by 600 ft. wide. They are just building it. The cows are coming from Arizona in July. Next year they have contracted 6000 acres of corn silage from my boss.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 04, 2021, 04:02:01 PM
wow.  where on earth does one get the startup funding for that bet? 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: welderskelter on October 04, 2021, 04:26:31 PM
They already own 23 dairies in Mn. Arizona, California. All big but Mahnomen Minn. is the biggest I think.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 04, 2021, 09:36:33 PM
Mike - I ordered a preservative tank for it, won't do me any good until spring but it will give me an opportunity to make dry hay when it's too dry for baleage, but not enough good weather left to get it fully dry.  That's our issue here with alfalfa and heavy clover crops.  Many times when they are prime to cut there isn't enough dry weather to get it made right so the only option is baleage, which is fine for my own use, but pretty well no outside sales opportunity.  

That dairy company is in a different universe.  Welcome to the commodity world, Walmart milk, Amazon / Whole Foods, Piggly Wiggly, etc.  Crushes the cooperatives and family farm.  

Funny about the lagoons, my manure management is a shovel and a wheelbarrow, and honestly I don't know when the last time was I needed it.  That's the beauty of having cows on grass all the time, they go for a walk to get milked, even if it's only 100 yards that time they completely poop out before they get there.  Not to mention the lack of necessary bedding, hoof trimming, tail docking, etc.  They can keep that mega food factory.  I can call them and they will come, don't need a crowd gate to push them in.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 04, 2021, 11:11:57 PM
You may wanna have a look at what these guys are doing with bacterial innoculants for sopping wet baleage.  Maybe incorporate a tank and some spray jets into your hay train project.  

Salvage Through Fermentation (https://www.biomineralstechnologies.com/livestock/fermentation/salvage-through-fermentation)


I dont know what their magic sauce is precisely but i know it didnt take me long to make my own from household goods and rainwater.  Ken is on youtube also. Youd like his stance on glyphosate.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 08, 2021, 01:41:35 PM
Does anyone know of a test kit that can be used to test soil for checking N-P-K levels also potentially the ph? I know sending out soil samples is an option. Looking for something that maybe I can do and then compare the results.
The sales pitch from the fertilizer company to use more and more is getting old and expensive.
If itís necessary I get it but my gut tells me itís not.
The best results Iíve had improving ground and subsequently the crops and weed pressure is directly opposite of what Iím being told to do. The salesman and a few professionals weíve had visit to try and advise us get real squirmy when I start asking the hard questions. Very much leads me to believe Iím on to something.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: beenthere on October 08, 2021, 02:25:48 PM
 soil test kit (https://www.amazon.com/MySoil-Soil-Provides-Complete-Nutrient-Recommendations/dp/B084TSNR79/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=3BO4NEMDDA6J2&dchild=1&keywords=soil+test+kit+nitrogen%2C+phosphorous+and+potash&qid=1633717588&sprefix=Soil+test+kit%2Caps%2C253&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&smid=A19D3S4DYYZLKK&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyTkNaVDRGOUlTMU0mZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAyNzc2NTgyUkZLV0U0U09RRTYxJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1NzQ1Mjk0Mkw3N1NUVFU1UEwmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 08, 2021, 02:28:23 PM
Im not a salesman or a biologist but i went from ground that was rock hard, id literally use a milwaukee drill if i had to dig by hand.  Was good for making glass and pottery.  It has turned to 3 inches minimum of fluffy black soil in 2 years, and thats where i filled my pond in with concrete demo, rebar and woodchips!   It is downstream from my compost pile and the structure and growth is unlike any other spot on the property because of the biology thats always getting washed in.  This pig is fluffing up huge sod clumps like nothing in it but it was hard as a rock before. 


You gotta be composting, it is entirely about aerobic microbial activity.  I dont think a soil test will do anything but keep you a slave to conventional. 


If you wanna run a test of your own, pick your worst spot and stake it off, take pictures of a core sample etc. Then start putting all the leaves, sawdust, grass, food scraps and manure on it that you possibly can.  I would spray with manure and/or pile on some punky spongey hardwood to innoculate.  This is gonna sound stupid but expired yogurt and dairy products have an abundance of the right bacteria to get your soil biology firing back up.  Youll know you got it when that spot has grass to your knees and the rest is ankle high. 


I did a soil test once and it may as well have said drink more ovaltine. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 08, 2021, 02:57:08 PM
@beenthere (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=180) Thank you Iíll look into that one 
Mike I agree with you on many points on this and have seen the same results with processes Iím doing just in a slightly different manner. I took a piece of essentially dead worthless soil and within a season and a half itís producing some of the best product employees that have been here almost 20 years have ever seen.
Where the shoe starts to pinch is when you look at the scale I need to do it on. Iím dealing with over 80 acres of ground specifically for vegetable production. 3 years ago there was 2 full time people in the field on tractors most everyday through the season and one working nights and weekends wrenching on the stuff they stoved up. Now except for the transplanting and some of the spraying itís just me.
 The whole time I need to keep in mind thereís multiple peoples paychecks involved with decisions the boss and I make. Something I take very seriously and quite honestly stresses me out sometimes.
The reason Iím looking for the independent test is dead opposite of trying to keep me a slave to conventional processes. I want to know exactly what Iím dealing with and looking at. All plants require those things to grow and produce. 

Iíve been doing some major experiments with cover crops to boost nitrogen levels for one ,being able to track those results would help reduce the amount of inputs  coming in on trucks at ever rising rates.
I aim to grow the best sweet corn around on very few if any inputs as far as fertilizer. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 08, 2021, 04:23:35 PM
Well there is definitely a strong dispute out there.. One side says just buy more NPK.  

The other side says (if im remembering this right) ammonium nitrate isnt plant soluble until xyz microbes convert it, and that soil biology is killed off by the dessicant nature of synthetic fertilizers.  I really dont know how it works.  

I think to make a large scale change at once will require radical alterations, and it might be easier choosing the worst performing segments of the land at a time to take out of rotation and heavily ammend then leave fallow for a period. 


You might wanna call ken hamilton at bio mineral technologies and get a price per acre for his remedial bacteria elixir and see how it compares to npk.. Maybe its cost competitive enough to give it a try. NPK keeps rising.  If the organic voodoo is real theres money to be made switching sooner than later 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 08, 2021, 04:47:57 PM
Thatís what weíve done with some of the worst pieces is tried cover crop and other organic practices the results have been nothing but success. I absolutely donít want to simply buy more NPK, everything Iíve seen so far tells me thatís the wrong move.
I know next to nothing about soil biology, however itís my understanding higher organic matter percentages help bind nutrients in the soil so plants can use them easier and faster. Iíve seen the results in increasing OM content already and wil continue working on improving them , my next goal is increasing nitrogen levels naturally via cover crops,what compost I can produce and manure that can be scrounged. That much less needing to be bought in.
The very premise of what commercial farming and what weíre trying to do here is unnatural in my opinion....trying to produce a mono crop. They simply donít exist in nature on their own. Just my opinion but I feel the closer we work with nature versus against it the better off this place will be. Massive slugs of NPK applied once or twice a year arenít natural.
By no means was my earlier post meant to be belittling of what youíre accomplishing, quite the contrary. Itís simply hard to be as intensive as you have been around here, thereís simply not time.
Keep up the good work 👍
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 08, 2021, 05:22:10 PM
See if you can find Jessica Smith or Daniel Kline. My old emails from them come from Grow Food Nation. They are into produce production and think along our lines. I attended a seminar they put on a few years ago and quite a few years back one of their associates helped me in Maine with micro nutrients, soil health, etc, so they are around. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 08, 2021, 05:53:00 PM
Could you get some ruminants to run on the ground from late fall until spring? That Sorghum crop followed by a winter rye and some hay would do well and recycle nutrients.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 08, 2021, 08:04:06 PM
Iíll try to find those folks. 
The ruminant idea is the ideal situation specifically the bovine variety in my opinion. With proper planning and planting of things feeding 10-12 animals on crops Iím currently bushhogging with minimal supplemental feeding is not out of the question.
Iím not quite ready to cross that bridge with the boss yet, might just get her ponytail sticking out straight  ;D.
If it were my property and made the final decision theyíd already be here ;)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 08, 2021, 09:52:55 PM
If they aren't feeding a calf or going into the parlor each day a couple hours on the green forage and then the rest from some good hay would do just fine, that would become additional manure and nutrients for the soil and stretch out your winter cover crop feeding.  Basically creep feed them across the field as you go advancing a hot wire each day.  The good thing is you could pick up weanlings cheap in the fall and sell them higher in the spring.  

I would stay away from steers though, they are the hardest class to make gain on.  Heifers would be a great fit.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 08, 2021, 10:50:41 PM

(...)By no means was my earlier post meant to be belittling of what youíre accomplishing (...)
No worries brotato what im doing is smaller than little!   Just a homeschool sorta thing really. 
I know a guy with a decent amount of cows in ludlow that may be interested in grazing it if you get a fence.  
Once upon a time argentina was known for the worlds best grass fed steak.  I guess they ran crops a few years then cattle a few years and rotated like that.
had excellent pasture.   The story goes that America being their biggest customer and always wanting more of a good thing, we convinced them to feed grain and ruined a good thing.  No idea if its true, argentina is a bit far for me to fact check. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 08, 2021, 10:59:04 PM
This is something that really needs to be considered. Never really considered grazing them through the winter months. Have thought a fair amount about feeding a bunch through the winter, moving the feeder around the field as a manure spreader so to speak.
What do you feel would be the ideal mix of forage to plant would be?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 08, 2021, 11:06:21 PM
Kale, forage radish, rutabega, turnips..  Theyll all put out high protein greens then leave a root bulb to dig up for winter. I think chicory might too.  Thats a lot of trampling and soil disturbance you dont have to pay for. 

Winter wheat and crimson clover did good for me thru winter also.   

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 08, 2021, 11:29:06 PM
I would mix spring oats, Abruzzi Rye, Australian Winter Peas, forage raddish, together, plant it in late August, by November it's well established and ready to graze. You already know what Sorghum and Buckwheat will do and that would get you through until November. 

Grass hay fed on a hay wagon moving across the fields daily will spread manure and reduce waste and pugging. Strip graze a new green section each day or two, enough for 3 to 4 hours, and hay for the balance. A 500 lb weanling needs about 17 lbs of dry matter intake per day, so a 700 lb round bale will feed 40 head a day by itself. Double that when strip grazing the forage. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 09, 2021, 05:08:04 AM
This definitely has my wheels turning.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on October 09, 2021, 08:14:51 PM
We had a fire a couple days ago too, baler had a bearing go out and started a small fire, which soon became a big fire.  Luckily we are only a little more than a mile from the fire department, and they came out and stopped it from getting to the neighbor's property. Also lucky the baler had just been cleaned out, and did not have a lot of hay buildup inside.  And we had a fire extinguisher. Still lost a good 20 acres of bales and windrows.  My insurance agent said she would check to see if I have fire coverage on my policy.  It did not cover theft of my stuff. We tore the baler apart that evening and got it put back together yesterday by 4:30, and went to do a little more baling.  Finished up this morning. I was driving the tractor with the rake, and tried to rake the fire out when it was small, but did not succeed.  When the fire truck first got there and sprayed the fire, he moved down the line and the fire jumped right back up.  Didn't get it under control till they had 3 trucks spraying it down, and a few guys with rakes putting the windrows out.  We had to stay and make 2 bales burn up before we dared leave.  5x6 round bales.
'
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 09, 2021, 08:49:37 PM
 :-\man that sucks, sorry to hear.  Glad no one injured though
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 09, 2021, 09:03:32 PM
They sure take off fast.  Glad to hear you got the baler back up and running.  Frame members on mine were bowed from the heat, no fixing that.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on October 09, 2021, 09:51:13 PM
Thinking about buying some boxes of donuts and taking them to the next meeting the fire department has.  Could have been a LOT worse.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 09, 2021, 11:21:18 PM
Turned the garden today to plant fall greens soon.  Pretty good idea of what i started with vs where ive gotten to.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1009211519-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1633835718)



The soft black stuff goes down maybe 10 inches now. That seems to be the promise of aerobic microbial activity. The sandy yellow clay is rock hard when it isnt saturated. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on October 10, 2021, 09:12:23 AM
We sure don't have that dirt here. Very little sand, too much clay often with large stone or mixed with gravel. North of here you start to see some sand and pine. What kind of trees like your soil? Seems like you have all hardwoods. Some parts of Tenn. where noted for e.r.c. growth. Here that would be lime stone ridges mostly. To improve worn out soil I can only vision manure and plowing under. No education. It's hard when you know everything :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Roxie on October 10, 2021, 09:22:25 AM
Weíve got your limestone base and ERC up here in such quantity, that less than a mile from me is a section called the Barrens where nothing but ERC grows. It also produces the most beautiful green boulders.

Donít quote me on this because Iím no expert but I have read that this type of limestone shelf was previously ocean front property.

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 10, 2021, 09:51:53 AM
Im no geologist but ive hauled and stacked enough sandstone to be curious and would guess youre correct roxie.  Theres a lot of sandstone quarries around montrose PA.  Lot of the banks along 81 have smooth stone sheet slopes.   Those sandstones always start flat like lakebeds when the grains of sand, quartz and silica that flow in downpours and mudslides fill in holes as they settle out where waters slow. Sorta like gold panning.   They harden into flat sheets and the sheet thickness tells the size of the storm event.   For those huge flat sheets to be intact and at a 45į pitch means one end somehow got many many feet higher than sea level because its impossible for the sand granules to stop on a slope like that in a downpour. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 10, 2021, 10:16:44 AM
Doug my immediate area is predominant hardwood, white and various red oaks, hickories, red maple, black gum, dogwood, sourwood, beech, yellow poplar, a touch of locust walnut cherry on some sites but mine doesnt support those.  Ive seen a swamp sycamore and maybe a few ash but very rare.  I could maybe grow virginia pine in the woods if i kept it in full sun (same with cherry) but i really cant grow erc.  One ERC sapling gets started and becomes a favorite buck rub as soon as its chest high.


Our entire plateau is a few thousand feet of sandstone.  The eastern half more sandstone, the western rim turns to limestone.  Our sand is called "pennsylvanian era" in geology talk.  The clay is orangey from iron i guess.  Lots of areas are so rocky they only grow a poor wild trash pine. If you have oaks youve got atleast a foot of clay based dirt and organic overburden sitting ontop the thousands of feet of solid rock.  From monterey to livingston on the western rim is good conditions for ERC and little else.  Lots of limestone surface boulder with cedar poking out.  Be hell to harvest it. 


We really dont have pebbly gravels except in the gulches and gorges where water beat stones round, and it is sold often.   Our driveway gravels come from rogers group or vulcan materials cutting off the sides of limestone mountains and crushing/screening.  Somehow one of the quarry operators got sandstone to pass the engineering test for a building gravel so now all the quarry tailings, trimmings and rubble is crushed and screened for driveways too but its not near as durable as limestone.. Ignorance makes the price the same now, sandstone was your cheap logging or farm road material prior to certification.  

With your type of soil i wouldnt bother turning it.  I would build new dirt on top of it.  Get all the woodchip, bark, grass, landscaper leaves, rotten hay, straw and free clay you can have delivered.  Thats the bug food.   Now toss on some punky spongey oak debris and  hose it down in manure. Theres your innoculant. Microbes and bacteria.  Keep them happy and they will make dirt out of that layer in a year. Never see the gravels again. You could do this on a basketball court.  

Every so often let it go completely fallow and grow any weeds shrubs or sapplings it wants.  They are bringing the missing ground minerals up to the surface.  Chip/grind that growth and turn it back in before winter.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on October 10, 2021, 09:11:57 PM
Well Mike I'm really glad you are interested in soil, ignored by thousands. I wasted a lot of compost from sawdust and bark. It's not that I don't know any better, it's that i can't do it all. We raised the kids on wild game and the garden. We used to trap and fish and of course I have sawed lumber and built with it for quite some time. I plowed the garden this spring after spreading manure and black dirt from the same. We had many large tomatoes, 1 was 2 lbs. 8 oz. and perfect inside. The corn did good also and is not done yet.  Good for you building up the soil on you land. It is what a man should be doing.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 10, 2021, 11:42:00 PM
Thanks doug, i appreciate it.  Ive never been able to grow a tomato beyond the size of a tennis ball and i think i figured out why today.  My plants were still producing golf ball cherry tomatoes but only good enough for chicken feed so i ripped them out to turn the knee high wild grass and weed cover crop in.  

The middle of all my mater stalks was brown and gooey from a bacterial wilt. I aim to beat it without chemicals, which will validate or invalidate a lot of what im reading -the sciency people are split on the matter.  We'll see which side i believe.

They say history repeats itself.  My kids should be alive to nearly the 2100s. Theres a plethora of chances for hard times between now and then so the idea here is lets learn to get by with what we got. Food is priceless in a famine.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 11, 2021, 08:55:37 PM
Thought of this thread when I was checking cows today.  Right now I have them in an area that a few years ago was nothing more than green briars, leaf litter, and ground soft enough that you better be careful because you were going to sink a boot several times walking across it.  It needs some work on the timber side, but time has not allowed that to happen yet.  Mostly stunted Maple, some Sycamore, and a few dead ash.  Hard to believe it looking at them but according to some historical aerial photos I have researched these trees are at least 60 years old.  It is low ground, with a creek that runs through it, approximately 1500 acres of drainage above it, so not a tremendous amount.  The top soil is measured in feet here, mostly because it belonged to someone else in the past and has migrated to my land over time. After one storm I found a few new sand beaches, some were 150' long, 30' wide, and 3' deep.  Not much opening in the canopy as you can see here.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1454~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634000196)


So a few years ago the ground was green briars and years of leaf litter, some green sprigs of forage here and there, but not much at all.  I have about 20 acres in this bottom and used it at first for shade for the cows when they were rotating through other fields.  They did stomp around, eat the poison ivy and briars, and little forage that was there, but mostly they just smashed the leaves into the soil and exposed the dirt to the sunlight.  I have never dropped a single seed in this area, not an ounce of lime or fertilizer.  This is what it looks like today.  

