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Thread: Dormant seeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    313

    Default Dormant seeding

    Just finished some dormant seeding of native grasses on some CRP that needed mid contract management.

    Seeded the higher ground to some short species and the lower ground to some taller ones. The field was initially seeded to alfalfa/brome and has become thistle/brome.

    This spring we burned it off and sprayed round-up when it greened back up. With the nasty spring we had here I wasnít able to get it seeded then so I got an extension. Sprayed again and did a light disking late summer. Sprayed again just before frost and I donít think anything survived the ordeal.

    Got it seeded yesterday with a Vicon seeder I bought and drug it in. We got some snow on it today so things will look good this next summer. If the thistles donít show up I will add some forbs to the stand. If they rear their ugly heads I will hit it with 2,4-D a couple times, add the forbs in the fall.

    So to my point. Whenever you hear of farmers not caring about the natural habitat know that the cost share for this is about $60/ acre. I have more than that in chemicals. Add the prescribed burn, disking, seed and seeding I will have nearly $200/acre in it. Not counting my time.

    Iím a full time farmer, never charge for hunting and never will. You can hunt our ground if I get to tag along and you have a good dog. To be honest we donít do it for the ditch chickens, we like the habitat for the song birds and insects. But, hunting pheasants is a very good pastime, my hat is off to those of you do devote the resources to do it right.

    I have also broken tile and created two ponds, one maybe five acres and one maybe an acre in the spring. Several broods of ducks used them this summer. These acres are not in any program.

    Now, Iím at a point in my life where I can afford to do such things. Many farmers are not, they need to scratch for every dime. I was a participant in that rodeo during the 1980s. Itís not fun looking forward to a year where the best you can do is hope to not lose so much money the banker pulls the plug. I remember coming home from my off farm job hoping there wasnít a message on the machine from the banker wanting me to call him. Many times there was. Many have landlords that they pay unprofitable rents to, if they can cover their variable costs they need to stay in the game to be there when times are better.


    Anyway, thanks for reading this far. Iím not pointing to anything in particular but I get a little miffed when folks lament habitat destruction. Yes, sometimes it is unnecessary but remember there may be a young farmer with their back against the wall.

    Oh, and it will get worse if things stay on this course.

    Carry on.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    20 miles south of Ft. Worth, Tx
    Posts
    307

    Default

    I will stick my neck and say that I think all of us would applaud your efforts to improve habitat.

    I think >most< of us realize that this habitat improvement ends up as a net loss to the farmer/rancher doing the improvement.

    I think >some< of us are willing to help our friends and benefactors in this effort. For example, my group has contributed various seed mixes for habitat improvement.

    This is an area where we can all help each other in some way, large or small.

    Anyway, thanks for doing what you're doing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Well thanks for the reply. I’m not looking for any accolades, too old to care about such things. Other than the wife I guess, I always am looking for an “atta boy” from her. (Wink, wink, nod, nod)

    My point was more directed to the folks who see habitat loss from only one perspective. And, I’ll be the first to admit we all tend to see things that way on occasion. I know nothing about some of the instances where walk in areas are mowed or grazed to a golf course level that some folks reference. Don’t know what the rules are.

    We have had entire farms in the IHAP program, the rules are very strict what can be done. Sometimes at odds with each other. I had one odd shaped piece enrolled, the DNR planted a pollinator mix on it. One representative said be sure and mow it a couple times to allow the light down to the new seedlings. Another person from the same organization said I couldn’t mow walk-in areas. Anyway, that’s off topic.

    We need to recognize if we want producers to do something different than they currently do, they have to be reimbursed. The program rules need to be understood by all and adhered to. CRP can be a habitat program but it is first and foremost a soil conservation and water quality program. It has morphed into other forms more directed towards habitat which works towards those goals but it is not a pheasant production program.

    Anyway, I enjoy the perspectives folks from other walks of life bring to the discussion and hope to present mine in a civil fashion. Let me know if I have failed.

  4. #4

    Default

    My main gripe with farmers isn't that they do too little habitat improvement. You are absolutely correct that most are scraping by hoping for improved market conditions. My gripe is the amount of mowing they do. The roadsides and grass waterways are about the only habitat left around a huge chunk of IL, and to see them in brome monoculture and mowed 3 inches high makes me sick to my stomach. Of course the IDOT is doing the same thing on the highways.

    Sounds like you are doing great work! Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    20 miles south of Ft. Worth, Tx
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Some states and/or counties require the ditches to be mowed. Snow drifts are one reason.

    I don't like it either but I can see the need. If you've ever been stuck in an SD blizzard for a few days with the roads to the farmhouse all drifted shut it becomes pretty important.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    313

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makintrax73 View Post
    My main gripe with farmers isn't that they do too little habitat improvement. You are absolutely correct that most are scraping by hoping for improved market conditions. My gripe is the amount of mowing they do. The roadsides and grass waterways are about the only habitat left around a huge chunk of IL, and to see them in brome monoculture and mowed 3 inches high makes me sick to my stomach. Of course the IDOT is doing the same thing on the highways.

    Sounds like you are doing great work! Thank you.

