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#3020989 - 11/07/12 10:36 AM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: Quailman]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65357
Loc: Nashville, TN

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Thanks Quailman, I'll watch the video. And thanks for the recommendations on the grass problem in our power-line plots.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3021025 - 11/07/12 10:45 AM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: Quailman]
String Music
8 Point


Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 1682
Loc: Knoxville

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Here in East Tn, annual tillage is soil suicide. Instead, we have relied on groundhog radishes to break the hardpan and allow water to penetrate. I have been impressed with the production we have seen from this type of radish. I would highly recommend implementing this seed into your fall plots.

http://www.ampacseed.com/groundhog.htm


Edited by String Music (11/07/12 10:46 AM)
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#3021070 - 11/07/12 11:07 AM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: Quailman]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2579
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

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Quail or those in the know,
I have approx 1-1/4 acre food plot that I had hoped to get established this year. A lot of things prevented that but the Johnson Grass literally got to the heighth that while on a 56hp tractor was head high and taller - it was like mowing into an abyss. I mowed it and the layer of thatch produced was insane of course. I sprayed it with Glyphosate...it didn't really kill it. But, I was able to burn a good bit of the thatch off anyways. So, I sprayed it again hoping to burn the Johnson grass off for good and the second spraying killed it pretty well, but I never got a chance to burn again. Johnson grass is just incredibly resiliant. I still don't think I have conquered it yet. I'm going to try to sew some wheat into the ground this week and just see what happens. Do you think it is possible to choke at the Johnson grass because I really don't think it is truly dead and gone and I'm afraid next Spring it is just going to come back.
_________________________
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
-Ronald Firbank

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#3024163 - 11/08/12 10:29 PM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: Football Hunter]
BT1
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Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 8
Loc: Nashville, TN

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I have been doing research on this very topic that Quailman has discussed for 18 months and the results are truly amazing to say the least. I used a slightly different planting method but still the same principals. I met a person through a mutual friend who wished to establish wildlife on his property. He was willing to let me plant anything I wanted as long as it didn't cost him a thing. He is not a deer hunter, so I agreed as long as he understood that I would not be fertilizing the cropped areas only applying lime (and I could hunt). My mission was simple, find the most efficient and effective ways to provide a year round food scource without going broke on fertilizer and farm equipment. Many of the areas I had to work with were ridgetops with heavy clay and with lots of chert. Like many have said in this topic, Johnson Grass was very common. I studied agronomy and soils in college when no-till farming practices were just becoming popular. The move away from year cultivation of soils were due to soil compaction and fertilizer runoff. I still remember listening to my soils professor going over data of yield returns of corn and soybeans. I'm going off memory so these number might not be correct, But it went something like this:
-first year of no-till 25% less return than that of conventional tillage
-Second year same return as last year of conventional tillage
-Third year 25% more return than last year of conventional tillage

This is especially importmant when dealing with heavy clay soils. As BSK stated earlier, He noticed higher water infiltration his soils had after the tilled, then his soils would not hold enough moisture during summer months to sustain growth, and his soils were hard as a rock when he returned the following year for tillage. Thus, you are removing the soils natural pore space. By breaking up the soil you loosening the existing stucture, Then when it rains the fine particles settle in to the pore space, when soil temps rise and drought conditions occur you are "baking" all the materials out of your soil. Thus making a brick. The addition of sulfer based fertilizers only make this problem worse.

This is same mistake I made starting out a few years ago. Then I was in a hurry before a rain a couple years ago, I had a field sprayed with gly and didn't have time to disk. So I doubled my seeding rate of Rape with normal rate of Ladino clover. Drug the field with a harrow. The clover made it for two summers with heavy drought and by far the best stand I had seen in this area. I have tweeked my planting to disk the top inch with with disk. This Breaks the thatch layer and still leave a little residue on the surface. leaving a thatch layer on the surface will cause a hydrophobic condition in spots. Thus, not letting way infiltrate the surface. Causing patches to become weak and promoted weed infestation. Cultipacker or light drag is a must. On new platings areas where lime is needed I will cut my areas where I have limed with a disk to 6" and remove rock. Hope you found this helpful. I will be more than happy to share my research with anyone if interested or questions in general.

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#3024396 - 11/09/12 06:54 AM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: BT1]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65357
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BT1
This is especially importmant when dealing with heavy clay soils. As BSK stated earlier, He noticed higher water infiltration his soils had after the tilled, then his soils would not hold enough moisture during summer months to sustain growth, and his soils were hard as a rock when he returned the following year for tillage.


If I may, let me clarify my experiences. We have never been able to grow summer crops in these food plots, even before tillage. The soils were too thin to allow root penetration and too dry in summer. The soils allowed no water infiltration during summer downpours (the only time they would experience adequate water infiltration is during the slow rains of the cool months of winter and spring).