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1447.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634000474)


The hoof action allowed the existing seed bank to germinate what was there, the little bit of sun getting through the canopy was enough to allow the soil microbes to transition to a forage growing environment, and the resulting root masses firmed up the soil to the point where neither I nor the cows break through the surface.  Being low and wet it's sub irrigated as a result, has tons of humus in the soil to retain moisture and keep the ground from getting too hot in the middle of the summer.  

I am getting over 300 cows days per acre now, grazing every 45-60 days. The plan was to incorporate some Reed Canary Grass seed in this fall but the drought in the mid west means no seed. But for middle of October I am pretty happy with this free forage.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1451.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634000906)
 

They eat it like spaghetti.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1453.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634000986)
 

They also strip off the shrubs and other lower leaves that will keep coming back, so it's a win win.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1459.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634001079)
 

That is a perfect pie, so the nutrition is spot on.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34297/KIMG1461.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1634001142)
 

Best part is for tax purposes this is considered "un-usable ground". Guess because I can't loose money on it growing soybeans.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 12, 2021, 03:03:47 PM
I am convinced the creator designed this planet for roaming flocks and herds, and removing them is the start of "unsustainable"

 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Wudman on October 12, 2021, 05:03:43 PM
@southside I do believe that is Japanese Stiltgrass that your cows are munching on.  Glad that is a good forage.  You will have plenty of it in the lowground that has been opened up.  I had an auditor point it out to me during my last audit.  It looks very similar to smartweed and will get a little seed head that looks like crabgrass.  I've noticed it everywhere in my travels since it was pointed out.  

Wud
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 12, 2021, 05:12:30 PM
in late 2017 i strip mined this low spot for clay to build a useable pad up above on the slope i own.  i went down nearly to bedrock and built a small pond because this draw has seasonal water flow and isnt useful for much else. the pond continually leaked and i was about to dive into the mudhole every time i couldnt find a kid, so i filled it in with woodchips and concrete demo.  i mean a lot of demo.  just enough dirt to cover the concrete and rebar.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1010211618.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634065835)


4 years later it has plenty of young, healthy topsoil and lush vegetation with pretty good roots.  no matter how much of a torrent comes through here it doesnt rut up like other grassy spots would. id say it has recovered pretty well, and i now understand a lot more about the dynamics of lowland site index.  im no longer too concerned about the omg crisis of topsoil loss.  it is easily rebuilt, is my personal finding.

this is the same spot where the pond was, now the most level patch i own. i have crimped this twice i think, and its grown in thicker and lusher each time.  i have not mowed or prevented seedhead in any way.  the slope drops down as the yard comes to a point with the fence and the high ground to the right,  you can see 5ft high late warm season grass just past that tree, hiding the small sediment collection pond that is just to the second tree dead center in the pic.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211243.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634065733)


we had a doozy of a rain event a few weeks ago where i was able to prove that my drainage ditching and 2 sequential erosion control micro ponds are functioning correctly so as not to lose any dirt from anything but an extended hurricane.  this spot gets excellent mid to late day sun and behind me, "upstream" is where i compost the leaves since the water flow naturally washes them in.


well, i decided to turn it under and start improving it for the coming summer, see if i can get away from the fusarium on the other side of the yard or not. im thinking clover but not entirely decided yet.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211757a.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634066003)




ive had lots of 2wd garden tractors.  none can compare to a properly weighted king quad 300 with good rubber, not even close.  this has super low and 4 wheel complete lock, air cooling is its only real crutch, fans are on the way.  ive got about $1500 in the quad now and it can pull like a 4wd tractor or zip 30mph down the street with the shift of a lever.  only thing they dont have is a PTO.  

that said, you plow guys can see its not cutting right.  the plow share is too centered behind the machine. so say im travelling north. when i put the tires in the first furrow, im cutting a new independent furrow that is too far to the west. instead of just cutting a little more of the first furrows western bank and kicking it to the east and filling in right behind the passenger tire, i am instead starting a whole new separate furrow with a 6 to 10 inch strip of grass between the two.  the second furrows spoils are being flung up ontop the grass strip above the original grade height, not thrown into and filling in the first furrow like it should.

so under each of those peaks, is a foot wide strip of ground that hasnt been turned over. and i just cant get the blade to get under the hard ground, itll track into a soft furrow everytime unless i crosscut the whole thing again which i wont bother with. i will add compost and microbes and let them break up the compaction between each row through the winter.  i surfed on a a chisel plow while boy pulled me over the tops to knock them down but its a mess, that just grabbed soddy turf clumps and brought them to the edge.  i will compost those over the winter too, and spread it back on in spring when its soft and loose.




i need to make another mount with a lot more offset to get the furrow closer to the passenger tire track.  keep in mind this is sleeve hitch and its drifts around at the pivot, trailing side to side, its not a 3 point that stays locked behind the machine so if it encounters a root or hard patch its gonna scooch off track. gotta limit the expectations a bit.

the other issue was clogging. lots of clogging.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211625.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634066186)


i think its 1- a toy plow with a toy coulter that hardly cuts a sod line ahead of the share, 2- no way to adjust the coulter low enough and still have clearance, or enough weight for a deep coulter cut unless boy skis on the back of it, which he loves, and 3- the share and moldboard was all rusty which doesnt flow spoils well at all. dirt sticks then stops up the works. so i had boy wirebrushing for a while then i polished it up with a flapdisk and he oiled.  i also recut the edge on the share to a razor. that did cut a lot better


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211453.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634066244)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211647.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634066077)


no more stuck dirt all day.  i eventually just took the coulter off, it created more problems than it solved.

but still the offset is an issue.  i cut some off my drawbar brackets to allow offsetting toward the passenger side as far as i could and double pinning it to be rigid jointed to the drawbar.  better but its still not perfect. need to make another drawbar where that square tube sticks out to the sides like a universal tool bar.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211648.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634066087)



i do have a real coulter from something else i made way back and it will slip into the brinley frames so i will give that a try next year, and also fab a trash board for over the top of the mold board.  the quad can pull very fast compared to a tractor and really fling some stuff. a trash board will help ensure its turned under better i think.

 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1011211711.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1634065999)



i have a heavy cat 1 single bottom trip plow and some other attachments i traded to my brother that i may buy back if he wants to part with them. that is if turning over proves to be a wise choice.  the topsoil is less than 4 years old and was soft down to about 3 or 4 inches where i hit a black hardpan, i am crediting that softness to microbial action. im gonna work in a lot more organic matter and microbes and see what happens to that hardpan subsoil a year from now. im expecting it to break up and continually gain fertility.

granted i know this is all tiny scale, but a wise man once said invest your time before your money.  i think this is the sort of thing he meant.  figure out how stuff really works before you throw your 401k at it.  im convinced national sickness is absolutely related to our soil condition and food choices.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Southside on October 12, 2021, 05:58:59 PM
@Wudman (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=624) according to Google that is Japanese Silt Grass, however just for giggles I also tried the last image I posted above.  The screenshot won't post but it labeled the last photo as being a "Texas Pocket Gopher". 

Don't want to know what them Texas boys walk around with all day long.  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
Post by: Wudman on October 12, 2021, 06:34:32 PM
according to Google that is Japanese Silt Grass, however just for giggles I also tried the last image I posted above.  The screenshot won't post but it labeled the last photo as being a "Texas Pocket Gopher".

Don't want to know what them Texas boys walk around with all day long.  :D
They are just carrying a little fertilizer with them as they go! ;D ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 15, 2021, 12:52:33 PM
what kinda clover would you guys plant for an overwinter cover crop ?  i may still have chickens or end up with more pigs by then to feed it to, as a secondary consideration.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 15, 2021, 01:07:20 PM
I went with red clover, not saying itís right but itís in the ground and growing.
Curious on input as far as how big it needs to be before the fear of getting killed by frost is
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 15, 2021, 01:38:06 PM
Red should be a perinnial and won't winter kill. For a southern cover crop I would plant Crimson.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Roxie on October 15, 2021, 04:09:51 PM
Crimson and clover over and over 


Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 17, 2021, 12:14:28 PM
Biology and Benefits (https://www.biomineralstechnologies.com/farm-solutions/composting/biology-and-benefits)

these two videos are really good and summarize pretty well what im trying to get a handle on. the more i research (particularly with family health issues going on at home) the more i come to conclude that "science" is not all knowing, and is not in consensus.  there are many still unknowns, not understood's, conflicting results, and disputed's.  so i read both sides then try to dabble in and observe my own experiments and see what happens, figure out which side of any dispute to believe in based on those results.  if i cant verify it myself i am slow to believe in it anymore. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on October 18, 2021, 08:31:50 AM
@Southside (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=24297)  I have an abundance of Reed Canary grass you may have all you want. I cannot effectively graze it.  Not a favorite. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 18, 2021, 08:41:28 AM
What don't you like about it?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 18, 2021, 10:32:02 AM
 :P
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: SwampDonkey on October 19, 2021, 02:37:00 PM
Good composted manure, other broken down compost, composted peat and lime will sure help the ground. Keep the wood ashes out if your growing root crops or it will be the most scabby mess you've ever seen and the soil will get harder. The old garden here was run out from neglect, now got up to 8 lb squash and zucchini sized cukes, peppers and tomatoes by the barrel on a 25 x 25 ft plot along with three 4 x 8' framed beds. Shame all the waste, but 2 people can only eat so much and preserve so much and I don't run 'meals on wheels' pedalling veg. that nobody asked for. ;D

Bedrock here is calcareous shales, it was definitely under the ocean once and the elevation here is not very high. The prairies are a lot higher up than here. There are area with granite knobs glaciers even carried them here on top of the ground and others full of sandstone to the south from the Pennsylvanian era. There is even a subterranean river under the main river to the south where there is a earthquake fault line near there. And the Grand Pass down there never freezes in winter by Currie Mountain. ;)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: SwampDonkey on October 19, 2021, 02:39:45 PM
the more i come to conclude that "science" is not all knowing, and is not in consensus.  there are many still unknowns, not understood's, conflicting results, and disputed's.  
Well there is science then there is anecdotes to. :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 21, 2021, 10:09:45 PM
Think im getting closer to a frost risk for crimson clover and decided to get some winter wheat and austrian winter peas just in case today.  I guess ill mix em all up, broadcast and run em in with the tires.  Thoughts?

Will probably chop it all up for chicken feed in the spring.  They can rake through the wheat straw and it should become bedding before composting into the ground.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 21, 2021, 10:13:13 PM
They will all survive frost.  Will wilt at some point and if they are not big enough when it gets hard frost may die back to the ground but the crown will come back when things begin to warm up again.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 22, 2021, 04:46:29 PM
crimson clover ? Sustainable Market Farming (https://www.sustainablemarketfarming.com/tag/crimson-clover/)

This lady runs an informative cover crop site i dont want to lose.  

I put 2 garden beds into a mix of winter wheat, crimson clover and austrian winter pea.  then laid out my other bed in 10 rows of brassicas and overseeded the top of the whole thing in crimson clover.

  The idea is that i will let it all grow up together and step on the clover in between the rows.. Thinning everything out to the chickens.  I just dont want to go into winter with a bunch of bare soil on a hill. It rains here all winter. Dont care if the clover just gets trampled, thats mostly what its for.  Will see how that goes. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 22, 2021, 09:11:14 PM
White clover planted on the the walkways in the spring is something to remember 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 24, 2021, 10:47:39 PM


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1024211753.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1635129099)


I built a spraybar using the smallest jets on the shelf because of the small pump, thinking it may not have the snot- but seems okay on test run today.  Doesnt quite get full coverage between the stripes but if i lift the bar much higher to increase coverage,  the ground isnt getting wet enough at the slowest pace i can manage.  

You think bigger jets will allow running faster at higher elevation the way my logic is telling me it will?  Im only spraying compost tea to help innoculate seed and increase soil microbial life.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1024211749.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1635130007)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 24, 2021, 10:51:35 PM
That should work very well for you.  A friend brought back an old, runout farm doing exactly that.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 25, 2021, 12:16:55 AM
Thanks jim, thats encouraging.  Any idea what his brew procedure was?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 25, 2021, 07:54:12 AM
I will ask him
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Old Greenhorn on October 25, 2021, 09:04:56 AM
Mike, maybe something like this would give the flow you need?

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/52103/DSCF1172.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1550875219)
 

It moves a lot of water/fluid if you want. I generally run the gas pump on idle when spraying, but you could probably set it to just gravity feed once it starts flowing. It is supplied by 2 55 gallon barrels in the back and a 20GPM gas pump.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/52103/DSCF1170.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1550875295)
 

If I crank it up, it can dig little trenches in the ground as I drive, but I will run through all the fluid in just a couple of minutes. Sprays about 8' wide if I have the bars set level. The pumping is set up so I can back up to a pond and draft water to fill the barrels, then swatch the valves over to spray it back out through the front.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 25, 2021, 09:25:30 AM
I could buy a lot of finished produce at the earthiest crunchiest of stores for what thatd cost in after covid dollars!  Nice work, you werent playing around with that thing. Problem is itd blow away my seed and bare soil.

Im pretty happy with what ive got and only about $8 or so for a 4 pack of jets.  Will try a few sizes up next trip to town
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on October 26, 2021, 10:19:46 AM
How about drilling a tiny hole between the jets to fill in the gaps. Can always dribble a little weld to seal if they don't work.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 26, 2021, 10:50:25 AM
itd be like a leaky pressure regulator in hydraulics, causing bypass.  all the flow would go out the holes instead of through the tiny spray nozzles because there is a lower resistance option.  a short circuit in electrons. it takes a good ten seconds of pump running for them to purge air and begin to get the pressure rise for spraying. 


i can live with a little gap just fine, im not doing anything critical.  i got the tank, pump and wand at rural king for $60 last year.  for $325 you can get the one with the super flimsy fold out spray boom with fixed height and jets every 18 inches or so.  mine are at 12 with height adjust so what ive got sure aint bad compared to whats out there for sale.  plus ive still got my wand, they have wand or bar but not both. 

id like to see what bigger nozzles will do to the fan width and consumption rate anyway just for SNGs.  help me know how to estimate product volume if i ever do a job with it. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 26, 2021, 10:35:43 PM
Any of you guys good at soil sample interpretation?


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1635302047565.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1635302013)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 26, 2021, 10:41:46 PM
What do you want to grow?  Your soil is quite alkali which makes me think either the organic matter is not fully decomposed ie - it's a peat type of soil, it's a limestone based soil, or you limed the tar out of it.  The potassium is a bit odd too without knowing the history of the dirt.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 26, 2021, 11:19:19 PM
I like the organic matter content , shooting for that or higher here. Iím curious about the ph level 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on October 27, 2021, 08:45:09 AM
Yes, that's a very high organic component.  pH is a bit above neutral, so yes, on the alkaline or "basic" side.

I wonder if a lot of material burned on this ground previously.  How else to account for super-high potash?

Soils have something called "buffering capacity".  Without going all technical, what this means as a practical consideration is that attempts to modify soil pH can be frustrating.  For your example, soil sulfur is called for, to gradually lower that pH, but this and other materials used for the purpose only can go so far.  In time, the surrounding soil "buffers" back to pretty close to what it was originally.

You can repeat-apply sulfur without much concern for screwing anything up.  The material comes in prills, is slowly worked over by soil bacteria, and the end result is sulfuric acid.  But as I say, the cations (calcium, magnesium, potassium) in the soil immediately fight back at this adjustment.

I've only ever found soil sulfur at farmer's co-ops.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 27, 2021, 09:53:51 AM
i kinda didnt tell the backstory on that on purpose and im glad you guys picked it out, good eye tom.  fire was a big part.  im still learning how to comprehend all the components of a sample report.  


i had it in my mind a year or so ago to try ammending the wild blueberries and see if i could get a real fruit on them.  theyre here and established, they spread on their own in the regen understory once the brush is about chest high.  theyre hardy, the flavor is superb.. but the fruit is puny.  i figured i will find a way to bump it up a notch, and started trying to blend up a soil improver from the various stuff on site.  lots of fill dirt has come here from a variety of sources, plus tree service grindings and chipped trees and so on.  i never stop composting.

well, one component that i took a half dozen loads of as a favor for the guy who hauls me all the fill, was charcoal plant cleanouts.  and its got everything in it. gasifier char, wood chip, bark, sand, gravely stuff, glassy frothy wierd stuff that kinda looks like coral, im sure its just a variety of dirt, rock and sand that hits a char furnace and turns into something new and unknown.  and plenty of gloves glasses and earplugs, naturally.  i was spreading it over the clay slope anywhere i didnt want gravel but didnt have grass, to create a mud barrier for my shoes or tires, and keep the rain from washing it out.  that whole corner is a very good producer of wild lettuces, white aster, ragweed, yellow sweet clover, barnyard grass etc etc now.  it gets 3-6ft high.  

well i have about 5 triaxles of this mystery charcoal plant woody mix i pushed up in a hill for the someday when i need it, and it hot composted over the last 2 year i guess?  when i break the crust and screen out the rocks and chips, the fines are like volcanic beach sand.  its fine soft black dirt like coffee grounds with sandy gravelly flek.. you cant make it clump at all and its excellent at breaking up the clay clod natural dirt here.


i dont remember the exact ingredients as its been maybe 2 years but i know i mixed up some finished hot compost (grass, leaves, sawdust and food scraps) with that charcoal dirt blend and probably a few shovels of garden dirt, maybe even some triple 10, and decided..yeah its pleasing to the eye and should have a lot of OM, but i better find out what this stuff is before i go killing all the wild blueberries, so i had a sample done at the co-op but they never got it back to me and i forgot all about it until i tracked down the report last year, looked at it, had no idea what i was looking at and forgot about it again.  


fast forward to present, my understanding of the soil microbiome is evolving to understand that weeds and microbes are natures way of reaching deep to find what the top soil is lacking, and mineralize it into plant available surface layer that shallow rooted crops can take up in soluble form.  okay, well i know that all that variety in charcoal mountain has got to be minerals, and its great at improving the clay clod structure for increase pore space and permeability..  hey wait i got that sample somewhere in my downloads folder..  oh wow, it is rich in a lot of ways.  and here we are.  

so i just called the co-op soils lady and the whole cadillac test with everything on it is only $15.  id really like to see the micronutrients, and i expected the cost to be more.  i guess if im gonna continue to do all this soil work, a few baselines would be a good investment.  ive got the sprayer built, ive got the compost tea brewer built, and i wanna be able to verify that things go in the positive direction the soilfoodweb crowd says it will.  

co-op lady says cropland here runs 2-4% organic matter and most nutrients will fall in the medium scale.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on October 27, 2021, 10:37:24 AM
What was your process for obtaining the sample?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 27, 2021, 12:08:21 PM
i had hand mixed a tub of different ingredients until homogenous that i planned to just dress around the wild blueberry stems, when i decided to get a sample.  just put a scoop in a coffee can or something and went to the co-op.  it went in a bag they provided for sample.  


Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 27, 2021, 12:21:59 PM
parking some links i dont wanna lose if the computer croaks

home made seed drill
FARM SHOW Magazine - The BEST stories about Made-It-Myself Shop Inventions, Farming and Gardening Tips, Time-saving Tricks & the Best Farm Shop Hacks, DIY Farm Projects, Tips on Boosting your farm income, time-saving farming advice, farming tractors and Agriculture equipment reviews (https://www.farmshow.com/view_articles.php?a_id=1670)

bill spurlocks photo gallery showing the construction is at the bottom here.
--Photos MUST be in the Forestry Forum gallery!!!!!--.--Photos MUST be in the Forestry Forum gallery!!!!!--[/url]

exceptional cover crop guide
https://www.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably.pdf

carbon is king. plus the nature of aerobic vs anaerobic manure and bacterial:fungal ratios for plant types 
Biology and Benefits (https://www.biomineralstechnologies.com/farm-solutions/composting/biology-and-benefits)


fungal dominated compost reactor
Dr. David Johnson's Research on Fungal-Dominated Compost and Carbon Sequestration ? Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems ? CSU, Chico (https://www.csuchico.edu/regenerativeagriculture/bioreactor/david-johnson.shtml)

i like this guy, gabe brown.  hes got a real similar story to joel salatin and greg judy.  real farmers who went broke conventionally.  ended up going without the synthetic inputs because they ran out of money to buy them and were gonna lose it all.  with synthetics removed, things got better.

Treating the Farm as an Ecosystem with Gabe Brown Part 1, The 5 Tenets of Soil Health - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUmIdq0D6-A)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on October 27, 2021, 12:28:24 PM
Ah.  It would be useful to check with them about depth and distribution of subsamples. They probably have a recommendation for obtaining an average over an area. If not, there are plenty of references to this out there or i can post a link. Sampling a single spot on or near the surface can provide misleading results. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 27, 2021, 12:53:02 PM
i dont think any of them are adapted to the concept of what im sampling.  stuff that was loaded by wheel loader, piled 8 feet high, then dug through and screened then mixed in a bin.  im not even bringing them soil.   there is no top or bottom piece of laundry in the dryer, if you get what i mean. no topsoil or subsoil here.  its a big homogenous heap of ingredients.  whats in one inch is in all of them. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 27, 2021, 01:37:59 PM
Sounds more like a soil ammendment.  Chemically there are different ways to accurately measure peat type soils (not the technical name) vs mineral soils as the extrememly high organic matter in peat type of soils skews the test results.  The question is what rate to apply it to your soil for maximum effictiveness and utilization without waste.  Also, top dress or knife in?  A represenative sample of the growing soil would help to know where you are starting off.  

Spent scrubber lime from natural gas fired boilers is a very economical way to get calicum and sulfur at the same time too.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on October 28, 2021, 08:09:37 AM
Mike, check this out;  https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fhgic.clemson.edu%2Ffactsheet%2Ffertilizing-vegetables%2F&psig=AOvVaw2YwvP9aDRCWH2x-Wwq3p-V&ust=1635509416568000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCMD7rsCJ7fMCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

If that link works, and you have any questions, please feel free to get back to me on this whole soil pH/nutrient availability thang.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 28, 2021, 10:47:45 AM
thank you sir.  the link did work, but it advocates the conventionals that i have come to reject.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on October 28, 2021, 11:53:12 AM
I didn't read the text, but was hoping to show the chart of pH's effect on nutrient availability.  In most basic terms-pun intended-a neutral or near-neutral pH satisfies the vast majority of plant species.  It is only when one wishes to grow varieties with pronounced higher or lower pH needs that one can get in trouble.

BTW, blueberries are way on the list of acid-lovers.  They're most definitely NOT going to like all that ash.  Now that's the wild, lowbush type I speak of, but pretty sure all blueberries are alike in that sense.

Soils have a property called buffering capacity.  Simply put, a given soil will tend to revert to its original pH range even though one may set out to adjust it.  Doesn't mean one can't make adjustments, but just be aware, repeat applications of say, soil sulfur may be required.  I've only ever found soil sulfur at farm co-ops.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 28, 2021, 05:24:37 PM
Mike have you tried growing anything in it directly?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 29, 2021, 09:15:08 AM
i havent tried to, but my kid stuck some corn sprouts in one of the piles and they got to knee high.  barnyard grass on top of it came in naturally probably from birds sitting there, it got full sized and some kinda viney thing across the steep southern slope face has grown in fine over that entire face.  there are things equipped to grow directly in the ammendment but not most things, is how i am looking at it.  its a good improver for poor soil, but a poor soil in itself.  


thank you for the information tom. i have been getting quite the education in this stuff lately (trying to trouble shoot a health issue) and the picture emerging for me is that it isnt blueberry or rhodadedron or mountain laurel so much love acid soil, its that they take a high ratio of fungi to bacteria to thrive, and bacteria are dramatically reduced in variety and quantity by acidic soils. so the bacteria/fungi ratio comes more into line with what a blueberry needs when the PH is killing bacteria but not fungi.  grasses and garden veggies want a 1:1ish ratio and old growth forests are like 1 bacteria for 1k fungi.  

up above i left a link to a pair of ken hamilton vids which are the best ive found, explaining how soil miicrobes (which colonize and feed on the root exudates of living plants) eat other soil microbes that generate excess nitrogens they cannot contain, which are farted out to the plants in a symbiosis.

here's the study that found the PH effect on bacteria but not on fungi.
Soil bacterial and fungal communities across a pH gradient in an arable soil | The ISME Journal (https://www.nature.com/articles/ismej201058)

there is a growing choir of people who have left the co-op behind because they went broken buying chemicals, who have joined this bacterial/fungal crowd and found that when they finally get soil biology dialed in through best practices... PH changes, fertilization, pesticide and herbicide are no longer needed. whats needed is a change in mindset to stop thinking we need to kill everything that isnt a corn or soy plant.  that convention brings about non stop pests and problems.  it certainly did for me the first few years. once i got the soil black and thriving, i had the same pests all over the place and i didnt do anything about it, but they didnt harm anything. 

everyone told me id need tons of lime to grow anything in my woods. i got rye grass to my belt without any by growing it in a broad mix of legumes and brassicas. i didnt not know that at the time, just planted a foodplot blend, but i can look back now and say my result supports this choir and goes against the co-op agronomists.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 29, 2021, 09:31:24 AM
i dont say any of this to be argumentative or be a know it all.  i just wanna help people.  i was really really frustrated with a 30 row garden that produced zero, a whole 8 or 9 months of hard work wasted. buying chemicals never put food in the fridge for me, and i wanna see food in peoples fridges. its only a matter of time before the next covid lie "interrupts" the food supply chains. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on October 29, 2021, 10:56:24 AM
Interesting thing about the fertilizer use, mentioned in a different thread felt as though we were using an exorbitant amount and shared the quantity. Member @btulloh (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=29962) suggested getting a soil analysis done at 40-50 days out to actually see what was left for the plant when needed an excellent idea that I followed up on. Had an intern from Umass doing biweekly crop checks, took soil samples when I knew she was coming and asked her what Iíd like to do had written down exactly what had been applied when and in what manner it was incorporated in the soil. Felt I was being pretty thorough and going to ask intelligent questions for once in my life. She was absolutely dumbfounded and could not figure out why I would want to do that if the crop was doing well, kept pushing her so she called her superior. Got the same results from talking to her. She recommended doing soil samples this fall to recommend rates for next year and was happy to hear how much was being used and commended us for it. The only thing both of them were concerned about was the cost of the soil test and how it is ďexpensiveĒ the cost...25 bucks. Fertilizer bill this year is probably over 20 grand. Iím not too smart but Iíll drop a little bit of change to pick up dollars any day of the week.

The best part is I stuck my neck out on a piece of ground and used my own practices of cover crops,composted horse manure and literally cut the fertilizer in half. The results...best crop the boss has ever seen in 30 years. Was some glad it worked out didnít want to explain to her why I thought that field and crops wasnít yielding like it should. Granted the crops were ones that donít require as much inputs but feel itís all relative.

The time to figure out how to grow crops with inputs other than fertilizer is here and now. The rising cost of fertilizer and decreased chemical production by foreign countries will surely take a large chunk out of already very small margins.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 29, 2021, 01:30:27 PM
 8)  nice work! 


Real similar phone call for me when i asked soil test lady a week or so back about that one i shared on the woodchip pile.  Note it does not have any nitrogen measurement in it.  So i asked the price on the caddilac test with all the blanks filled in, $15..  Okay, thats well worth it.. And that will have nitrogen on it too? 

"No, we dont measure nitrogen.  We will just tell you how much to add based on the crop."


::)
I decided that was the last time i was gonna ask a pro at the sales desk what to do. How can you make a recommendation on how much more nitrogen i need if you dont measure how much i have?  Yeah, urea and anhydrous ammonia are exactly what i want leaching out into the bedroom window all summer. 

I have been my wifes most astute observer for longer than all her doctors combined and my observation over the years about their behavior is this.  if they discover a medical thing they will mail a letter and schedule a visit in a month or more, we have waited 4 months on many occasions for an appointment.  But If there is a billing error they will pick up the phone, call her in and make time to resolve that on an emergency walk in basis.   

Shes a walking medicine cabinet guinea pig who is getting worse from it, not better. Ive had enough of chemicals in our lives. 

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on October 29, 2021, 01:48:00 PM
My friend that lost the cow pasture to army worms this year is a fertilizer and pesticide spraying fellow.. Hes always busy doing something like that.  He only buys sorghum sudan grass and went i looked at his place the only thing in it is goosegrass, not sudan.  The army worms tore it up and his dirt looks like brillo.


I had found plenty of these army worms here at my place without knowing what they were yet, and fed them to chickens. but i never saw any signs of damage from them because there is too much variety to tell.  Ive identified about 20..
 25 species and theres atleast that many more i havent.  I couldnt keep this place mowed if i tried.   The evidence suggests that plant species arent such bitter rival competitors the way we think, but rather theyre symbiotic partners.  I definitely see this in the woods, certain species affiliations.  


That gabe brown fellow i linked above started off with 3 species in his cover crop mix and has 20some years of data.  He is up to 19 species now.  People say weed your corn, nothing but corn can be there. he says interplant it with cow pea or other legume.  I will try this summer.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on October 29, 2021, 02:08:44 PM
Army worms are more interested in the stage of growth of the plant than the plant species.  Up north they hammer hay fields of perfect Timothy, down this way it's Fescue.  What do both have in common?  Well a Timothy hay field gets harvested at the same time so it's a single species all at the same stage of growth.  Same thing with late summer un managed Fescue.  All one species, all lignified and gone rank, so the woms have a field day, and they are cyclical, you will never stop them.  Just like the Spruce Bud Worm.  Comes around every 30 or so years, and it wasn't a massive issue in Maine until the late '70s when it began to show up as a lot of Fir and Spruce was right at the same age point after the fires in the '40s and timber practices of the time.  Massive blocks of single aged timber.  Just natures way of giving another species a fighting chance.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on November 01, 2021, 08:55:43 AM
Nitrogen in the soil profile is too unstable to be measured.  Any measurement would be essentially a tiny snapshot of something that was changing anyway.  Tough to measure soil N.  There exists a test called Kjeldahl or some such.  That one gets N, but I have no idea if it makes sense to reach for what is surely an expensive proposition.  My answer to N in gardening (definitely not in forestry!) is good organic matter levels combined with spoon-feeding.

I became this community's horticulturist in 1989.  While such items as planters, flower beds, and the like now make up perhaps 20% of my job, at that time it was incumbent on me to improve some seriously worn-out soils.  I immediately began adding compost, primarily in the fall, and the rest was history.

Numerous folks asked me "what kind of Miracle Grow are you using there, Tom"?  Now we still did and do use chemical fertilizers although definitely not the consumer-grade stuff..  I practice "spoon feeding" on such plantings, with great, and I may as well add, very easy success.  Get the soil good, add judicious, small amounts of nutrients constantly in the irrigation water, and that stuff is good to go.

Food gardening, I always went 100% organic.  Soil structure ultimately trumps soil chemistry, although neither one can be too far out of whack.

In forests, forget all this stuff.  Native forest communities are adapted to low, but constantly-available nutrient levels, supplied, as Mike correctly reports, primarily by fungal cohorts.  These fungi in turn rely on certain bacteria to enable them to do their jobs.  Adding lots of N to such systems is usually asking for trouble.  I always hate seeing the invasive woody species in our area-things like black locust or buckthorn with its green leaves into November-making for too much soil N which only paves the way for more invasive junk.  Pretty much anything still green in our woods right now that isn't pine or spruce is some kind of junk that shouldn't be there.  Adding N to such systems is not helpful.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on November 01, 2021, 08:21:46 PM
Hauled all the composted manure to my east quarter, seemed like a lot of loads, but will not come close to covering the entire 160 acres.  We baled the grass, and plan to put the manure where the hay was the least.  Price of fertilizer is through the roof.  So I ordered bean seed to plant next spring on my farm ground.  Beans take a lot less fertilizer than milo or corn or even wheat. Wish I could generate enough manure to cover all my farm ground, and some for the grass.  Am going to feed alfalfa and oat hay on my grass this winter, as that in a way fertilizes the winter pasture.  Bringing in feed to the pasture gets the cows to apply their manure to the grass, which fertilizes the grass in a year or 2. Helps to harrow the area you feed in, to spread things out and break up the cow pies.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 01, 2021, 08:56:52 PM
I had invested $25 into a pounda thisn a pounda thatn of seed just incase the midwest seed suppliers suddenly find all their inventory stranded in LA harbors or some other such nonsense next.. Figure one in the hand.  So id broadcast covers on my 3 current garden patches but the largest one really wasnt taking it in.  This summers corn bed i mulched in grass clippings and was able to run the seed in with tires because the grass prevented mud clumping.   The brassica bed is small and id worked the rows by hand then overseeded completely in clovers and rolled a 15g drum of oil over it for packing.  Germination on that one is quite good.



The biggest patch has austrian winter pea in the mix and its a big seed plus the bed is just too hard and sticky so the peas are sitting on the surface sprouting tap roots trying to find a pore to get into the dirt.  I think the results will be poor.   I mulched a segment of it ontop the seed with stump grindings for a trial comparison.  Like i said a lot is sprouting on the surface.. Specially AWP and winter wheat.  The clover seed is pretty good about getting a grip.  It dried up for 2 days from a wet week and i was willing to rip around with a fisher price play disc behind the quad today,  since im gonna lose seed anyhow it looks like.  Disk may have flung just enough dirt to bring some germination improvement but i dont know for sure.  If its a no go i will try frost seeding later on in the winter.  Learning either way i guess.

Im eyeballing a piece of 12" double wall corrugated drainage and seeing it full of concrete with a thru pipe for a nice ribbed cultipacker.  I had contemplated dogbowls or brake rotors welded together but thats a chore.  I dont have $600 for a worn out junk cultipacker 2 hrs away.  Thats probably more than it was new when i was a boy. 

I did get to study a real seed drill and know i can make one in the future when i get my machines, lots of bigger issues right now.   My tractor could never pull the co-ops drill but the dozer could if i plumb remotes.  im sure i can hang a pipe by chain under the blade for a front crimper.  If i ever lease acreage anyways.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on November 01, 2021, 09:11:27 PM
Don't you have any old antique grain drills in Tennessee? Should be able to find an old one at a farm sale for cheap.  The latest drills here are 60'.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 01, 2021, 09:38:12 PM
At 7 MPH that's just over 50 acres an hour...... :o
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 01, 2021, 09:59:09 PM
Youíre somebody when youíre pulling that setup  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 01, 2021, 10:21:20 PM
Don't you have any old antique grain drills in Tennessee? Should be able to find an old one at a farm sale for cheap.  The latest drills here are 60'.
Only one i see listed is $45k.  I guess what the scrap boom didnt get, the transplant yard art barn find crowd did.    
Every now and then a shot horse drawn 2 row corn planter comes up for several hundred more than im willing or able to waste. Id rather just build a good one.  I have a bunch of harrows and tool bar stuff in a container up north.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 01, 2021, 10:41:38 PM
Youíre somebody when youíre pulling that setup  :D
My baler doesn't seem so fancy suddenly... :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 01, 2021, 10:43:36 PM
Mike, they are out there. I picked up my IH5100 drill for $500 and put about $300 in repairs into it. I will run that over 600 acres this year alone. 1980's technology. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 01, 2021, 10:48:00 PM
Youíre somebody when youíre pulling that setup  :D
Yeah, somebody with a big note to cover. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 01, 2021, 10:50:36 PM
Mike, they are out there. I picked up my IH5100 drill for $500 and put about $300 in repairs into it. I will run that over 600 acres this year alone. 1980's technology.
I think itll be tough to find something heavy enough to plant into waist high rolled cover and still be pulled by 26hp.  Havent seen one yet.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 02, 2021, 11:10:33 AM
We have a 5100 drill here as well, which is not a no till drill. Tried a test on some ground that had a cover crop of Sudan and buckwheat mix on it. Mowed it then went in and drilled it with my fall mix, itís doing excellent. The buckwheat seems to create looser soil near the surface whereas Sudan creates a sod type layer. Keep in mind this stuff was was as tall as a 20.8 38.
With that small amount of hp might be better thinking more towards down pressure via springs or hydraulic versus deadweight. 
The other thing that helps immensely is drilling when after a rain (soil is softer) not always a good idea on tilled ground but the vegetation youíre dealing with helps fro gumming up the disks. Another thing Iíve noticed is going in when the previous crop is still green versus letting it dry down allows the openers to cut better. The vegetation is softer in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on November 02, 2021, 09:05:43 PM
You need to look at Great Plains no till drills.  They are not so cool now, all the big operations are going for air drills.  I have a early model GP 15' drill on a no till cart.  It has a hinge so the drill follows the cart around curves. The cart has the colters that create a little groove for the opener to run in.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 02, 2021, 09:12:22 PM
What are you drilling in with it? No till I assume?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 03, 2021, 01:30:05 AM
Will do, thanks FFK.

