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Author Topic: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread  (Read 8338 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #120 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.  






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. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #121 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

Offline Roxie

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #122 on: October 10, 2021, 09:22:25 AM »
Weve 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.

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

Say when

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #123 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 45 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. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #124 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.
Isaiah 63:10

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #125 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.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #126 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.  
Isaiah 63:10

Online Southside

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #127 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.




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.  




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.


 

They eat it like spaghetti.



 

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



 

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



 

Best part is for tax purposes this is considered "un-usable ground". Guess because I can't loose money on it growing soybeans.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #128 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"

 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Wudman

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #129 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
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #130 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.





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.





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.  







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.





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









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.






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.

 




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.
Isaiah 63:10

Online Southside

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #131 on: October 12, 2021, 05:58:59 PM »
@Wudman 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
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Offline Wudman

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain and Forage Thread
« Reply #132 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
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #133 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.
Isaiah 63:10

Offline newoodguy78

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #134 on: October 15, 2021, 01:07:20 PM »
I went with red clover, not saying its right but its 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

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #135 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.
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Offline Roxie

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #136 on: October 15, 2021, 04:09:51 PM »
Crimson and clover over and over 


Say when

Offline mike_belben

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #137 on: October 17, 2021, 12:14:28 PM »
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. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Nebraska

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #138 on: October 18, 2021, 08:31:50 AM »
@Southside  I have an abundance of Reed Canary grass you may have all you want. I cannot effectively graze it.  Not a favorite. 

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Re: The Feed Crop, Grain, Forage and Soil Health Thread
« Reply #139 on: October 18, 2021, 08:41:28 AM »
What don't you like about it?
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows


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