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George with belated name dropping.
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peaceful_life



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 544

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
peaceful_life wrote:

Fair play to you.
I'm just wondering, that even using this method, why bother using any costly chemical sprays at all?

It is not a fair play or moral issue though some would make it so.
If the rye was just rolled flat and not killed by some method it would spring back up and compete with the cash crop just as they were germinating. The cost of the "costly" herbicide application is just $15.00 per acre which is much less then the cost of turn plowing or rotovating.
The rolling and spraying method also leaves the root mat in place and the dieing rye stems in place to prevent erosion and retard weed infestation and moisture evaporation. Think of it as applying a two inch layer of mulch at the rate of two acres a minute.
I'm still researching so haven't formed my final opinion as of yet. I also have seen presentations where cover crops were rotovated in on organic farms and others where cattle were mob grazed for one to three days to remove the bulk of a cover crop while processing some of it into manure. Weight gains of three pounds per day per calf were reported.
I personally know some farmers that became organic certified for a few years but switched back due to the tillage costs and resultant erosion it allowed.


'fair play to you'= well done.

'I'm still researching so haven't formed my final opinion as of yet'
Yep, that's the way.

Move on to Darren Doherty of 'Regrarians'
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Catweazle



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 2236
Location: Little England, over the hills

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
If the rye was just rolled flat and not killed by some method it would spring back up and compete with the cash crop just as they were germinating.


The trick is to "crimp" the stems of the cover crop. This is done by a heavy roller covered in raised ridges, they flatten the stem but don't sever it. Leaving the stems attached means that the dead cover crop stays in place, rather than blowing away or getting collected by your seed drill.

I love this idea, and will be using it myself once I have got past the first two years of deep ploughing to incorporate an absolute shit-load ( literally ) of organic matter into my fields.

The deep cover-crop-mulch does cause problems for a conventional seed drill, I'm sure I can figure out a way on my limited acreage.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peaceful_life wrote:

'fair play to you'= well done.


Oh !! Embarassed Thank you.
Once again two peoples separated by a common language.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:

The trick is to "crimp" the stems of the cover crop. This is done by a heavy roller covered in raised ridges, they flatten the stem but don't sever it. Leaving the stems attached means that the dead cover crop stays in place, rather than blowing away or getting collected by your seed drill.

Wouldn't the rye's root balls send up new shoots like a coppiced tree stump?
These American farmers are working on very narrow margins. They would not spend an additional $12/ acre if they were not convinced that it was necessary.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:

The deep cover-crop-mulch does cause problems for a conventional seed drill, I'm sure I can figure out a way on my limited acreage.

They did note that they had to plant in the same direction that the roller progressed. Similar to the old horse drawn dump rake I used to run where you raked towards the heads that fell backward from the sickle bar so the teeth caught between the stems and the branching side leaves.
Perhaps some heavier and thicker Coulters in the front to cut a deep and clear path for the seed drill tubes.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peaceful_life wrote:

Move on to Darren Doherty of 'Regrarians'

A lot of salesmanship going on there. It is like listening to a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman or an AmWay rep. only with an Australian accent. Rolling Eyes
He might have some valid points or information but it is buried deep beyond the BS and the pay walls.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=george+carlin+he%27s+full+of+shit&vid=ffbb4ce3c650f5e81ae5036ee726d453&l=1%3A29&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.607987440559325519%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D3QRvlT1wV2Y&tit=Full+Of+Shit+%28Comedian+George+Carlin%29&c=3&sigr=11bj17s3q&sigt=115svm6hd&sigi=11r6m0f8n&ct=p&age=1381691063&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-003&hspart=mozilla&tt=b
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool I thought I'b bring this back up to the front for further discussion.
I wrote:
Quote:

OK lets talk about it.
Suppose you or I had an acre that we wanted to improve the soil quality of to the optimum condition for sustainable food production. What would be the goals we should be looking for? PH of 6, carbon content of ? presence of earth worms and fungi? How do you define when you have got the job done and it is time to move on to the next acre?
I'm interested as I have some fallow acres and some equipment and a lot of time if not too much money and would like to experiment with bringing some land up to the best possible condition without going too far on any one criteria or wasting any time or money.
If you can't see the target clearly it is hard to hit it.