I planted some onion seed and potatoes that got too far gone today.  Its not chocolate cake yet but were getting there. 



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1102211132.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1635908538)

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 03, 2021, 12:21:05 PM
In doing all this soil biology studying i kept encountering claims that conventional ag has wrecked the soil and replaced it with synthetic fertility that grows essentially fake food on a dead dirt sponge with continually reduced nutrient and mineral density in the foods it produces.  It seemed silly a few years ago.  If a tomato looks good it is good was my mentality.


I bought blueberries and peaches the other day.. We are mouth breathing lowlife walmart shoppers so im sure they come from the cheapest full chemical south africa or brazil slave producer.


Both of them are beautiful fruits, thats what makes a sale right?   Perfect shape and texture, no bruising or worm holes, huge and firm.  Oh baby good stuff.





Im not a picky eater at all.. Im like a trash pig, i wont complain or miss a meal.  

Well.. They both taste GROSS!   The peaches have no sweetness at all, theyre like bitting into a tennis ball of tastless rubbery, watery bland flesh.  The blueberries also have no sweetness.. Theyre like a cold mushy blue custard or a hardened plain unsweetened yogurt ball.  I cant believe how bad these taste and have now got to force myself to eat them so they dont go to waste. Stuff aint cheap.

  The tiny wild blueberries out in my woods are half the size of a skittle but taste like the blueberries i remember as a kid, a golf ball of flavor.  My friends up the road have a terrible sorry looking unmanaged apple tree and another neighbor has pears.  Both trees produce ugly runts with soft spots and fungal splotches.. you gotta cut around the worm holes.  But theyre an explosion of sweetness. 

I can remember when i was little and biting into a peach was like a sugar balloon pouring down your chin.  

Its sad but i guess its an opportunity at the same time.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on November 03, 2021, 12:33:15 PM
I strongly prefer wild lowbush blueberries, although any blueberry may find its way into my mouth if it's not careful.

One thing about big, big modern ag.....it's sending the best topsoil in the world down to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Increasing soil carbon, not nitrogen, not potash, not phosphates, is the food-growing challenge of the world.  More carbon in the soil-good.  More carbon in the air and sea-bad.  Most human activities contribute to the latter effect.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 03, 2021, 01:22:49 PM
A lot of fruit is picked before it's ripened and then exposed to calcium carbide to ripen so it's not bruised in shipping and such, but as you said - there goes the flavor and texture.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: stavebuyer on November 03, 2021, 03:14:45 PM
Commercial "wax" fruit and veggies is why I go to the trouble to raise a large garden. I was raised knowing what real food tastes like. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 03, 2021, 09:14:11 PM
I tried raspberries a few years back Fed the robins , deer, rabbits, woodchucks and we had a few. Tried 3 varieties and was disappointed in flavors.  To me at least you can't beat free range [chicken ] eggs or wild berries for flavor.                    In fur trapping it was wild mink/ranched mink as another example.  Even fancy hardwood lumber or veneer, grow it all on the same soil and it's all the same color. Walnut is a wood where you can easily see this; 'black', redish, purple, light brown. If a buyer works the same area long enough, he can tell where the logs where cut. If you grew up with all store bought  you might be happier. You can't miss what you never had.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 03, 2021, 10:15:14 PM
Another issue with commercially grown food is the varieties themselves that are grown. When choosing seed a lot of the time a decision needs to be made whether itís yield or flavor you want in the end. Essentially picking quality or quantity. The number of varieties for any given item you choose to grow is incredible.The cost difference for quality seed that produces a better tasting product tallies up fast. Most wholesale growers are working on very small margins as it is.  
Growing stuff when it really isnít meant to be grown effects the flavor as well in my opinion. We grow an early season green bean here. Usually plant them as soon as we can get across the field in early to mid April. Grounds cold and wet germination seems to take forever. Not much sun usually a brisk wind that time of year. While the do grow and produce I much prefer the later varieties, drop them in the ground the end of May theyíre headed for the sun about as quick as you plant them. Growing conditions are usually very good by then and the crops show it.
Customers are always looking for stuff early me personally Iíll wait till the stuff is ready that was put in with dust coming off the furrow rather than early season stuff that got mudded in. Always tastes better.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 04, 2021, 06:33:48 AM
I hadnt considered that, good point.  

I am always jealous of the guys peddling huge finished fruit in spring when i havent even seeded yet but im guessing theyre hoophousers anyway and i shouldnt be trying to measure up!
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 04, 2021, 08:37:22 AM
For everything there is a season.   One year I planted some corn meant for the north country, 59 day sweet corn, and it was, tasted just like the dirt it was planted in.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 04, 2021, 08:48:57 AM
I couldnít agree more. Sweet corn is a prime example. At 59 days ours is far from ready but the wait is worth it. A few guys around here plant the short day stuff. A lot of their customers start coming here once ours start coming in. Our most popular varieties are the longest days to maturity we plant. Itís not a coincidence. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mudfarmer on November 04, 2021, 09:59:36 AM
Have not been around much, just wanted to pop in and say this is a great thread. 

Rebuilding depleted soils is what we have been doing here, no chems just good old fashioned natural soil building, sped up a few notches. Wish my connection was good enough to get a few pics uploaded.

New for me this year and last was the bounty that comes out of the bottom of a small (10x15ft approx) duck pond in a clay low spot in the yard. When it dries up a few times per summer the black gold gets shoveled out to be added to compost piles and it sure adds up fast. 

We are young and have been producing e& eating our own good food for a while, it won't counteract my bad habits but can't hurt on the health side of things. Interesting to see the talk of co-op and fertilizer Mike, must be an ag co-op? We don't have them here, the co-op is where you go to buy health food, local fruits and veggies etc 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on November 04, 2021, 10:02:20 AM
Mud, I brought up co-ops.  Yes, they are farmer's supply houses, grain storage elevators, do custom field applications, etc.  Big big thing around here in the farm belt.

But I only brought them up because they are basically the only brick and mortar where a guy can get soil sulfur.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mudfarmer on November 04, 2021, 10:29:54 AM
Trenching temp fence for main garden expansion couple weeks back. You get two guesses on which side had a couple pigs in it for a week last year   ;D


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211024_160925317.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636035989)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211024_160942020.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636035893)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211024_160749407.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636036072)
 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on November 04, 2021, 10:57:44 AM
I use my no till GP drill to plant wheat in soybean stubble.  Tried using it to plant beans years ago, was not accurate enough.  So I use a planter to plant beans.  Can set it for how many seeds per acre, and a planter opener gets the seed to the proper depth.  If I were using a drill to plant beans, would have to get a JD no till drill.  Hear the old 750 model is the better one out there, but hard to get set for the proper number of seeds. Most of the neighbors are going to air drills, as they are very accurate on seeds per acre. And seed depth.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 04, 2021, 01:59:55 PM
Ive been contemplating an adjustable height shank opener in a walking beam.  The walking beam pivots on a trailing arm with a torflex style rubber rod suspension.  the front wheel of the pair is a straight coulter and the back wheel is a packer with a loop of drag chain behind it.  The opener probably just a harrow tine tip with a half crushed pipe welded behind it, like a vacuum cleaner attachment to make sure the seed lands in the tine slit.  plywood packer wheel pushes seed into slit, drag chain covers it.  Roller up front to lay down cover crop and a friction wheel off the roller to drive the seed meter shaft.  


The co-op is a wonderful place.  Its an AG store designed for profit, owned by a collective of farmers for their mutual benefit, that also sells to the public at reasonably fair market prices.  No one person owns the co-op, its a farmer democracy of sorts.  And i think its as much about bargaining power in buying semi loads of fertilizer, lime, seed, etc that they need, as well as a retail outlet for some of their own production.  Theyve got a public truck scale for weighing a crop on the way to the various commodity packers or feed mill etc..  high floatation lime trucks, seed drill, spreaders etc.  A lot of stuff that a small farm just cant afford but cant do without

Im sure there is politics behind the scenes but its where i try to make my money go.  They arent exporting it to china or raising prices to cover exec bonuses as fast as a big box does. Everyone that works there tends to be a pretty useful human. You can get pretty good advice from someone behind a register or filling a propane tank.  


Nice topsoil!
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 04, 2021, 09:13:50 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/091DAEF4-310D-41B0-9803-5EDFDAB94C0E.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1636073577)
 Checked on some of my cover crops the other day while out drilling was happy with what I saw. Trying out radishes in the cocktail mix this year. Itís an effort to fight compaction and make micro nutrients available to the crops. 
Amazing little plants, from the research Iíve done and talking to people the average compaction layer in this area takes about 300 psi to penetrate. The tap root of these is supposed to penetrate up to a 1,000 psi compaction layer.
Another piece of trivia is the ďfruitĒ goes down until it hits that layer then sends the taproot down while the ďfruitĒ still grows but only above the surface. 
This gives you an indication of how deep the layer is below the surface. The sunglasses are for reference. 
Pulled some in areas of the field where I know the the roads are versus out in the middle of the crop.
Consistently a 2-3Ē difference in depth of compaction layer.

Would love to make a subsoiler and rip a bunch of ground until then gonna rely on these little biodrills.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 04, 2021, 10:31:21 PM
Having run a subsoiler and raddishes myself I think the raddish achieves more that just ripping.  Nutrient recovery alone gives them a massive advantage. With subsoiling you want to be careful not to drive with the rows if it has been wet for a while.  Water penetrates to the bottom of the slot and then fills above there - lets just say it can get quite soft and those rows will swallow a tire now and then.  Still a very valuable tool, but not an annual one where the raddish can be.  Also - you can graze raddish, so it creates another revenue option.  

Should have taken some before and after photos yesterday but never gave it a thought.  Ran my off set disc through a field that had been let go for about 4 years, which down this way is about the same as 15 back in Maine.  Fennel was 8' tall and THICK, pine and gum saplings that went from 2' to 8' also.  Few Locust that were over 15' at their very tops, so tons and tons of organic matter that turned into - well nothing.  Landower called me today after stopping by and asked me where I "put all the stuff from the field".  Told him it's in the dirt, massive organic matter infustion from two passes 90 degrees to each other.  Will need to take a york rake and clean up the larger sticks that didn't get absolutely pulverized, then run the finishing disc over it and throw a ton of cover crop seed on it for the winter, but the soil looks amazing.  For sure there will be weed / sapling issues there for a couple of years and the nitrogen will be tied up, but that will be addressed with legumes and harvest / mowing to get ahead of it all.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 04, 2021, 10:45:20 PM
Have you used them in a mix or planted by themselves? At what rate of planting have you seen the most benefit?
I wonít ask for pictures of the tire sunken in the ripper tracks    :D
Sounds like one of those events that turns a good chain into a stove poker by the time itís over. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 04, 2021, 10:50:19 PM
Both in a mix and alone.  Put out 3 lbs / acre into the area off to the right of the driveway as you head in before driving down the hill a little while ago.  Wanted to get them in eariler, but time....  The soil there sticks together like brick, year before last year I pounded the chip mulch to it and didn't want to do that again so soon, thus the raddish.  

It was the 2WD IH that went down, so nothing compared to the time Big Green decided to head to China.  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 04, 2021, 10:56:41 PM
I might have gotten a little heavy handed with them on a couple pieces but for the most part was pretty accurate with 3lb/acre on the rest of the ground 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 05, 2021, 02:45:16 AM
It took me about 30 years of trying to make a chain into a cane.  ;D


That radish is one mean tiller!  

Like jim said the raddish is mightier than the plow.   it excretes root exudates which draws the bacteria and fungi that feed on the plants complex excretions of basically sugars, to colonize deep into the soil in the immediate space around the root.. Aka the rhizosphere.  The plant is capable of parking carbon (that glorious building block of all creation that we have mistakenly gone to war with like a dog eating its own tail) exactly where its needed.  The worms dont come until the bacteria and fungi and nematodes and protozoa are there and they require a root exudate to feed on.  It takes a diverse abundance of plants and time to fix over tilled soil.

If you wanna go full nerd, or just need help falling asleep like me, here is a biotech paper on exudates, F:B ratio and soil carbon (read: fertility) deposition rates.

Frontiers | Soil Fungal:Bacterial Ratios Are Linked to Altered Carbon Cycling | Microbiology (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01247/full)


You are on long term conventially tilled crop ground.  Ken hamilton told me thats always gonna be bacterially dominated because conventional systems always kill off mycorhizal fungi.  Then you can spend a fortune on inputs to get a diminishing yield on crops that just dont thrive in that dysbiotic imbalanced F:B ratio.  What is needed is to replenish the carbon.  The only thing that will do it in our impatient timeframe is woody chipped up carbonaceous materials and sugars.

These were forests, once we deplete the carbon stored by a forest it needs another forest cycle to get it back naturally.  If you cant wait that long you better have a chopped up forest delivered. I take triaxle loads of woody trash.  I call tree and landscape people or just walk up to them in parking lots and give my number.


So.. Set aside ONE ROW.. Just one pass of the cultivator on the edge of one field.  Go find STUMP GRINDINGS.. They are magic.  Perfect blend of wood chip and dirt that has uncountable quantity of living biology already composting away by the time the truck dumps it.  Im serious, 2 hours after the stump is ground the pile in the truck is coming to my house and already heating. That bacterial activity. 2 days and its getting white fuzzies, micorhizal fungi.

Plop your grindings out a few inches thick on your designated fallow patch or row.  Go round up some seed.  Whatever kinda seed.  I harvest seed heads off just about anything and sort it only by warm season and cool season, just a mix of prolific wild stuff, maybe 20, 30 varieties i lose track.  Thats how nature does it. Here is a rooting depth chart by crop class

Crop Rooting Depth - UC Drought Management (https://ucmanagedrought.ucdavis.edu/Agriculture/Irrigation_Scheduling/Evapotranspiration_Scheduling_ET/Frequency_of_Irrigation/Crop_Rooting_Depth/)


Broadcast it ontop the woodchips, stomp or rake it in. Go to the aged compost pile with a mesh feed sack, put in a few scoops.   Stick that in a barrel of rain water under the gutter and plunge it around like a tea bag, water browns.   Now purge out the atv sprayer of chemical, put a tshirt and bungee cord filter over the hole and pour the tea in.  Dump in some honey, molasses or syrup,  This is sugars to help the fungi colonize more rapidly.. With no plants growing yet there are no root exudates to support them.  Why does maple rot to powder so fast?  Sugar to feed the fungi, that simple.  A maple will disappear before an oak loses the bark.  Come see the treehouse i built the kids for proof.

Go spray the woody strip with free magic sauce.

Leave it alone for a full year and dont mow it. thats easy enough right?  Do zero.  Let the whole thing go to seed and hand harvest those seed heads, it sounds like a chore but i promise it is therapeutic.. Its what i go do when i feel like punching somebody.  Im aggravated that all the seed is down now. Collect your seed for the next row.

Now the row that you started is gonna turn to chocolate cake completely full of earthworms and retained moisture with drought tolerance.  DONT TILL IT!  Dont spray it, dont fertilize it.  Use that strip as your research station to develop your zero input, zero effort, high dollar produce game.  Gabe brown says compaction goes away 1 inch per yer while cover cropping.  That just by planting, not with added woody material.  I just excavated my garden to put the pool there.  3yrs of lazy growing with woodchips and weeds in the same spot as my first year, total failure garden. and it was between 10 and 14 inches of cake i had to move by backhoe and wheelbarrow. 

   My compost box sitting on bare clay hardpan had subsoiled about 8 inches in 3 yrs. Like a sinkhole in a driveway.

In a year, choose the vegetables that had the most blight, disease or pest pressure in the history of this farm.  Start those seedlings in trays indoors, walk out to your unmolested, unmowed, grassy looking cake strip.   trample weeds by foot only where you are planting.  spread straw or woodchip or sawchip, stomp it down, insert spade, wiggle it, stick in your seedling just like pine plantation workers with a dibble bar.  Thats it.  As weeds emerge, more straw.  Never pull a weed. Just smother them.

Squirrels sowed the redwoods and  seqoias without pulling a weed or tilling. Weve been doing it wrong to our great detriment.  


If you just cant make the time for stump grindings plant switchgrass, panicum virgatum, a head high native prarie grass that buffalo trampled into the great plains for eons to make that fertile grassland.  It is a one time planting, grows in terrible soil with basically no inputs, and roots 8ft deep.  Takes 3 full years to become a mature stand, thick as bamboo.  It is the top biomass ethanol alternative to corn because its so dense and cheap to grow on bad land and doesnt need reseeding ever really.   You could roll that down every year and get your carbon put back in, as well as soften your compaction about knee deep. I dont think it will be as diverse as the stump grindings but its easy.  It can be cut off in bunches and laid down to decompose in the row right next to it or used as straw for mulching plants.  Theyve grown it at the experiment station and its some pretty soft black soil after a few years.  


Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 05, 2021, 05:09:09 AM
Dead tired and still cant flippin sleep!

Summer 2016 we land in TN flat broke after losing the 2 houses. Within weeks i hitch up the cub cadet to some brinley stuff with the kids surfing ontop for down pressure and cut my very first garden into the lawn.  Turnover plow then chisel then york rake then hand rake. Seedbed soft as can be.   Something is making me say 28 rows 6ft long, plus squash and mellon hills.. From seed packets all hand planted.  

Worked at it all summer, weeded it, toted water to it constantly. Everything sprouted and looked cute.  A few rains later starts dying one thing at a time. 100% failure at a terrible time for us, very disheartening.

I was so angry at that rock hard crusted yellow dirt that would grow every weed but no crop... that i dug it out with the bobcat and tossed it in the driveway as fill -the only thing it was good for- leaving a trench to remind me not to bother ever again.  