    Must be location dependent. If I look at this neighborhood, maybe six miles any direction I know of one ditch that is ever mowed. Most ditches are far too narrow, wet and steep around here. Some are fenced off and grazed if they are on a back road, not many like that anymore.

    The state highway however is mowed at least twice each summer.

    I have two hay fields I delay the first cutting on till maybe July 1. These fields border DNR ground which is almost worthless for nesting. If an organization wanted to promote nesting habitat a payment for delayed mowing would be taken by some producers. Around here hay fields are the most desirable nesting sites for many birds.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    basehor, ks
    Posts
    2,486

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    Quote Originally Posted by McFarmer View Post
    Must be location dependent. If I look at this neighborhood, maybe six miles any direction I know of one ditch that is ever mowed. Most ditches are far too narrow, wet and steep around here. Some are fenced off and grazed if they are on a back road, not many like that anymore.

    The state highway however is mowed at least twice each summer.

    I have two hay fields I delay the first cutting on till maybe July 1. These fields border DNR ground which is almost worthless for nesting. If an organization wanted to promote nesting habitat a payment for delayed mowing would be taken by some producers. Around here hay fields are the most desirable nesting sites for many birds.
    That has been my thought all along. Instead of paying for worthless walk in land, streamline what is available with willing farmers that would take cash payments in exchange for habitat. Some things that come to mind is enhancing payments to farmers to make CRP payments more appealing, or simply pay them not to hay some of their property. This would work in any state and personally I would think most of us would prefer quality over quantity. Unfortunately big numbers look better when trying to entice out of state hunters to come. This is the case in Kansas where sure we have a 1M plus acres of walk in but much of it is worthless. Anyway I for one see the value in what you do, it makes everything around you a little better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    IaKota
    Posts
    1,003

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by McFarmer View Post
    Just finished some dormant seeding of native grasses on some CRP that needed mid contract management.

    Seeded the higher ground to some short species and the lower ground to some taller ones. The field was initially seeded to alfalfa/brome and has become thistle/brome.

    This spring we burned it off and sprayed round-up when it greened back up. With the nasty spring we had here I wasn’t able to get it seeded then so I got an extension. Sprayed again and did a light disking late summer. Sprayed again just before frost and I don’t think anything survived the ordeal.

    Got it seeded yesterday with a Vicon seeder I bought and drug it in. We got some snow on it today so things will look good this next summer. If the thistles don’t show up I will add some forbs to the stand. If they rear their ugly heads I will hit it with 2,4-D a couple times, add the forbs in the fall.

    So to my point. Whenever you hear of farmers not caring about the natural habitat know that the cost share for this is about $60/ acre. I have more than that in chemicals. Add the prescribed burn, disking, seed and seeding I will have nearly $200/acre in it. Not counting my time.

    I’m a full time farmer, never charge for hunting and never will. You can hunt our ground if I get to tag along and you have a good dog. To be honest we don’t do it for the ditch chickens, we like the habitat for the song birds and insects. But, hunting pheasants is a very good pastime, my hat is off to those of you do devote the resources to do it right.

    I have also broken tile and created two ponds, one maybe five acres and one maybe an acre in the spring. Several broods of ducks used them this summer. These acres are not in any program.

    Now, I’m at a point in my life where I can afford to do such things. Many farmers are not, they need to scratch for every dime. I was a participant in that rodeo during the 1980s. It’s not fun looking forward to a year where the best you can do is hope to not lose so much money the banker pulls the plug. I remember coming home from my off farm job hoping there wasn’t a message on the machine from the banker wanting me to call him. Many times there was. Many have landlords that they pay unprofitable rents to, if they can cover their variable costs they need to stay in the game to be there when times are better.


    Anyway, thanks for reading this far. I’m not pointing to anything in particular but I get a little miffed when folks lament habitat destruction. Yes, sometimes it is unnecessary but remember there may be a young farmer with their back against the wall.

    Oh, and it will get worse if things stay on this course.

    Carry on.

    Sounds like a great project, being done right!


    Id think one thing you can plan on, is the thistles being back, for sure.. They are the scourge of any new grassland planting. One thing in your favor, is that you didnt spend money on the forbs, unlike me.. who had to Milestone the whole restoration after 4 years, and start over with a forb intervention after 18 months..

    We live pretty close. How big is your Vicon? Ive got a couple possible micro projects around my acreage id like to do before I sell next year. 3/4 a drown out that id like to put soething in that likes its feet wet. and an overseed of switch into my BBS 3 acres. Never been happy with the BBS stand. It tips over at the first snowfall, rendering it totally worthless for habitat. I wish I had switch in from the beginning, 13 years ago.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Small hopper, even with the long pendulum it only will scatter the seed about 12 feet. Most of the seed is pretty fluffy. But there is no question it will spread the seed, no problem with bridging.

    I pull a drag behind the tractor and it does a good job.

    The DNR around here won’t seed a forbs mix unless the ground has been in soybeans for two or three years, sprayed with round-up. I see a ton of pollinator plots that are in really bad shape with thistles. A family member has one of the worst.

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