It snowed two inches here last night so I've been killing time researching.
I think I have come to a plan for the test plot I want to start with.
As soon as the snow is gone (just two feet to go) I'll mark off the acre and clear any brush with brush hog and chain saw.
Then when It has dried out enough(May 1st) I will turn plow the existing sod under using my two bottom plow. plowing on the contour and turning up hill the furrow ends to minimize erosion.
While the sods are rotting over a couple of weeks I'll do a soil test and based on results most likely add one to two tons of ground limestone.
May 15-20th I'll disk in the lime and plant a mix of cow peas , oats and red clover and chain drag that to cover.
About August first if that stand is well established I'll plow it under turning the furrows up hill and again on the contours.
After two weeks I'll disk it and plant a mixture of soy beans , tillage turnip , radish, red clover and winter rye. and let that grow until snowfall in November.
Spring of 2016 I'll reassess and re test and decide if more lime is needed and whether to plow under yet again or just find a no-till seeder to seed in soy beans and turnips/ sweet clover right through the winter survivors.
If I choose to not plow I'll at least mow the spring growth of rye flat and rake it off to give the beans a chance to germinate.
Any thoughts anybody?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
If the rye was just rolled flat and not killed by some method it would spring back up and compete with the cash crop just as they were germinating.


The trick is to "crimp" the stems of the cover crop. This is done by a heavy roller covered in raised ridges, they flatten the stem but don't sever it. Leaving the stems attached means that the dead cover crop stays in place, rather than blowing away or getting collected by your seed drill.

I love this idea, and will be using it myself once I have got past the first two years of deep ploughing to incorporate an absolute shit-load ( literally ) of organic matter into my fields.

The deep cover-crop-mulch does cause problems for a conventional seed drill, I'm sure I can figure out a way on my limited acreage.

Some of the no till planters I've seen video of have pairs of row sweeping coulters working ahead of the seed drills they have slots in them so they act like spinning fingers and leave about an eight inch path debris free in front of the opening knife. They throw the debris out into the row space adding to the rye mulch.
http://www.sloanex.com/a8qser1rsd-yetter2967seriesresiduemanagerfor2959fertilizercoulter.html
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Catweazle



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 2236
Location: Little England, over the hills

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VT - I look forward to your results.

I am definitely going to use a no-till method once the soil is ready, but it's far from it at the moment. The field I really want to use for fruit and veg has been used for sheep and cows for many years, it's like concrete despite having a good depth of soil. As soon as I manage to fix the injection pump on the big tractor I'm going to deep-plough 40 tons of manure into it, then rotovate it to mix it all up and allow some air in, and sow a shed-load of beans on it, which I'll either plough in or let the pigs "process".

After a year or two the worms and fungi will hopefully have recovered, and no-till will rule until I snuff it.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:
VT - I look forward to your results.

I am definitely going to use a no-till method once the soil is ready, but it's far from it at the moment. The field I really want to use for fruit and veg has been used for sheep and cows for many years, it's like concrete despite having a good depth of soil. As soon as I manage to fix the injection pump on the big tractor I'm going to deep-plough 40 tons of manure into it, then rotovate it to mix it all up and allow some air in, and sow a shed-load of beans on it, which I'll either plough in or let the pigs "process".

After a year or two the worms and fungi will hopefully have recovered, and no-till will rule until I snuff it.
There is such a thing as too much manure. You might look at your soil tests and check phosphorous levels to see how much you should apply. By deep plowing do you mean one of these.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A0LEV7h_SCBVxiAAlgAnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw--?p=youtube+jd+pulling+subsoiler&tnr=21&vid=099F6F61DF465EC7A48A099F6F61DF465EC7A48A&l=159&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DUN.608034431807982056%26pid%3D15.1&sigi=11rtosqep&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6g1yR_4njQE&sigr=11bd1i0tb&tt=b&tit=John+Deere+8330+-+Great+Plains+Subsoiler&sigt=118oes6dd&back=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dyoutube%2Bjd%2Bpulling%2Bsubsoiler%26ei%3DUTF-8%26hsimp%3Dyhs-004%26hspart%3Dmozilla&sigb=13824j7bj&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004
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Catweazle



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 2236
Location: Little England, over the hills

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VT. No, not a subsoiler like that, I have a single share "deep digger" ransomes plough. It was made in WW2, for the purpose of turning sheep land into crop land, for the war effort.