Well we dont have trash pickup and i dont wanna smell or try to burn rotting food so i made a compost bin.  like the hardhead i am, i went back to the trench determined to never stir up the sandy clay again.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0508181111.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636099436)



This is 5/17, starting over with all the pure compost i had to work with.  You can see all the bark in that pile.  I didnt mix it in at all and used it very sparingly.  If i had $10 idve bought some straw bales to mulch it, but i didnt. woodchips someone needed to dump is how i was coating the clay yard not to get stuck for lack of gravel, or track mud inside.  I put woodchips down to keep the precious little compost from washing away in our downpours.


There were plenty of issues but its put real food on our plates all season ever since.  Id pile all the yard junk overwinter and in spring it was black dirt that kept getting deeper.  Pure sawdust mulching onions here. Woody stuff and hot compost (grass, sawdust and food scraps) was the continual primary addition and i really didnt fertilize much at all, few handfuls in all those years.  Every summer there was green flowing out over the top of the fence that i was always trimming back. Theres a garden thread for that so im focusing on soil life here.. Note the dirt getting darker.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0528201214a.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636099491)


Hot summers, no AC.  Wife buys the kids a cheap pool kit on sale.  I had to move the garden.  This is excavating the lawn and topsoil right up to it.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0608211953_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636099629)
And this is the garden dirt.  
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0613211704_Film1-1-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636099626)


I struvk me that i really only added a few wheelbarrows of compost as i could make it, and woodchips.  I had never been to this depth.. All my work was piling ontop of crappy hardpan clay.. This black tilth sunk downward on its own without labor by me. 


As we got closer to the garden, the dirt got richer.  This black spot is just lawn outside the fence.. It has never been ammended by me, the microbial life spread there on its own, maybe from spillings between the compost bin and garden gate.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0608211916_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1623207136)


I moved all that good soil to this little wedge with some triple 10.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0518211607_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636103109)




Look what happened
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0802210640_Film1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1627908213)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0906211224-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1630959830)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0726211011b_Film1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1627331093)


There was triple 10 and one wheelbarrow of compost mixed into that bed.  No manures. No followup fertilizing, no weeding, herbicide, fungicide etc.  The squash vines were in the rows of that corn and it was way dense corn.  Nutrient competition didnt seem to hurt anything and if i forgot the rainwater tote hose was running i could never tell.  It wouldnt runoff or turn to mud. This crib would absorb 100 gallons of water and its 8 inches deep max, one season old.  That corn seemed to grow 6" every night.






Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on November 05, 2021, 07:46:43 AM
Turnips radishes and rye, all good things. If I remember correctly a few  folks back home planted sunflowers to help break up hard pan  in the soil when I was younger.  The issue was marketing the sunflower seed.  Probably would make good chicken feed.. Mostly folks just ran a deep ripper every 3 or 4 years. Nice black dirt Mike.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on November 05, 2021, 07:55:45 AM
 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/55256/20211104_110611.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636112993)


Nothing terribly special just a little mess of turnips picked from a food plot I have. I like them and wanted some fried greens, by next trip the tops will be froze off.  Easiest stuff to grow I think.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 05, 2021, 10:09:23 PM
Turnips radishes and rye, all good things. If I remember correctly a few  folks back home planted sunflowers to help break up hard pan  in the soil when I was younger.  The issue was marketing the sunflower seed.  Probably would make good chicken feed.. Mostly folks just ran a deep ripper every 3 or 4 years. Nice black dirt Mike.
The sunflowers peak my interest. I had noticed on my grain drill thereís a separate seeding chart inside the hopper lid just for them. They also might make a little extra revenue as we already plant some just for selling in bunches. Personally Iím not much of a flower guy but really enjoy them. Would like to see a field planted to them as part of a cocktail mix knowing theyíre out there working and not just looking nice. Iím definitely going to research this further.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 05, 2021, 10:33:24 PM
Yes they have an excellent tap root. Broilers will eat the seed quite readily, layers not so much. Cold pressing them to extract oil leaves behind a meal that makes an awesome bypass protein cattle feed. 

Dan McAmoil of Penokee, KS has done a lot with making home made diesel from the oil. Amazing guy, been to his place a few times, wealth of knowledge. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 05, 2021, 10:40:12 PM
Iíve noticed disking the ones we already grow they have an impressive root system. I need to look at some smaller seeded varieties thatíll make it through the drill without crushing the seed.
Itís very interesting looking at what farmers were doing 60-80 years ago. Some of the practices were way ahead of their time in my opinion. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 05, 2021, 11:02:28 PM
I have used my drill for them without issue. Is your 2 row a plate type? If so that's an easy solution. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 05, 2021, 11:16:05 PM
Itís a vacuum planter but that would definitely work. Incredibly versatile planter. Once I figure out the population guarantee I could set it with what I already have as far as disks and sprocket configuration.
Plant the sunflowers with it then run across it with the drill for the rest of the cocktail. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 06, 2021, 07:38:00 AM
Not only is sunflower an excellent soil breaker, but exceptional for luring pollinators in.  You cant have a good vegetable crop without stable pollination.  


Hand pollinate some of your cukes and squash this season.  Identify a male flower, pinch it off, de-flower it then go grind it around in the female flower sites.  


If you get really impressive fruit from this, your pollinator density is too low.  Mine sure was so i planted wildflower mix in the garden edges. White clover, chicory and white aster get a lot of bumblebee action.  I dunno what they are but theres still flowers out right now in november.  Crimson clover will flower profusely to feed bees around greenup in early spring.

Garden is done but bees still gotta eat.  Look into permanent 3 season flower beds and maybe even bee boxes.  Im pretty sure its gabe brown in ND that ships his bees south for winter and sells honey on farm.  Well, sells a ton of stuff.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on November 06, 2021, 07:46:32 AM
Too many miles on my memory (25 or 30 years) but I thought most were planted with a corn planter, JD 7000 series with the corn cups, probably international air planters too. I remember them being rowed not drilled. Pretty crop watching the heads follow the sun in late summer.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 06, 2021, 09:36:10 AM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1106210700.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636205530)


Whatever these are theyre frost hardy.  29 last nght.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on November 06, 2021, 01:47:03 PM
One of my neighbors plants sunflowers.  I tried it once as a double crop behind wheat.  Got my cost back for seed and the seed cups that I had to buy to plant them.  Grass was a problem.  Also turkeys, we had a large population of turkeys and they would jump on the biggest heads and knock them down and eat them.  Double crop seems to work best, late planting saves having to spray for head moths. I planted with a 1750 JD planter, and had to use a 653A row head to harvest the things.  They got too tall for a header with a reel.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 06, 2021, 01:56:42 PM
I used to plant a couple rows of sunflowers. The deer would eat the young heads as soon as they emerged and all i had left was stalks. Iíd probably have to plant at least two or three acres to have any chance of having a few get to maturity. 

A lot of people around here will plant a goodsized field of the black oil variety and bush hog them for dove hunting. 

I didnít know they had subterranean benefits. Interesting. I also learned about the benefits of radishes here just now.  What variety are yíall planting?  Iíve only raised the little red ones. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 06, 2021, 02:37:33 PM
Daikon radishes is what I planted. Forage radishes seems to be a very common name for them as well. Couldnít tell you if theyíre the same plant or not.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 06, 2021, 02:58:34 PM
There must be some significant variety with sunnies. When we planted them for seed I used a high oleic variety and any the deer ate came back with multiple, smaller heads to compensate for the loss.

T Raptor are a very aggressive tillage raddish, the grazing varieties have less off flavor to them along with a lot less impact on milk flavor. Definitely have to be careful with that.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 06, 2021, 08:09:00 PM
Iím still waiting for it to freeze hard so I can put cows on sorghum pasture. Thereís still a lot of juice in the stalks and itís not worth the poison risk. It was 28 here a few times. I canít believe itís still that green down low. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 06, 2021, 09:24:57 PM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1106210700.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636205530)


Whatever these are theyre frost hardy.  29 last nght.
Same here, same night, I thought you would be warmer. We where frost free through Oct. , same last year.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 06, 2021, 11:03:09 PM
Iím still waiting for it to freeze hard so I can put cows on sorghum pasture. Thereís still a lot of juice in the stalks and itís not worth the poison risk. It was 28 here a few times. I canít believe itís still that green down low.
Please correct me if Iím wrong but I thought risks of prussic acid and nitrate poisoning increased after a hard killing frost. Itís my understanding the leaves carry the highest levels. Or is there a waiting period and then the risk is not there? I have zero first hand experience grazing sorghum and speak strictly from reading about it.
I am very interested in it though and trying to learn. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 06, 2021, 11:44:36 PM
You are correct that the prussic acid issue increases after a hard frost, and during drought stress, but in the case of frost it disappates a few days after and becomes safe to graze again.  In the case of drought stress the plant is safe after you can see the drought stress has passed and the plant looks healthy and vibrant again.  We got our first hard frost (28F) night before last, so what is left of my Johnson Grass will be go again by Monday at the latest.  

The sorguhums are also nitrate accumulators so you want to be careful about growing it on heavily fertilized ground.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 06:27:27 AM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1106210700.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1636205530)


Whatever these are theyre frost hardy.  29 last nght.
Same here, same night, I thought you would be warmer. We where frost free through Oct. , same last year.
Though we are pretty far south, we are on the top of the plateau @2000ft in a little pocket of kentucky climate so just a bit to my east and west are more expected southern temp extremes in summer while ive got the cooler end of the spectrum in winter.   Just off the plateau spring leaves will be fully formed when mine are just baby leaves.  


We are on a rift sort of zone in terms of southern and northern weather clash, hence the tornados.  Wind from the south gives us abnormal warmth and vice versa. Once in a while the winds shift direction and the temp goes up and down quite a bit in a short span.  Jacket on off on off.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 07:11:54 AM
Shifting gears here i wanna share some results before i forget them.  In agriculture and the medical fields youve got conflicting sides.  Medical is eastern vs western, holistic vs pharmaceutical.  Agriculture is conventional vs regenerative i guess.  With so many credentialed experts that all sound legit you cant know who to believe until you try it and see for yourself.  


One of the small test plots im working on, call it bed 3, i quit mowing and let it get long then crimped it down to stimulate a high herd density.  Did this 2x a few months apart like a natural herd but i added no fertility or microbial life the way stock would.  my eyeball gauge said the soil quality did improve a bit.  Certainly crimping did not degrade anything and regrowth was fine. Elsewhere ive had crimping rough plants and briars allow finer grasses to come in.


Conventional ag says plow everything, regenerative ag leans toward dont plow anything.  So i plowed the entire bed to find out.  I was willing to cause a small setback to get the truth. a few days later i hand seeded a 3 way cover crop of winter wheat, austrian winter pea and crimson clover.  By then the surface had already crusted a bit and the seed just sat on top so i realize its my fault on the seeding delay, i shoulda done them back to back. But the soil crust (among many things) is still a huge detriment of tillage.

I ran the seed in with the 4 wheeler a bit the day i seeded but the winter pea was just too large to get incorporated.  Looked like a total loss a few days later so i ran an atv disc over it real fast trying to fling some dirt on the seed and salvage what i could by getting some soil contact. This is like a hand raking, very topical, it only scratches crusted dirt. The disc is a featherweight toy that doesnt sink in.

 A small corner that i couldnt effectively disc i lightly mulched with stump grindings by hand flinging from a wheelbarrow so it rained down on top like snow. Up to an inch thick at most in some spots.  

I guess its been a week and the disced up, bare soil side had almost zero germination. The seeds are sprouting, but taproots unable to break the crust to get rooted, and soon to die on the surface.  

The side that i mulched has a very good germination rate at a glance.  It appears to be comparable to the 2 other beds that i sowed the same day i tilled and raked up to a soft surface-  either mulched with grass and drove in to firm, or cultipacked with a full 15gallon smooth sided drum to firm without any mulching, just bare dirt.  I think that all 3 methods have shown to be acceptable so far based on pretty comparable germination.

Now to see which bed gets the highest growth before going dormant or which delays dormancy the longest.



Since the bare dirt portion of bed 3 seemed pretty doomed, i mixed up a small seed blend that is easy to incorporate, mostly brassica, hand raked a corner the size of a few queen matresses and raked that seed in.  Then i covered the entirety of bed 3 in stump grindings to see if the 3way seed mix could be salvaged from certain doom by woody mulchings more likely to encourage fungi than my regular compost which is probably bacterially dominated.



Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Al_Smith on November 07, 2021, 07:34:48 AM
Speaking of seeds .Usually I have a couple of bird feeders out in winter time .Come spring time I get some interesting types of stuff growing under them from the birds being sloppy .Maybe I could blame the squirrels . 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 07:49:10 AM
I made bird feeders for my old buddy up the road thats always bringing us food, i think hes 83.  I jacked his house up yesterday actually and forgot to bring home the sprouted greens from under the feeders for my chickens like i usually do.  Glad you reminded me.  The more i pick it the more it produces. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 08:21:19 AM
Youve gotta see the "check strip" in this vid 2 minutes in and how many overwinter weeds no longer need to be sprayed down to plant spring soybean.  Also i keep hearing "the haney test" measures the value of organic matter and saves a ton on fertilizers compared to university soil analysis. Shown in this one.

Treating the Farm as an Ecosystem Part 2 with Russell Hedrick - YouTube (https://youtu.be/RARFGkX3HBI)



In this next video at minute 30 ray archiletta explains how tilling a cover crop in causes a bacterial decomposition (and crusting and heavy nitrogen losses) while rolling it over the top causes a fungal decomposition with no losses. 

Soil & Diverse Cover Crops Final Parts UNCUT - YouTube (https://youtu.be/eWkDEL9jF5s)


I downloaded the soilweb app he recommends and it just changed my life.  I was gonna build a house on my best soil and try to clear and crop some of my worst.  I have about 1.5 acres at my back edge adjoining the pasture behind me, that is 85% lily loam with a bit less acid, more depth and double the average organic matter because of its flatness, it doesnt runoff.  classified as "all areas are prime farmland" by US geological maps, plus another big patch across the street thats been highgraded senseless. 

  Without this gps satelite viewer app there was no way id be able to find that patch of mine, ive read the static maps.  Theyre too broad.  In my area only little pockets fall into prime classes and theyre only about 5% of the region total.  Most is 1.4%om and this is 3% 

 What i cant find right now is the photo of growth rate differences in different F:B ratio soils i saw Last week, it was incredible.  Same day potted seedlings at different F:B ratios.  From runt to bumper crop. Microbes are what make soluble nutrients available. Purchasing fertilizer for a crop planted in the wrong ratio soils is just money down the drain.

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 07, 2021, 09:15:22 AM
Your bird feeder discovery is why 2/3rds of our birds ration is a whole seed product. The other 1/3 is a non GMO complete mash that is only fed under cover. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 09:40:57 AM
Are you sprouting the seed? Or do you mean they pass it and plant it for you?

I have fed quite a bit of whole corn and wheat seed that gets wasted.  Every other day i go into my compost bins and get half a bucket of broken down sawdust/food scrap mix and a handful of soldier fly larvae and toss it in the coop in different areas.  They scratch it in and cover the waste seed.  I think were about 3" deep now and im eager to see what theyve planted for me when i move the coop. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 07, 2021, 10:03:03 AM
No we don't sprout it, when cleaning out a brooder the larger hens will dig through the litter to find what is sprouted in there.  Just feed it whole, what they don't eat gets scrached in and eventually sprouts up and something eats it.  Generally they aren't big on straight wheat I find.  Seems the best consumption is a mix of millett, wheat, safflower, sunflower, fine cracked corn, and some milo.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 10:42:56 AM
Thats exactly whats in the local grown 7grain scratch i get from a mill in town.  I ferment that stuff and added in winter wheat since i had to buy a sack of it and wont live long enough to plant it all at this rate. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 07, 2021, 11:58:46 AM
You are correct that the prussic acid issue increases after a hard frost, and during drought stress, but in the case of frost it disappates a few days after and becomes safe to graze again.  In the case of drought stress the plant is safe after you can see the drought stress has passed and the plant looks healthy and vibrant again.  We got our first hard frost (28F) night before last, so what is left of my Johnson Grass will be go again by Monday at the latest.  

The sorguhums are also nitrate accumulators so you want to be careful about growing it on heavily fertilized ground.  
So do you think itís safe now that it was frosted a few times and itís all paper brown this morning. Some was green yet towards the bottom yesterday but not now. Itís old Christmas tree ground and I only put 40 pounds of 12-12-12 on it just because it was on sale so nitrogen should be no issues. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 07, 2021, 12:32:51 PM
My rule of thumb is 3 days after a killing frost. Always better to wait if unsure. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 07, 2021, 04:33:35 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/98ACE499-DF7C-4F62-A297-F0E512C8DA0E.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1636320635)
 Mike if this makes the ears on my corn so heavy I canít lift the bags Iím calling you :D
1/2 composted horse manure 1/2 sawdust and rotting bark. Spread right on top of my cover crop didnít till it in.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 06:58:49 PM
I hope it pulls the stalks over and you hafta grow them on pallets.  ;D


Dont forget to wizz on it.. Or spray something sugary. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 07, 2021, 07:24:22 PM
Howíd you know what I was doing behind the spreader tire from where youíre at?  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 07, 2021, 09:09:41 PM
Given any thought to just composting the horse and skipping several steps?  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 07, 2021, 09:37:01 PM
Not to be a critic or anything but ya might wanna get a bungee or something to keep the remotes out of the driveshaft. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 08, 2021, 12:23:21 AM
Given any thought to just composting the horse and skipping several steps?  :D
Thatís a question I will not answer in public  ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 08, 2021, 08:38:53 AM
I hope it pulls the stalks over and you hafta grow them on pallets.  ;D


Dont forget to wizz on it.. Or spray something sugary.
There is a difference.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Tom King on November 08, 2021, 09:05:39 AM
Monsanto is coming for you.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 08, 2021, 09:19:23 AM
Send em   ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 08, 2021, 12:52:41 PM
 :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 09, 2021, 11:54:18 AM
I dont think its been a week yet and the portion of plot 3 that i covered in a light film of stump grindings has shown signs of improvement.  The corner of that plot that i mulched in SGs shortly after seeding has great germination of wheat and clover so far, the best in my yard.  2nd place is the corn plot that i mulched in grass from bag mower, and in 3rd is the bare dirt bed that is rows of brassica overseeded entirely in clover to have thinning for the chickens.  