Yes, we are experiencing amazing levels of soil compaction over the dry summer months after tillage, but the soil was far more compact before tillage. I'm not exaggerating when I say I could bounce a pick-axe off the surface of the ground. They were concrete before chisel plowing. We even destroyed a brand new disk in just 8 hours of use. The ground was so hard, any angle at all on the disk's gangs put so much side-ways pressure on the axles that the front gang's axles stretched to the point the disks were flopping around (and even destroying the disk did not break the ground--didn't do anything but just scratch the surface). We are experiencing recompaction of the soil after tillage, but it is still less compacted than before tillage. At least moisture will penetrate and the soil is turnable after a rain.

Now I fully admit that trying to turn the grass thatch into the soil (removing it from protecting the temperature and soil moisture retention) could cause problems. But in the past, when we planted these plots by the simple method of mowing the grasses, waiting a week and then spraying with glysophate, and then broadcasting seed onto the surface, produced very poor germination for anything but the smallest seeds (a lack of soil contact). Now we experience much better seed germination (although later growth may be hampered by rapid soil drying and excessive soil temperatures).

All that said, I'm all for the best research possible into making productive food plots in very poor soil conditions. I'm all eyes and ears.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3024454 - 11/09/12 07:36 AM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: BSK]
jmb4wd
8 Point


Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 1187
Loc: Christiana, TN

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Quailman, some great info in the video, and it seems as if it is producing some great results.

One thought I had on it, that they didnt have to deal with is Fescue!. One farmer mentioned that they had been no-tilling for nearly 40 years! Seems as if they started with a weed free seed bed to start with, or at least a great start, not having to deal with a cool season grass like fescue.

One side question--wonder how they plan on combating some of these gly-resistant weeds like pigweed and marestail?? I guess in the case of that rye, is the cover crop so thick during the growth stage that it shades it out, and once it is rolled that it just supresses those type weeds?? My little plot that I grow beans in at my house had a little marestail last year, and this year it was overrun with it, as a matter of fact, it was taller than the Eagle beans, some of which are 5ft tall. I wonder if by growing a cover crop this winter and spring it the thatch would supress it? Id love to know if this might help.

Also, just as an observation, (I know there are very few ridgetops, not trying to hi-jack) here in Rutherford county where I live. I am seeing row crop farmers working ground again in large numbers. I am curious as to why? Does the soil benefit from incorporating the thatch, or relieving some compaction after say 10 straight years of no-tilling, then one year of tillage, and then returning to no-till operations??

While I deal with it some on ridge tops, many of my customers have old hayfields, or simply fescue pastures that we are trying to establish plots in, seems as if a guy could transition those plots by spraying, and maybe burning of the thatch to reduce it, that you could achieve results similar to farmers in the video. After all, who wouldnt mind not to buy any fertilizer at all and grow 200 bushel corn.

Seems to me, just based on my opinion that this system would work great for guys just wanting to grow fall attraction plots, or feeder plots for the winter months. Although, I speculate that the only way to keep annual, and perennial weeds out during the summer is introducing a clover like Duranna to kind of shade out the competition, or simply have a much more active spraying schedule.


For myself, and a couple of my customers that I help plant and grow corn, and beans for, and where it is feasible to use no-till equipment I really look foward to trying this system, and I really think that it would improve some of the problems that we've experienced in the past.
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http://www.backacrefoodplots.blogspot.com

Food Plot Establishment and Maintenance


Justin

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#3024977 - 11/09/12 12:12 PM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: jmb4wd]
jfarm65
4 Point


Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 132
Loc: wilson county tennessee

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We no-till directly into fescue sod and have never had a problem. As far as round up resistant weeds, wait until that weed is up to do your first treatment of gly and add some gramoxone to it, or you can use first rate with the gly when you spray over the top of your crop.
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#3025708 - 11/09/12 08:02 PM Re: Ridge top plots [Re: jfarm65]
BT1
Button


Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 8
Loc: Nashville, TN

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BSK, I did the exact same thing to a disk last year. I was trying to work the johnson grass into soil and within a couple of hours had a brand new disc in pieces. What has worked best for me in these situations are burning your field down with gly, then set fire to the field, make two passes around your field you wish to plant with a disk or plow before burning (to keep fire form spreading, once your field is burned off, use a 2 or four row no-till dill to plant summer annuals the first spring. If you do not have a no-till drill, use a breaking disk that goes on in front of a turning plow. Your chisle plow should be able to swap these out. This is the most important thing I do to promote water infiltration. I will spray out my plots again in early Sept. to kill off any existing weeds. Then plant plant perenial plots. You will not believe how much of a different slicing the soils. This will not cause compaction and you can do it multiple times a year. I have pictures of the plot on 7/25/2012 and in sept. I just have to figure out how to post the pictures. It was pretty stressed in early July due to the drought, but rebounded pretty nicely with the rain recieved. I don't have nearly the weed problems that I have in other plots.

I have not watched the video yet, but what I don't want to be lost in this is that healthy soils not only retain moisture better, but the micro organisms (bacteria and fungi) that will mine and produce all the the essentials the plant needs.

The reason you are seeing the farmers conventional till is probably due to consective planting of corn. It is common for some farmers to till their soils every 5-10 years. This has minimal effect due to the ammount residue they are turning over at one time. Most farmers will cultipack the field after tillage.

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