It's a seriously big single share, and it's going to need my 70hp tractor to pull it. Unfortunately that tractor is broken right now.

The "veg patch" in question is 2.5 acres, so 40 tons of manure is not too much, in fact I could probably double that. It will be distributed through at least 12" of soil.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5290
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:
VT. No, not a subsoiler like that, I have a single share "deep digger" ransomes plough. It was made in WW2, for the purpose of turning sheep land into crop land, for the war effort.

It's a seriously big single share, and it's going to need my 70hp tractor to pull it. Unfortunately that tractor is broken right now.

The "veg patch" in question is 2.5 acres, so 40 tons of manure is not too much, in fact I could probably double that. It will be distributed through at least 12" of soil.

One shank at a time is just slower. The tractor in the video has about 40HP per shank. It needs a lot of land in front of it to justify the payments.
I hear you on the broken tractor. I basically lost all of last summer after I blew an O-ring in the 3 point hitch and had to wait for cash flow to come in before I could have it fixed properly. I hope you get yours in order in time to do your spring work.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a small lime spreader off Craigslist yesterday. Just 200 lbs capacity but it will work better then a shovel. I can pull it behind the lawn tractor as it would look just too silly behind the big one. $55 for something that sells for $200 down at the store. Also yesterday I was digging a road over one of the proposed test sections through the snow pack to reach a tree i wanted in the wood pile. The ground isn't frozen under neath so I turned over a few soil samples by accident. Very good looking loam with good structure already. Soil samples and testing are the next step.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made about seven gallons of Maple syrup today which brings the season to fifteen with three or four left in the pans. A very late and short season but you have to expect such variations here. So in the next few days I could get some good weather and another sap run or it could warm up and melt the rest of the snow so I could get on with spring work. At this point I'll take either one.
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Mark



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 1114
Location: NW England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Till or Not to Till, That Is the Agri-Question:
http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/supply_chain/sheila_shayon/till_or_not_till_agri-question?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=businessweekly&utm_campaign=jul27&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoksqrLZKXonjHpfsX66uwuWK62lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4FScZlI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFTrTBMbVxyLgOXxk%3D

Farmers have tilled the soil - turning it as preparation for planting - for millennia. But that legacy is under scrutiny today as “soil health” has entered the vernacular – at least amongst people aware of prevailing agri-trends such as those recently discussed in the New York Times. “I think part of the excitement is the catchiness of the new term,” said Tony Vyn, professor of agronomy at Purdue University. “Years ago, we called it soil quality and now it’s soil health. Part of it is also the growing concern for hypoxia (oxygen depletion) in the Gulf of Mexico and the phosphorous going into Lake Erie. This and increased societal scrutiny have advanced the notion that we need to increase our attention to soil health.”

No-till soil-conservation farming, aka “green manures,” follows nature in its natural cycle of regeneration. Proponents of no-till say over-tilling the soil leaves it exposed to erosion, particularly from water and wind. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s epitomized what severe windstorms and droughts, along with eroding topsoil, do to destroy crops, livelihoods and life itself. No-till farming eschews use of machinery and maintains and reuses crop residue, which can provide as much as 2 inches of additional water to crops in late summer. But vocal critics of no-till cite drawbacks such as the fact that root crops require tilled lands; and that switching farming methods is a huge expense, requires new equipment and, worst of all, uses chemical herbicides and pesticides.

The benefits of tillage include:
Soil conditioning
Weed and pest suppression
Residue management
Incorporation and mixing
Segregation
Land forming
Stimulation of nutrient release

Negative effects of tillage include:
Compaction of soil below the depth of tillage
Crusting of soil when soil pulverization is followed by rain
Increased susceptibility to water and wind erosion
Accelerated decomposition of organic matter
Cost of equipment purchase and operation
Energy cost of tillage operations
Labor and temporal obligations

Government surveys suggest that no-tillage farming now accounts for about 35 percent of cropland in the U.S.

Continues....
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