A billion little green heads have popped up on that bed but the soil crusted and it seems to be stalling growth.. I think the morning dew is evaporating instead of soaking it.  I just covered half that bed in SGs to test the difference.


I am very in favor of mulching right ontop of seed at this point.. I do have a lot of cardinals eating seed from the bed 1 every morning but im happy to see them.  It would be a factor if this was about money and heavy mulch would eliminate seed loss by bird.  


I wonder if variable mulching thickness could be used to time the ripening of something you want in small successive batches.  It certainly takes longer for emergence from a big clump of woody matter.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 12, 2021, 09:56:28 AM
@Firewoodjoe (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=24659) have you put your cows on the Sudan grass yet, how are they liking it?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 12, 2021, 06:47:56 PM
No I havenít. Thereís a large patch by a old hole that grew exponentially well. 9-12 feet tall Iíd say and itís still green. Wet juicy. Itís not worth the risk for me. My luck they will run straight to that patch and die lol  i was hoping to Sunday. Itís been below freezing a few times now. Itís a cross of Sudan and sorghum and sorghum has the prussic acid in it. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 12, 2021, 07:27:47 PM
Oddly enough my Johnson Grass is all brown and gone, but my Indian Grass, which is in the Sorghum family is still green and not showing any signs of stress from several frosts. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 13, 2021, 11:19:13 AM
Years ago i watched a few long covercrop discussions showing soil.changes and improved water infiltration rates.  Just recently stumbled onto the guy again, it is dave brant and he started covers in '77 on a dead farm in ohio. today he has like 22 inches of chocolate cake and grows pretty epic corn with low inputs.



Anyway he continually found that a legume alone is not as effective as say a legume and a grass or broadleaf.  It turns out the non nitrogen fixers basically take N off the legume who alone is only fixing enough N for his own needs.  But legumes are generous neighbors... When sown in combinations they will fix more N in larger nodules to share with the crowd.  So the right planting combos doesnt create nitrogen scarcity, but abundance.  

I will try corn, clover and cowpea this year.  


Another dave brandt thing is that his neighbors are trying to plant corn in april and burning through fuel tilling in crusted or and muddy bare soils.  Dave lets his winter covers get thick and tall.  In june rolls/drills into a firm dry field. Has charted fuel consumption for decades and saves 3-5gal per acre planting into a rolled cover.  His ground far outproduces the neighbors in B/acre even with shorter window.

The covers are swarming with insects when he rolls. Theyre in a balance that has allowed him to stop pesticide applications because the predator species keep the pest species under control.  3 days later dark green corn emerges from a wavy coulter slot in dense stubble without any N application. 


Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 13, 2021, 11:35:56 AM
No I havenít. Thereís a large patch by a old hole that grew exponentially well. 9-12 feet tall Iíd say and itís still green. Wet juicy. Itís not worth the risk for me. My luck they will run straight to that patch and die lol  i was hoping to Sunday. Itís been below freezing a few times now. Itís a cross of Sudan and sorghum and sorghum has the prussic acid in it.
Iíd be on the cautious side too especially with my luck  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 13, 2021, 11:38:11 AM
I was listening to a couple of Davidís seminars yesterday working in the shop. Smart guy. The cover crop bug has bit me hard. :D
Did you see some of his radishes  :o
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 13, 2021, 12:16:31 PM
Yeah they look like prosthetic limbs!   ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 16, 2021, 09:31:58 AM
Forage Crops for Maximum Livestock Nutrition with Paige Smart - YouTube (https://youtu.be/c_EglHtWlyE)


i have gained a lot of unique info from Paige Smart in this video, part 1 and 2.  its primarily grazing forages but much much stuff i have not come across in a solid year of studying up, all in one spot.  i will watch this one over and over through the years.

my winter wheat came up first then kinda paused.  wherever the little baby clover and winter pea has come up with it, the wheat is back on a growth spurt and thickening.  so its starting to look obvious now that its been pointed out to me where to actually look, that the wheat is getting nitrogen from the legumes and not from the dirt.  this is the bed where the corn sucked up what little fertility i had started it on and never added anything additional.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 16, 2021, 11:23:01 AM
The legumes after corn is a smart move in my opinion. It takes good ground to grow good corn. I enjoy growing it but thereís no doubt in my mind itís harder on the ground than anything else we plant. Just sucks up everything. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 16, 2021, 01:19:47 PM
im pretty sure i said it here earlier and iirc its gabe brown who grows corn with legume.  i wanna say cowpea interseeded and it increases corn yields.  then youve got extra tonnage in the stubble to graze off and no bare ground.  between combining the corn and putting the cows out would be a good time to broadcast a winter cover mix for the cows to mash in.

and now im getting foggy on where i encountered that the more demand on a legume the more it fixes nitrogen nodules.. not only larger but also more potent.  if you dig up a root and find the little balls then crack them open, pink vs green shows how much fixation is going on.  the legume doesnt take that much itself so seeded alone the nodules will be small and i think its green.  when mixed with heavy feeders the non legumes make synergistic deals and demand for more nitrogen off the legume. i guess that explains why my crimson and rye did so well this past spring.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0511211644_Film3~0.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637086661)




thats may 11th, seeded in fall.  middle of the woods, just on the side of a logging trail under a thinned but pretty full canopy other than the road.  no lime or fertilizer.  not prime dirt by any means other than a high fungal content. 


just around the corner with a little more light but otherwise same with the exception that i scalped the topsoil off 3x or so in the past and piled it for a while.  to plant, i raked a few inches off the corner of that pile onto basically a clay road bed then seeded.  
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0511211637_Film3~0.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637086610)

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on November 16, 2021, 01:52:26 PM
Another way to look at legume/N fixation;  If soil already has adequate N, little fixation.....poor, infertile soil, plenty of N fixation.

All over the natural world are such relationships.  Even just using chemical fertilizers can all but eliminate most mycorrhizal fungi.  Little need by parent plant for such fungal associates when soil already rich in nutrients.  It would be a bit like a human taking vitamins, but with no actual knowledge of whether or not said vitamin(s) is or are in short supply.  There will be no response where there was no deficiency.

Gotta wonder Mike if the guy you reference isn't one and the same as farmer I saw on tv recently-very much the iconoclast-going WAY against common big-ag practice.  I can't recount all now but one thing really stood out-he grows corn only where soil indicates already adequate N and other nutes!  Talk about a different approach!  Most big (and medium [and most small, heehee]) farmers happily send their topsoil into the ditches and streams every spring and then again in the fall.  Chocolate pudding after every heavy rain or snow melt.  Going.....going....gone!  That topsoil was just a place to hold the chemicals.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 16, 2021, 06:09:37 PM
A better time to sow your cover crop into corn is right before it closes together. The rains will beat the seed into the soil and it will sit there in the shade all summer and do nothing. About the time the corn starts to dry down and more sun hits the ground it germinates.  By the time the corn is off your cover crop is 6" tall and going full steam ahead. Eliminates bare soil and really reduces late summer weed pressure such as Palmer Pigweed. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 16, 2021, 07:19:10 PM
Iím looking to experiment next year with the corn. Thinking about a clover Sudan grass buckwheat mix put on as I cultivate. What I donít want is it to get too high. We hand pick everything so knee high or anything above your ankles really becomes a pain when picking. Timing of planting it would be key. 
When it was done being picked Iíd like to just bush hog it off and let the sun have at it. 
Read good things about yellow sweet clover being put in this way. 
That was done with field corn however. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 16, 2021, 08:26:40 PM
I think the Sudan might be competition. If you could precision plant it and the corn was say 36" to 40" rows then I wouldn't be as concerned. 

Yellow sweet will get tall and "brushy" for lack of a better term. Up your way a crimson / annual white clover mix would likely give you a one / two punch. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 16, 2021, 09:51:18 PM
YSC is very stemmy.  i have it growing wild, over my head in spots.  youd need a machete to walk through a mature stand of it and then itd be trailing behind your ankles.  high stepping required. 

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 16, 2021, 09:53:21 PM
The Sudan competition is something Iíve thought about hard  Stuff works well for me in this ground would like it to work but in that application not so sure. Iím banking on red clover this year for sure, have 100 acres of it planted at about 10#\acre mixed in my cocktails now.

Ideally  like to put something in at the last cultivation that would be it for the summer and carry through the winter as well, by just bush hogging the corn down and leaving it. The vlume of trash on top of the cover is another issue. That would eliminate a bunch of field field work.

I plant on 30Ē rows while itís easy to adjust the planter I like that spacing. Sweet corn by nature doesnít shade the row like field corn near as well, if I went wider the natural weed suppression would be compromised in my opinion. Have toyed with putting the early plantings on 24Ē spacing just to help shade the row better. The early varieties donít germinate as well nor do they produce as much foliage. Weeds in the early corn are a real issue.

The ď brushyĒ nature of the yellow makes me hesitant to interseed it. Thereís enough work picking as it is without making walking miserable.
Do have about an acre and half thatís mostly yellow with a little red and a few radishes mixed in. Plan to let the yellow just about reach maturity then disk it in and plant the ground with no fertilizer at all. Certainly a trial run into uncharted territory for these parts.
What Iíve read on yellow clover is a good stand planted  at 20-25#\acre puts between 125-150 pounds of N to the acre into the ground. If thatís actually the case growing cheaper to us corn is a reality. Time will tell.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 16, 2021, 09:59:38 PM
YSC is very stemmy.  i have it growing wild, over my head in spots.  youd need a machete to walk through a mature stand of it and then itd be trailing behind your ankles.  high stepping required.
I always have a machete in my truck or tractor during the season but have no desire to use it picking corn   ;D. Also high stepping with a bag of corn in front of me no longer sounds like fun either. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 16, 2021, 10:47:19 PM
I think Abruzzi Rye planted at your last cultivation would be fine.  Sudan is going to grow in the same weather as your corn. Abruzzi is going to sit there and wait for the days to shorten and cool more before it really takes off, then as you said - it's done after the stalks are addressed.  That would make for great fall stocker feed.  Protein in the rye / clover mix and dry matter in the corn stover.  

Down this way Abruzzi will run about $11 / BU, plant 2 to the acre.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 16, 2021, 10:49:42 PM
Iíll be reading up on that. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 16, 2021, 10:56:22 PM
FWIW in the spring I will leave strips of winter annual - Abruzzi, Gulf Rye Grass, etc. ungrazed and let it go to seed.  The next round it's hard seed and the cows spread it for me. Most years even without that I will get 30%-50% seed production on the second or third rotation anyway so I get a lot of "free seed" every year.  That "free seed" begins to germinate around October after the warm season grasses have run out, they don't compete at all with the warm season stuff even though they are there in the soil the whole time.  Same thing happens with my crab grass, it goes to partial seed ususally once during the summer, and again in late September / October, but none of that germinates until probably May or so. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 01:30:57 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/54E6B2F1-81DC-4E13-BC73-4A2A57375F56.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637173786)
 
Bring on the nutrients 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 17, 2021, 02:30:04 PM
awesome.  i just looked those guys up.  seems like they do a pretty tidy business.  did bulk order get you below the $10/yd theyre advertising?


i hope it works out well.  a yard of fertilizer would sure cost a lot more and wont do the microbial life any favors. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 07:28:39 PM
Not sure if you looked up the same guy Iím dealing with. There appears to be quite a few Martin farms within in trucking distance  :D . The first one that came up for me was a composting facility. These folks are out of Ghent NY. Been great to deal with so far and  seems quite knowledgeable.  Heís charging by the ton. 25/ton delivered not sure exactly but guessing works out to around 15/yard? 
Got to look at the fertilizer bill for this year :o :o, oh my. Can only imagine what itís headed for next year.  The savings to the farm is potentially phenomenal if this works out. If it doesnít most likely will be looking for work. 

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 17, 2021, 08:00:05 PM
If it doesnít most likely will be looking for work.


Air conditioned cab tractor.....:D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 08:09:12 PM
 :D :D Is ďlayeringĒ frowned on if it got too cold in the cab? :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 17, 2021, 08:25:55 PM
I get the feeling that itís going to work out. Iím looking forward to seeing the results.  popcorn_smiley
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 17, 2021, 09:02:46 PM
Martins farm compost out of greenfield.  $10/yd for just straight chip.  

Im sure youre moving in the right direction.  If you whip up a compost tea and innoculate the pile itll go even further toward fungal decomposition instead of bacterial which the voices in my head are saying would be good.  Even just adding some punky fluffy oak debris from the nearest rotten log would ensure a quicker micorhizal breakdown. You dont want this to be a hot steamy compost.  Thats bacteria.  


I will bet your earthworm count jumps right up by spring.  

I cant remember if it was gabe brown or dave brandt who made the claim that a certain amount of earthworms can completely "turn" your soil in X amount of time.  So i watched some glass window earthworm composting timelapses.  Holy cow they really do spin dirt around. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 17, 2021, 09:16:40 PM
Man have you checked into the cost to have 2,4-D and Roundup aerial applied from an un numbered and un lit helicopter at night, in June, there in your neck of the woods?  I was a bit surprised but consider it to be a good recrutiment investment.  At least he takes bitcoin.  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 10:39:11 PM
If youíre going to that extent have em throw some gramoxone and hell-fire in with the mix. Whatís a little more bitcoin  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 10:47:28 PM
Martins farm compost out of greenfield.  $10/yd for just straight chip.  

Im sure youre moving in the right direction.  If you whip up a compost tea and innoculate the pile itll go even further toward fungal decomposition instead of bacterial which the voices in my head are saying would be good.  Even just adding some punky fluffy oak debris from the nearest rotten log would ensure a quicker micorhizal breakdown. You dont want this to be a hot steamy compost.  Thats bacteria.  


I will bet your earthworm count jumps right up by spring.  

I cant remember if it was gabe brown or dave brandt who made the claim that a certain amount of earthworms can completely "turn" your soil in X amount of time.  So i watched some glass window earthworm composting timelapses.  Holy cow they really do spin dirt around.
Iíll be looking into the compost guys. Those loads are chicken manure, slightly hotter than compost. plan on spreading around 4 tons/acre on corn ground and eliminating 80 percent of the fertilizer application the first year. Call me crazy thatís what Iím trying.
The landowner those loads are on already told me it wonít work. Challenge accepted.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 17, 2021, 11:15:30 PM
Do you need a nutrient management plan there to use manure? 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 17, 2021, 11:19:31 PM
nice.  i am confident it will work much better if spread on the surface overwinter and undisturbed until you seed in whatever is next, rather than tilled in. i had stump grindings dumped here maybe 2, 3 weeks ago.  its already turning to dirt. 

the chipped branch pile from the powerline ROW clearing guys last week is quite steamy.. my dogs have been digging holes into it and sleeping on top at night.  not a bad idea. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 17, 2021, 11:20:48 PM
Man have you checked into the cost to have 2,4-D and Roundup aerial applied from an un numbered and un lit helicopter at night, in June, there in your neck of the woods?  I was a bit surprised but consider it to be a good recrutiment investment.  At least he takes bitcoin.  :D
uhh.. do what now?   :D
nutrient management plan for manure?  what a crock of shhh..   ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 17, 2021, 11:41:37 PM
From what Iíve been able to find out thereís no nutrient plan needed. When you get into some of these larger confinement  facilities they fall under different guidelines. All dairies in this state arenít supposed to spread any manure after the 15th of December I believe is. Not sure when it comes off in the spring. Not a fan of that regulation.
There is certain guidelines for spreading on produce ground depending on the crop. Different manures have a different number of days they can be applied prior to harvest. Those all seem logical and very easy to abide by.
All season I spread fresh  horse manure yet I will not put it anywhere near a field with marketable crops in it. It all went on fallow or cover cropped ground.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 18, 2021, 12:01:15 AM
regarding manures. 

Bio Minerals Technologies on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/channels/1067183)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 18, 2021, 12:21:48 AM
The longer it sits on the surface the more nitrogen you loose to ammonia volitization. Not to mention with hen dressing the more neighbors you tick off. 

The December 15th rule is basically universal in that the idea is you don't spread onto frozen ground. Doing so results in nitrogen leaching into surface water, algae blooms, etc. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 18, 2021, 06:57:42 AM
Kens claim in the vid i linked above is basically that the only way a single manure application is going to reduce fertilizer inputs long term is if its contribution is correct microbial life, not NPK.  Spread raw it is pathogenic and anaerobic which is why nutrients volatize off as ammonia, phosphine gas, methane and hydrogen sulfide.  Lethal in confinement.  

I would compost it with moldy hay, straw, leaves, woodchips, old pumpkins etc etc.  Aerobic material is important.  It needs turned.  

One could trial both ways to figure out if its true or not. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 18, 2021, 10:25:26 AM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1118210827.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637247891)


atomic breakdown of all elements in plant matter suggests carbon makes up 40x more plant tissue than nitrogen.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0812201400~2.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1597258694)


Elaine Ingham claiming silt sand clay and pebbles possess sufficient N for plant growth if the biological components required to release them are present

Do You Need to Remineralize Soils? featuring Dr. Elaine Ingham - YouTube (https://youtu.be/08v-0j9U-Ck)

Nitrogen breakdown flow chart from a researchgate paper.  Seems to support the claims that the form of nitrogen microbial life ties up is not plant soluble anyway, until the microbes are done digesting it and each other.  I dont fully understand that so forgive me if im wrong.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637248145577.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637247975)




Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 18, 2021, 10:00:52 PM
 
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/489486BD-DDEB-425E-A109-02644F066EB2.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637290051)
 (https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/F997DFD5-0464-4F15-95A8-E794B40C941A.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637289900)
 
These strips are 40-50í apart in the same field. Planted on the same day. With the same mix wheat red clover and daikon radishes. Both grew the same crops.  The top one had composted horse manure and half the suggested rate of fertilizer used prior to planting the original crop. Was also disked up well just before cover went in.
Bottom picture had the suggested amount of fertilizer used with no compost. The strip was disked probably 2-3 weeks prior to planting and let sit then went in and ď no-tilledĒ the cover in.
The difference is dramatic, radishes are 1 1/2 to 2Ē diameter and 8-10Ē long. Wheat is 12-16Ē tall , the clover understory has leaves the size of dimes. Everything is very lush and healthy looking. 
The other one wheat is 6-8Ē, radishes 1/2 -3/4Ē , 4-6Ē long the clover has leaves are the size of a paper punch. All the foliage just doesnít have a healthy look to it 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 18, 2021, 10:28:39 PM
I get the feeling that itís going to work out. Iím looking forward to seeing the results.  popcorn_smiley
I donít remember if it was in this thread or not, appreciate you questioning the recommended fertilizer rates. The answers that were given when I asked the hard questions really made me start questioning them and looking elsewhere. Definitely keep you posted. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 18, 2021, 11:24:21 PM
100 likes on your results.

