FALL COVER CROPS AT PDF…..10/3/2015


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It has been a while since I posted….but it had been a while since we had a rainy and miserable weekend…writing this in the prequel rain event before the non event of hurricane Joaquin…We have had a total so far of about 5.4 inches of rain this week which is ten times the total we have had in the last three months…no that is not right… we did have about 2.7 inches two weeks ago but it has been a hot dry summer…

My later planted summer cover crops did not do very well….the early planted ones were terrific…I have been planting cool season cover behind the grazing since late August and with the recent rain they are finally beginning to come up….I feared that most of them had just fed the birds…but everything appears to have some of the new species showing….

Where we had the good early summer cover crops they have been grazed and mown and reseeded…the photo below shows that the pearl millet and sorghum sudan have begun to regrow but the fall mix is coming up in between….the frost will take out the summer covers and they will contribute to the biomass…

summer regenration and fall emerging

below are two of the three strips I sowed seed on this morning…these are strip 3 and 4 of the corner lot…six heifers have been grazing them this week…I moved the heifers to Ell 1 and broadcast seed…It was too wet to get the tractor on the lots and it was still raining…

strips 3 and 4 just grazed and broadcast

strips 1 and two were seeded last weekend..the photo below shows across 2,3 and 4. the strips seeded last weekend have stuff coming up….strip two appears less green as it was mowed pretty close.

strips 2,3 and 4 in corner

here is a shot attempting to show the new seedlings in corner strip 2….too small to tell what they are yet..

sown one week ago

I am seeding variations of the mix shown in this table below.

Untitled

Below is a shot of my small farm drill. I have been trying to find a small used drill or planter for some time but have been unsucessful….the ones I have found have been too big or too worn out or too too expensive…sometimes I am apprehensive about broadcasting and sometimes if the grass stand is strong the cover will not come up…but more often than not…the broadcasting and bushoging and either aeration or dragging a tire has been successful.

small farm drill

the shot below shows the relative distribution of seed caught by a fresh cow pie…also shows the post grazing residue..I grazed these two lots pretty hard and the heifers were fussing at me for a new paddock. Sound of rain on the roof is getting louder as it is nearly time to go out for evening chores….Oh well….I have a good poncho and boots…

seed distribution and residue

below is a shot of the new cover crops from a few weeks ago showing themselves in a spot where the summer cover did not come back due to heavy residue ….it was a mix similar to what is posted above…

new stuff in high residue spot

The photos often do not load in the proper order and it is easier to comment on them as I get to them than to move them around. The shot below was from the yard across the big bull field (field where long ago we kept the big bull) and of the heifers grazing the last strip in the corner lot.

heifers grazing last strip in corner

Below is a shot of the front yard field…this was grazed in two paddocks by the horses and resown several weeks ago…it really did not come up until the rain about two weeks ago…but it is jumping now…

front yard field coming up nicely

another eveidence of seed distribution this morning….that amount in the table above might not seem like much but on 1/10 to 2/10 acre paddocks it is a lot of seed per acre. translates to 100 # of Barley and 10# of the grasses and 5# of the other stuff.

evidence of seed distribution

this strip in the big bull field came back heavily with volunteer buckwheat…It will probably bloom before frost but frost will take it away and it serves as a good nurse crop for the fall cover…buckwheat is a great plant for the pollinators and it is beneficial in soil building as well.

buckwheat reseeded heavily here

this is a view of the big bull field from the far end….five strips make fifteen days grazing for six heifers and four goats…interestingly the goats have really taken to this group of heifers…these are Courts heifers and I am raising them and will AI breed them..

big bull field from far end

final photo of seed on a cow pie….here I can easily see in the photo …barley, ryegrass and or orchardgrass and two kinds of clover…the rape and turnip are too tiny to see and the vetch always hides from me but it comes up…it is one of my favorite fall planted cover crops….Actually I am looking forward to spring,,,,almost every lot has been sprinkled with Crimson Clover and hairy vetch and dwarf essex Rape…there have been smatterings of other things in some mixws…turnips and radishes primarily…but it is too late for radishes to do much now…..but when those three that are everywhere bloom in the spring this place is going to be beautiful….it will be painted in green and crimson and purple and transition to the golden yellow of the rape, with smatterings of white flowers…and all of them great soil builders….then the red clover will take over in the early summer with its pink blossoms.

barley, ryegrass orchardgrass and 2 clovers

The goats grazing in one of the front paddocks when they were on the south side of the farm…

YOUR JOB IS TO EAT THE WEEDS

Just as I was finishing this the mail delivery man drove into the yard with a box too big for the mailbox…It was the 10 lbs of chicory I ordered just three days ago….won’t plant it til spring….I also have 10 lbs of switchgrass that will go in one paddock in the early summer….I have seen some beautiful switchgrass in the valley which prompted me yt order it….If I can get it established it is great summer grazing and is a deep rooted soil building perennial plant that should be good for the rest of my life if the grazing is managed….that I can do….

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