What is the bare dirt from ? disking ahead of a planter?  

Did you take any pics of the covers up close?  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 18, 2021, 11:37:57 PM
I think that discussion was in your first post when you were saying how much fertilizer you were putting down at planting. Thereís just no way the N put down would still be available in the soil 4-6 weeks after planting when it would be beneficial. It is certainly beneficial to the fertilizer vendor though!

Looks like youíre on the way to some better methods though. The chicken manure/straw mixture mentioned a few replies back is magic if you can get enough.  I think ideally you still need some N applied when itís about past your your knee high.  The good thing is, the leaf color tells you how the N is holding up. If itís deep green youíre good, and if itís lighter green or looking a little yellow, thereís not enough N. 

The soil improvement being discussed in this thread is very interesting and itís not something I know much about, but it seems like it should be pursued. I do know thereís a lot of discussion about it now in big ag and the benefits beyond the standard fertilizer approach that is the SOP now in commercial corn and bean production. Iím learning more about it in this thread, but itís all new to me.

Youíve got a bit of a tightrope to walk since your making changes to the farms methods that are producing predictable results, so good on ya for taking on the challenge. If thatís wood chips I see you dumping on now, make sure you keep an eye on the pH impact and make corrections in advance and not after the fact.

All very interesting and Iíll be interested to see how things turn out (and how much your fertilizer costs go down!).
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 12:15:38 AM
Please dont misinterpret your results..  That manure didnt increase the vigor of your cover crop because of nitrogen.  The magic that you added was carbon and aerobic microbial innoculation.  The 3 way cover had some synergistic diversity that helped demand more atmospheric N be fixated by the clover to feed the wheat and radish, and the root exudates from that cover fed the microbial life that you brought in with the manure.  


I hope your next comparison no matter how small, is rolling or trampling that cover down and planting into it with no soil disturbance.  Please please please try it.  ONE SHEET of plywood laid on the cover crop for 3 days and hand plant or foot stomp in your next cash crop in that one tiny spot just to show the owner the difference between tillage and drilling into terminated cover.  it is a huge difference in every single control group comparison i have encountered.  i have yet to see a video showing how it did not produce incredible results. 


That tillage is killing fungi, earthworms, soil structure, embedded oxygen capacity and water infiltration and storage rates.  I proved it to myself by plowing this year and setting things backward immediately.  Had to see for myself. Yup, mistake.

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 19, 2021, 07:57:57 AM
N.W.G., that can't be N.H., there are no rocks :D.         Nice fields.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 08:25:46 AM
All good points Mike.  Eliminating tillage has so many benefits that it canít be ignored. 

The necessity of N availability in the proper amounts has to be taken into account too.  Best yield N rates is well known through many studies and test plots at major universities all over, so the target is well defined. 50 lbs N/acre at planting and 100-120 lbs N/acre when N uptake peaks starting at the six leaf stage. Then the question becomes how to make the N available in the right amounts at the right times. 

Iím learning about some of those new (actually old) ways here in this thread. The challenge for NWG is to transition to new methods and not negatively impact production or the bottom line. 

A couple good reads: 

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/organic-sweet-corn-production (https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/organic-sweet-corn-production)

https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/NitrogenMgmt.pdf (https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/NitrogenMgmt.pdf)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 19, 2021, 09:10:37 AM
N.W.G., that can't be N.H., there are no rocks :D.         Nice fields.
Certainly not N.H, I take it youíve seen that farm land. Chunks of granite with a little clay mixed in where Iím from  :D . This ground is in southern mass.
That little valley is about 20 acres nice ground but needs some work. Picked 2 stones down there this season, one clinker and the other one wouldnít have hurt anything but got bored disking and wanted to stretch my legs. ;D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 19, 2021, 10:00:19 AM
@btulloh (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=29962) you certainly understand the situation Iím up against. Canít argue the fact the practices used here in the past are what built this place. Been trying different methods without disrupting the supply chain so to speak, Iím not comfortable banking on any one practice without some sort of backup plan. Thereís enough challenges to this farming deal that canít be controlled without adding my mistakes to the mix. 
The only real capital investment thatís been made is a grain drill and a wider selection of cover crop seeds. That saved me one pass over 100 acres. Value of that ? No idea but the fuel and time savings alone was noticed by the boss. Figured out the savings on mixing my own cocktail of seeds (and finding a different source)saved somewhere around 1500-2000 dollars over last years rye seed bill. Running them through a drill you use less than broadcasting n scratching them in as well with a better catch.
Not my money however the return on investment was pretty fast in my opinion. 
Three things that make me very leery about a total transition to a complete no-till ďregenerative ď system. 
1- no one that I know of is doing it with the diversity of crops that are here. Corn and pumpkins yes Iíve seen good results. 
2-There is no talk from these guys that are very good at it about the financial struggles during the transition period. Their systems work for them but take time to achieve. Again theyíre growing different crops. 
3- The capital investment is huge on this scale. Made some major repairs to equipment and finally working with decent equipment. Wouldnít mind using it versus working on it all the time. The equipment here was ROUGH when I started. Like to see a return to the farm on money already spent on repairs and upgrades
By no means am I sayin everything Iíve done is correct some of it has produced results though. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 10:05:06 AM
great work bronado.  you getting energized to experiment justifies the time i spend typing away in this thread.  thank you for sticking your neck out.

Update Your Browser | Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NoTillOnThePlains/videos/359637832555206/)


does this show 2 mason jars for you guys? the soil clod on the left is held together by living organisms that "glue" soil constituents into an aggregate and hold it there in downpours.  the tilled one on the right is obviously an example of how new orleans was built by the midwestern farmer.  i urge you to show the boss and run your own trials.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 10:14:06 AM
10-4 on the crop diversity. I havenít seen anything about no-till on anything other than corn, wheat, and soybeans. Root crops and leaf crops would be a whole Ďnother thing. I suppose it would require separate areas for no-till corn from the other stuff. What youíve got going there is a scaled up version of what i used to do here when I was raising a big garden and a couple acres of sweet corn - working up the whole thing and planting all the various things.  I didnít have any bottom line to worry about though since it was just a hobby thing. I gave a lot of produce away but I never made a nickel on any of it.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 10:20:49 AM
 I gave a lot of produce away but I never made a nickel on any of it.
oh i know someone who keeps a ledger on such things. good on you sir. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 10:34:16 AM
Well thatís why it was worth the effort. Not to mention things like pecan pies and such that got dropped off by the ladies I gave stuff to.  So there were many benefits, just not monetary. I donít miss trying to keep up with picking fifty tomato plants and a hundred pepper plants though. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 10:35:50 AM
getting along with the neighbors is always the right way to live. tall fences have cost this country a lot in goodwill lost. 

alrighty, this one is NC late fall early winter.  note the neighboring cow pasture grazed to dust.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1119210919.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335216)


this is a check strip down the center of an overwinter cover crop mix


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1119210919a.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335182)


the cover crop was rolled and planted in soybean in may and the photo was taken in june. it shows how much weed pressure was suppressed by the rolling of a cover.  the check strip is left alone and you can see the last of the cereal grass mat remaining where the soy hasnt poked through yet.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1119210919b.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335185)


i imagine it woulda took a lot of tillage or spray for the soy seed to emerge through that overwinter weed bed. thats an extra pass no matter how you look at it. how many bushels come off the top to put the fuel in at $4 diesel?  how many bushels to pay for spray and laborer wage?  how many bushels for fertilizer expense?

he is planting into that cover crop with a conventional planter and laying the cover down with literally a fencepost dangling by chains off the front bumper to lay the cover.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 10:51:27 AM
next up.  tally up the value of inputs those radishes gets you in micros and macros in addition to soil armor and deep tilling. 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637334245157.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335306)


 they put a root down to a new depth in compacted soils, one where a root didnt exist.  now that a root is there root exudates flow down into a deeper soil layer and pave the way for the microbial life that will feed on this liquid carbon, amino acid whateverall the root is leaking out that attracts the biology to dig deep and repair that compaction.

btulloh you beat me to it with your link this morning, showing a diminishing return on N applied to corn after corn. 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637334015906.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335301)



 

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 19, 2021, 10:59:48 AM
Like anything the solution is balance. No-till is an excellent practice, until your soil is rock hard and moisture just runs off of it. Your only weed control becomes chemical in many cases.

Mold board plowing is great for turning under sod, but will create a plow pan in the right conditions and again cause issues with water and root infiltration.

Vertical tillage is a good compromise when used with a constant crop / green manure system that can build soil and give you non chemical control of weed pressure.

Often the solution is a combination of all of the above. I used an offset disc to breakup no-till corn ground this fall and put it into alfalfa. The plan is to leave it that way for 5 years. Might then put in a Sudan X crop for one season then back to alfalfa. Conditions at that time will decide. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 11:11:50 AM
Good info. 

The radish contribution blows me away. I like to eat radishes but I never knew what the could bring to the party. Wow.

Mike, what about N volatility over time? Any comparison of how different types of N sources last in the ground?
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 11:57:01 AM
these next 3 are a bit disturbing when we look at the dates.  it seems that somehow, someone or somemany rather, managed to keep some pretty handy info suppressed for most of a century.  i know we had ww1, the great depression and ww2 to thank for the corporatization and consolidation into big Ag from subsistence farming.  the availability of information was much more challenging until now, but we had the land grant university system from lincoln's day that was supposed to use extension service to educate the unwashed redneck masses.  i dont know who to point the finger at but 2 things come to mind.  one is the memory of a scientist interview where the researcher describes the changes that occurred to his industry when "global warming" showed up.  since everything is run on grants, he could no longer just be studying the mating habits of squirrels.  it had to be the mating habits of squirrels with respect to global warming or the project would not get funded. the central pocket book forces the science industry to become believers or become bankrupters. 

the second thing that comes to mind when i contemplate this, is that all the fertilizers and various blank-0-cides have bought an awful lot of pretty shiny things with the farmers' checkbook in the last century, while he got old and broke and sold out to a subdivider to pay for senior medical care. bit of an outrage when ya think of it, an institutional scale fleecing. 


so by 1912 american research concluded successful yields could be had without N additions using legumes in coplantings.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637333960208.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335320)


we knew by the 1930s that white roots matter.  note the middle column is the quantity of microbes found in immediate area of plant roots vs just randomly out in the soil.  it takes a plant at all times to keep dirt alive, period. and this is OLD news that everyone should know.  the common person knows more about a celeb they will never meet than the food they will die in a few weeks without. this shows that clover is one lively son of a gum.  1.13 billion microbes are found per one gram of root mass. 
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637333940123.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335319)



this one i am still confused on as rick haney glossed over it in a few seconds on a presentation video.  i will try to find his email to get clarification.  i think it shows us that by 1934, we understood that tillage absolutely massacres the quantity of microbes in a soil. lucerne is alfalfa, a legume.  i believe this is showing us when you till the microbes in the soil cannot live away from the root mass any longer so any dirt without a living root becomes lifeless.  im not sure if it suggests that the tilled soil microbes die or that they just lunge over to the nearest root.



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637333988942.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335308)


if i were selling synthetic fertilizers and found this information, the first thing i would do is ensure every single bag says "step 1:  till the seedbed"  


 and i will paraphrase in a little more i have picked up in my travels. without microbial life, naturally occurring minerals in the soil are not converted to plant soluble form.  all these little micro bugs that eat each other have a C:N ratio to their composition.  if critter A needs a 3:1 ratio and it feeds on another critter that has a 1:1 ratio then it has to eat 3 of them, arriving at a 3:3 C/N ratio that it cant maintain so and it then farts out the two spare nitrogens in plant soluble form.


this next one is from rick haneys research in the 1990s.  today he is the guy pretty famous for "the haney test" which apparently is saving farmers tremendous amounts of money by crediting the nitrogen already present in the soils thereby reducing N input and still getting the same yield.  basically not wasting fertilizer that the co-op test will insist you purchase.  his tests are radically, radically different than conventional soil tests and he was completely rejected by the university system early on (with a PHD in soil and working as a Ag Research Service agent for USDA!) 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1637333916073.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637335327)


plotting carbon release on 3 different soil sites that increase in fertility as you go down.  so thats why we need well draining soils, aha! the dirt doesnt cycle carbon and nutrients if it doesnt have wet and dry cycles. i guess that explains why irrigation pays. why cover crops that are slick with morning dew in between rain events pay. the larger the biomass of a big green fluff of plant matter, the more surface area to collect frost and condensate to moisten the soil that will be dried in the afternoon sun and wind then moistened again by the morning dew.  the more protection from frost, the slower the thermal cycling etc etc.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 12:13:05 PM

Mike, what about N volatility over time? Any comparison of how different types of N sources last in the ground?
i personally have absolutely no idea on any of this, im clueless. just repeating information i consumed. i read too much to remember, and then type the most pertinent of what i read as a memory exercise, since im losing a lot of it.  plus then i can go back to the thread in a year and read my own highlights when i dont remember any of it.  someone says a topic and ding.. someone else research tidbit pops up and i can type it, it may be right or wrong.  but i still dont really know anything. 
the conventional system educators and salesman obviously all say it gasses off. ken hamilton just popped in my head and i think i linked his vid a few pages back about manure applied raw vs composted that details this.  he says volatilized raw manure gasses are from aerobic putrification, that they are toxic, if i am getting it right. he manufactures microbial products to convert anaerobic manure lagoons to aerobic.  they boil and swirl, i bet it smells awful! ken says you dont buy manure for nitrogen.  you buy it for microbes and they are poisonous ones until you aerobically compost it. 
i think yesterday i read an organic certification requirement preventing the spreading of raw manure to 120 days prior to a crop harvest but none for composted.  that seems to support the belief in folks besides ken that fresh manure microbial life needs a rest period to do something or other.  i think youre gonna volatize the N by the time whatever that is happens regardless. 
as for urea and anhydrous ammonia i have no idea. im sure i can find those who says its a miracle and others who says its a cancer.  i know ammonia refrigerant almost killed me at the scrap yard so i will have none of that in my shed or my salad. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 12:15:24 PM
if your N comes from legumes i dont think there is any losses to worry about.  i am gonna learn how to not pay the co-op for anything but seed.  if there is more yield in some other way i dont care one bit. i want mine free. god made the garden long before the fertilizer plant showed up and im sticking to it. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 12:20:21 PM
Well urea and anhydrous are generally said to last about thirty days or so under optimal conditions. I donít know anything about the natural sources. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 12:56:02 PM
with "regenerative" practices it presently seems to me youd have about 3 choices and are probably best used together in the effort to avoid buying N.

1. plant a nitrogen consumer with a nitrogen fixer during the growing season so that the legume is loaded with demands from the cash crop and produces larger nodules of atmospheric nitrogen that go to the cash crop.  

2.  always feed the soil biology with living root exudates and decaying organic matter/carbon so that there is an abundance of microbial life respirating plant soluble nutrients.  eating each other and farting out the excess.

3 is kind of a 2B.. promote micorhizal fungi at all times.  plant roots are limited in their outreach in the search for nutrients but fungal networks are not. google says the largest living thing on earth is a 2300 acre fungus in the malheur national forest that is entirely interconnected.  

my friend grows giant pumpkins for competition, on a pallet. they get moved by forklift.  its not got anything to do with how much N you inject, but how large of a mycorhizal network you can grow.  one pumpkin requires a bed the size of his house and it cannot be disturbed.  sugar and wood chips grow fungus and it definitely changed my gardening experience.  the left side of my garden was always larger than the right.  when i relocated it i discovered a white fuzzy path right into my dirt floor compost bin 10 feet away.  like a maple across the yard drinking from the leachfield.  i started the bin on rock hard clay.  it was chocolate cake 6" below grade when i moved it.


gabe brown is in the dakotas and with only 11 inches rain a year and like 200 days below freezing or something terrible like that, he still manages to grow sweet corn i believe, with cowpea interseeded to feed nitrogen to the corn. i know he is no till, i think he is no fertilizer and iirc occasionally sprays down a cover.  i may be off a bit on some of that as its hard to keep track of all these different producers but i think youd get some good info from his talks. ray archuletta is like a ring leader of all these people.  pretty sure dave brandt is no fertilizer either.  rolling covers in ohio since 77.


i will be testing it all this summer with zero fertilizer or chemical and the minimal ground disturbance i can manage. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 19, 2021, 01:08:47 PM
Percentage of organic matter plays a large roll in tying up nutrients to be available for plants be it grown or applied. I have no scientific proof just my own thought. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 01:42:21 PM
True dat, NWG.

Mike, the N is really for plant and leaves and general vigor. K is for the fruit and P is for blooms.  Thatís a way over-simplification, but easy to remember.  And then thereís the micronutrients and beneficial fungi and soil composition and pH that youíve been working on.  Pretty deep subject and I only know enough to be dangerous.

I listen the Rural Radio channel on Sirius if Iím in the car during the day. A lot of crop reports, prices and futures, and news related to ag. Not a bad listen and no drama, just facts and info.  Afternoons tend to be devoted to soil fertility, pest management, best practices, etc.  Some things are a bit like infomercials and some are general research related. Not a must-listen thing, but generally informative and better than politalk or music you hate. Anyway, some of these same things get covered that are in this thread. Some if itís big ag and some itís the more natural practices.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: wisconsitom on November 19, 2021, 02:22:56 PM
Biggest gripe about no-till here in the north is slow spring soil warmup.

There's an even bigger patch of fungus-Armillaria, or honey mushroom up in the UP.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 02:57:51 PM
honey mushroom, thats the one i googled.  

the first link was the forest service saying the biggest one is in oregon but not living in either state im not gonna get in a rick measuring contest about it.

;D


just to reiterate, none of this is me.  i have only succeeded in growing corn one season in my life and it was dent corn from a sack of deer feed. but i ate it anyway.  shows how smart i am!  

the world is changing fast and food cost is outpacing my non-existent income.  kids are growing faster than the paychecks around here so i either put food on the table or turn into a welfare statistic.  i think you can see im pretty motivated to go the former route. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: btulloh on November 19, 2021, 03:31:59 PM
Probably better to grow some maters and peppers and string beans and such and not even mess with corn for your purposes. Sell or trade some maters and peppers to get your corn. Corn takes space, water, nutrients, and practice.  A few mater plants and pepper plants can supply the family during the summer and enough excess to can or freeze or pickle. Much better return on time, space, and investment. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 03:43:24 PM
i already do that.  the corn is the base for the chicken feed. someone in my family is sick and i am trying to produce completely perfect food because of that.  i have to.   the more year round feed i can grow the more high quality critters i can finish relatively quick without buying feed or hay. not just corn.  i have 10 different brassicas planted right now plus cover crop on 3 gardens. will probably grow 20 or so different things this summer.  im clear cutting the entire back acre and a half or so right now while low grade wood price is up.


its nearly impossible to purchase fruit and vegetable that is 100% free of glyphosate, chemical fertilizers, herbicide, pesticide etc or meat that doesnt have antibiotics, growth hormones or a terrible omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. we can thank big Ag for creating the worlds first malnourished, yet obese society.  thats all for a whole other thread. this crop stuff is a fraction of how much medical research ive read in the past 6 months troubleshooting the illness that western medicine cant solve. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 19, 2021, 05:18:23 PM
100 likes on your results.

What is the bare dirt from ? disking ahead of a planter?  

Did you take any pics of the covers up close?  

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/E2F8E331-437D-47F6-861D-94B234BABD55.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637359828)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40841/5C34CC4A-B4F0-463F-89B4-0913C79922AE.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637359752)
 
The bare dirt was from disking in crops that just finished pictures taken yesterday. 
Hereís the close ups 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: moodnacreek on November 19, 2021, 07:11:47 PM
Mike, man you are really into it, way way beyond my pay scale. All I can say is the your gonna need a lot of chickens.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mudfarmer on November 19, 2021, 07:25:59 PM
Keep at it Mike. You can produce good pure food with no chemical inputs as your research has shown. Sometimes I get bogged down and over complicate things...  It really is simple and folks did it for a long long time. We have never and will never put any chemical big ag junk in on or around our food production areas and end up with bumper crops. Compost, organic matter, fungus, "weeds"!, Nitrogen fixers and supplemental water when needed. 

Definite yes on cow peas!!! Love em
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 19, 2021, 07:27:07 PM
way way beyond my pay scale.
no sir, this one is pro bono as always !
:)


thanks for the vote of confidence MFer  ( ;D )  wheres your pics man dont be shy
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mudfarmer on November 19, 2021, 07:48:36 PM
Here you go


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211024_132541875_HDR.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637368968)
 

This was a quick last minute cleanup before hard frost. No big deal, right?

Well we didn't even bother to plant tomatoes, squash or peppers this year. Two years in a row we have had to "weed" things that others would be spending money on seed for. Hundreds of tomato plants this year. Thinned down to 25 and moved around. Had four volunteer pepper plants that sprouted on their own and grew bunches Bunches of red peppers. I can't even manage that sometimes starting them inside in February. There is a seed bed, like the woods. The secret is unexpectedly almost always pigs  ;D



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20210803_1949313075B15D.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637370440)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20210729_2026464655B15D.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637370537)
 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20210816_1947462395B15D.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637370628)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211004_122757649_HDR5B15D.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637370892)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/IMG_20211004_122654877_HDR5B15D.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637370827)
 


No pesticides, herbicides, chemically derived fertilizers, industrial waste, just good dirt sunshine and water like mama would have wanted.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 20, 2021, 02:55:41 AM
Heck yeah!  Looks great.  Thats some big maters. 

This past year i had volunteer squash, beans, pepper and tomato. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: SwampDonkey on November 20, 2021, 05:06:28 AM
I usually pull tomato 'weeds', like pulling lambs quarters. :D

I start my peppers in April and maters I should start in May. This year it was April for the tomatoes, but way too early. :D Peppers are a lot slower than tomatoes. But I had pepper stalks like woody saplings before I finally pulled them 'late' last month that frost had never hit. How many peppers do you want to eat?? ;D  Surplus of winter squash, gonna have to cook and freeze some, pies for some to. :)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 20, 2021, 07:21:37 AM
Mudfarmer your produce looks great. Keep up the good work. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on November 20, 2021, 07:48:14 AM
dave brandt is the guy youll likely see holding 3ft daikon radishes if you google them. seeds with a corn planter on 4 inch spacing with winter pea in between the radish rows to feed the radish nitrogen needs.  he says they actually lift dirt. these things are about 3" diameter.

terminates with a roller and no herbicide then plants the corn right into the radish row because he has found that the radish tillage produces avg 2į warmer and about 2% dryer soil than the row of peas.

he mentioned buckwheat as a summer cover for its ability to strip phosphorus from rocks and i looked into it. SARE says buckwheat secretes amino acids that unlock phosphorus, 10x more than barley and 3x more than rye.  its good to plant after forest clearing so i have a sack in the shed for this coming season.

https://www.sare.org/publications/managing-cover-crops-profitably/nonlegume-cover-crops/buckwheat/#:~:text=Phosphorus%20scavenger.,release%20nutrients%20from%20the%20soil.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mudfarmer on November 20, 2021, 12:13:46 PM
Thanks! It is working so we will keep it up and expand until (more) uncomfortable and then dial back to our sweet spot. Almost 1/4 acre this year between two plots, plus 10x20 kitchen garden and 2x isolated 8x8 raised beds for seed production. We will hit 1/2 acre on three plots next year and suspect it will be a bit too much without help or giving up some other things. Ebb and flow, go where the wind takes us. Or maybe a 1/4 acre of spuds. We are historic potato ground (well not our place), was a starch mill on the river a mile away. Nothing like what swampdonkey talks about up there though! They do pretty well here and I put in a lot this year.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 20, 2021, 12:32:57 PM
Doing what you can manage and manage well while pushing the limits a bit in my opinion is the spot to be at in agriculture. Getting into more than you Can manage is a downward vacuum and potentially a mental, physical and financially draining experience. Every situation is different everywhere you go. Again nice work and keep at it 👍
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 20, 2021, 01:01:35 PM
Well I just checked my sorghum and that one patch is still green and juicy! After multiple frost itís all dry brown except that. You guys that know about sorghum do you think Iíd be safe if I just cut that patch down and through it out of the pasture? Then the cows would be on just dry dead stuff. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on November 20, 2021, 01:08:10 PM
Wish I could help you out, my mind is saying it would be okay. However please donít do it based solely on that.  Iíll bet with a couple pictures Southside could give some good advice. Heís got real world experience with it and a bunch of it to boot. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 20, 2021, 01:15:49 PM
I donít think he needs pictures. Itís green in color and when bent over your finger foamy juice runs out. I just donít know if the prussic acid is released even though itís still wet. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 20, 2021, 04:34:57 PM
Well I couldnít take it. I went out with a saw and cut down the bad spots. Hopefully that speeds it up a bunch.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34659/D8E1186E-72D2-4CCF-8D81-0E30DF245F89.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637443985)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34659/6C7ABD41-056C-49FB-9920-DD983C970D40.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1637443920)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 20, 2021, 06:12:25 PM
That picture dosen't scare me at all. Do you have a hay mower? If so and you aren't comfortable then knock it down, wait three days and it will be fine. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 20, 2021, 06:21:35 PM
That picture dosen't scare me at all. Do you have a hay mower? If so and you aren't comfortable then knock it down, wait three days and it will be fine.
Which one? The top picture you can seen one of the green patches I cut down. The bottom is the green area. 99% of it doesnít scare me either. So your saying if I cut the green stuff 3 days is sufficient for it to dry down and be safe for them to graze? I really need to move them by this coming weekend. I have a heifer to sort off and a steer to butcher so I need the third pasture space. Farming 🤦‍♂️ 😂 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on November 20, 2021, 06:27:18 PM
Neither picture, and yes, mow it, give it three days and any prussic acid will  be gone. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Firewoodjoe on November 20, 2021, 06:36:38 PM
Iím not mowing the field. Iím not set up for that. Itís set up for grazing. I cut the green patches with a chainsaw lol
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on December 04, 2021, 12:06:14 PM
saw a 5ft seed drill in the parking lot at rural king so i took a look.  $3k and its already broken.  these should hold up in the sun for a decade right?  our vacuum cleaner uses tougher hoses. 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1202211503.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1638634291)



have learned a lot more the past week or two but not had to time to paraphrase it.  "rhizophagy cycle" unlocks the secret to about 30% of plant growth.  the plant roots actually suck bacterial cells into them and excrete them back out continually.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on December 04, 2021, 07:06:51 PM
Several drills on Craigslist  around here for a third of that. They were built in the 40's and 50's  they will still get the job done, that new one looks like   far east junk. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on December 04, 2021, 07:20:45 PM
Those old drills are out there and very often need very little to be put into service.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on December 07, 2021, 11:59:42 AM
Got a surprise in the mail other day.  A mint 50th anniversary edition.  An heirloom. 

 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1207211055.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1638896127)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1207211055a-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1638896091)



Roxie, I am truly honored and grateful to have Cowboy Bobs book.  Thank you so much. 

Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on December 07, 2021, 01:19:53 PM
Iím not familiar with that book but Iím certain itís full of valuable information based on the print date alone. Iíve read some of the old farming books, thereís incredibly valuable knowledge in a lot of them 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on December 07, 2021, 01:31:30 PM
It appears we got really off track due to surplus grain with no market post ww2.  Start feeding it to the cows and their omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio goes haywire.. Cancer and heart disease explode, etc.   Why should a dairy manage hundreds of acres of pasture when it can make a mint selling the pasture to corn and soy conglomerate then buy cheap corn and soy to feed right there in place?  

Hydrogenated seed oils ("vegetable oil") and continual tillage are also very very much part of the total national health epidemic.  If we were healthy, covid woulda been nothing.  Virus appears to be the activator of chronic disease.  It will only get larger from here.  

You wanna be rich?  Get a refractometer and market the nutrient density of your produce.  If its dense organic food and you can prove it, you can name your price because it isnt available anywhere and getting it is life and death for the growing sick masses. 

I believe some day the insurance company will be willing to pay for proven nutrient dense meal prep plans because it will be cheaper and more effective than paying for continually failing treatments, procedures and meds. Theyll make a lot more money collecting premiums on healing people than slowly dying ones. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on December 07, 2021, 01:33:31 PM
Awesome book Mike! That's pretty special.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on December 20, 2021, 12:09:48 PM
is there any part of the country where its common to see cattle overwinter on a cover crop mix?  

all our pasture grass is getting pretty rank here but winter covers are looking fantastic in my yard and a few abandoned crop fields that probably just got lease agreements and were seeded this fall.  

is there some reason i cant figure out why producers dont broadcast seed a summer paddock before letting the cows graze it down and stamp the seed in.. then rotate them off that until its ready as a winter paddock?   will it not work?  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on December 20, 2021, 12:44:45 PM
Iíve never done it but see no reason it wouldnít work. Iíve thought about doing it here. We have plenty of land so getting the seedings in in time for them to establish well wouldnít be a problem. If someone was farming all their land all the time, getting the crops off in time to get a second crop (covers) established well enough to be able to graze could be a problem. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on December 20, 2021, 01:54:35 PM
Was thinking about this I believe Southside and Firewoodjoe are doing this sort of thing. There in two totally different climates. Their perspectives would be interesting to hear. 
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on December 20, 2021, 02:08:12 PM
Just have a moment and will get back later, but yes it's done, it's not as easy as it appears but well worth the effort.  We run a lot of summer and winter annuals for this purpose but still need to feed some stored forage.  Rainfall, temperature, sod vs tilled ground all come into play. 

Hay and Forage Grower magazine might be of interest to guys.  It's free, a lot of conventional info, but more and more regenerative articles in there.  Even had Gregg Judy last month.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on December 20, 2021, 05:02:44 PM
Its done out here commonly with rye(+/- brasicas, turnips etc). It is flown on with crops in the field mid ish August start, or drilled right behind soybean harvest best if its an earlier maturing soybean type. Mostly used here as a bridge to grass in the spring. Good place to turn out new cow calf pairs. The cows are all mostly out grazing corn stalk residue now that gets dependant on snow cover. A few folks starting to calve now.



Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on December 20, 2021, 06:07:24 PM
 A few folks starting to calve now.
That's gotta hurt!  :D
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: newoodguy78 on December 20, 2021, 09:47:54 PM
Its done out here commonly with rye(+/- brasicas, turnips etc). It is flown on with crops in the field mid ish August start, or drilled right behind soybean harvest best if its an earlier maturing soybean type. Mostly used here as a bridge to grass in the spring. Good place to turn out new cow calf pairs. The cows are all mostly out grazing corn stalk residue now that gets dependant on snow cover. A few folks starting to calve now.
From a veterinarians standpoint whatís your thoughts on grazing cover crop mixes as far as animal health and weight gain? Iím guessing out your way guys mostly have angus but do you see or have an opinion on what breeds do best on an all grass diet?
I really like the red devons as far temperament and have seen some do really well on total grass diets.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Southside on December 20, 2021, 10:14:02 PM
A couple of the challenges with winter cover crop grazing are keeping dry matter intake high enough and addressing off flavor issues from brassicas.  For milk or meat being finished brassicas will impart an off flavor if fed in too high of a % of the diet, just like wild onion in the spring. The other issue is that although the cover crops are high in protein they are very low in fiber so cows will actually loose weight if that's all they have to eat, so you need to keep the DM up with another feed source.  Thats where the corn stubble / baled stover / grass hay / or stockpiled standing forage comes in.  A reasonable rule of thumb is to strip graze the winter cover crop for a couple of hours at most each day limiting intake, then feed all they will eat of your other feed source.  Logistically that can get to be a challenge depending on field lay out, fencing, water, etc.  

Trying to plant post harvest is really hard, mother nature never cooperates.  Get the crop off nice and early and it will turn popcorn fart dry.  Plenty of fall moisture in the ground means you can't get the crop off in time for the winter cover crop to set in well enough.  

Like the doc said flying the seed in works well, now with precision guidance so does top dressing before the crop closes in the canopy, the seed gets worked into the ground from the rain and does not compete with the primary crop.  As soon as the canopy opens up again be it from harvest or leaf drop the cover crop is already up several inches and off to the races, hopefully that's late summer or early fall so it has plenty of time to produce.  
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: Nebraska on December 20, 2021, 10:32:25 PM
As far as I can tell it's great.  Can be too washy as Jim points out.   Helps producers manage space great for calf health. (Spreads them out)...lower density more square footage less illness. Really good for the soil for many reasons. Economically  a good practice if you can manage it.  I don't know about seeding it into summer range like Mike mentioned above. I am too far North likely...I have heard of cows getting an esophageal blockage from too big  a turnip, not necessarily a common event and  other things like hedge apples can do that as well.

As far as I know I have maybe never worked on a Red Devon.  Cow herds here are mostly Angus based, with Simmental, Charolais, Herford, Shorthorn and Maine Anjou being common crosses.  A hand full of Long Horn and a few niche breeds.
All of them will do fine on an all grass/forage type system as that is what the Good Lord designed them for. Big forage fermenting /digesting vats with legs. 
Jim's reply  regarding the off flavors  is true I know with milk. Here the cover crop grazing season  is about 2 months  and it's entirely beef cow / calf operations using it. So any off flavors in meat from the forage really aren't a problem,  because 99% of the cattle are mom's with babies at the side. They have a job for a while.. They won't end up as a burger unless they aren't pregnant come next fall.
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: mike_belben on December 24, 2021, 12:16:25 PM
ive been trying to find time to convert these screenshots to JPG and upload for atleast a month.  highlights from a 1.5hr or so video with james white, the soil biologist showing what i believe to be among the most cutting edge soil root rhizophagy images.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1640363108733.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1640363402)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1640363156599.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1640363402)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1640363204767.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1640363348)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1640363341984.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1640363345)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1640363235551.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1640363340)



the cliffnotes are that seedling roots need to grow hairs to survive.  the way they do that is by endophyte invasion so to speak.. where bacteria and or fungi go INTO the root.  the plant does some magic, multiplies them before spitting them back into the soil then taking them back up again.  its sorta like lungs continually breathing for air supply.  plant roots are continually sucking up and spitting out microbes to get solube mineral into their tissue.  these microbes are fed carbon and whatever else.. sugars maybe.. by the "root exudates" that the plant is able to create by solar power somehow in gods wonderful design.  

if you dont have living microbial life, you wont germinate seedlings.  the plants feed the microbes and the microbes feed the plants so never have bare soil.. go from planting to planting to planting continually.  tillage will stunt fungal microbial life but in some instances the gain may justify the fungal loss.  soil that is continually tilled will surely die off and grow weeds, compaction and algae blooms far far away.

cliffnote to the cliffnote, is plant cover crops (and imo, find something that eats them so you can later eat it.)
Title: Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
Post by: farmfromkansas on January 16, 2022, 11:04:52 AM
As breeds go, think the longhorn is considered a poor breed, but is very good when mixed into your angus herd.  Have a neighbor with longhorns, and he uses an angus bull.  I have been buying his solid colored heifers, as I found years ago you can't breed out the odd colors from longhorn crossbreeding. But if one is black or red, you do not have that problem.  The advantages are that a longhorn never has trouble calving, and does well during hot weather. Don't seem to get sick and die either.  One of my neighbors who has a degree from K-state, says there are no genetic defects in the longhorn breed, because of the long time they ran wild in Texas.  Buyers will discount the price of your cattle if they see a longhorn cross, but it only shows up in the color.  Guys who feed cattle like to get the discounted price when they buy and as one neighbor told me, they never lose those, unlike some black cattle that look healthy one day and are dead the next. And the butcher does not care if it has an odd color.