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Straw for OM

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Couple of questions ...

My local Feed Mill dealer suggested growing sudan grass then mowing when it gets to 2'-3'. Repeat that process as many times as you can during the growing season. Thoughts?

Why no cereal grains?
That would work best, but to get it to keep growing, you've got to cut it above a certain point, and I can't recall if that's 4" or 12", and you're gonna have impressive biomass, possibly more than you can manage.

The no cereals point was about alternating between high carbon and low carbon plants. If you get too much duff built up, it doesn't break down, and your ability to build soil will slow down. You don't have to alternate, you could also do a permanent perennial/annual mix. That's a whole other ball of wax I ain't completely mastered yet.
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
That would work best, but to get it to keep growing, you've got to cut it above a certain point, and I can't recall if that's 4" or 12", and you're gonna have impressive biomass, possibly more than you can manage.

The no cereals point was about alternating between high carbon and low carbon plants. If you get too much duff built up, it doesn't break down, and your ability to build soil will slow down. You don't have to alternate, you could also do a permanent perennial/annual mix. That's a whole other ball of wax I ain't completely mastered yet.
I'm sticking with the TnM buckwheat and sun hemp if I can find it. Followed by rye and brassica in the fall. Wash rinse repeat. But I'm open to any suggestions
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I'm sticking with the TnM buckwheat and sun hemp if I can find it. Followed by rye and brassica in the fall. Wash rinse repeat. But I'm open to any suggestions

There are lots of combinations of crops you can use if you can get them to grow in your soils. The key is the mix of Carbon and Nitrogen either by mix or rotation or both. Your plan is a good one to begin with, but you should be ready to see how things go and adjust accordingly. I like this combination because these crops are all good deer crops as well as making a good OM producer over time. Don't get discouraged. It can take many years to improve OM levels significantly.

Best of luck,

Jack
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
There are lots of combinations of crops you can use if you can get them to grow in your soils. The key is the mix of Carbon and Nitrogen either by mix or rotation or both. Your plan is a good one to begin with, but you should be ready to see how things go and adjust accordingly. I like this combination because these crops are all good deer crops as well as making a good OM producer over time. Don't get discouraged. It can take many years to improve OM levels significantly.

Best of luck,

Jack
Thanks jack. That's why I'm here. Mr soil report i think was just a omg you have so much work to do letter. I talked to a forester that actually worked on my land several years ago and he wasn't very positive about what I had to work with but I have nothing but time to work money is an issue but all in time. I can buy the seed and lime every year so I'm good there. Just need to get water to the crops
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Thanks jack. That's why I'm here. Mr soil report i think was just a omg you have so much work to do letter. I talked to a forester that actually worked on my land several years ago and he wasn't very positive about what I had to work with but I have nothing but time to work money is an issue but all in time. I can buy the seed and lime every year so I'm good there. Just need to get water to the crops
I can't recall was your soil sandy, clay, loam, or a tweener?
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
I'm sticking with the TnM buckwheat and sun hemp if I can find it. Followed by rye and brassica in the fall. Wash rinse repeat. But I'm open to any suggestions


Sahara desert sand

On the soil type you described, the sun hemp will take years to breakdown. You will quickly become frustrated with it and try to mechanically break it down and you won't be able to. I planted it 3 years ago based on advice here, bad decision. High fiber structure that stays above the soil, resists mechanical working, and takes years to breakdown.

"Sahara desert sand" ... sounds like you are trying to plant grass seed on your driveway ...
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
On the soil type you described, the sun hemp will take years to breakdown. You will quickly become frustrated with it and try to mechanically break it down and you won't be able to. I planted it 3 years ago based on advice here, bad decision. High fiber structure that stays above the soil, resists mechanical working, and takes years to breakdown.

"Sahara desert sand" ... sounds like you are trying to plant grass seed on your driveway ...
Noted on the help I'll keep that in mind. The soil is pretty bad. Locals call it blow sand prickly pears. You can literally take a rake and remove anything growing as the sand just sweeps away. Hoping the buckwheat and rye will help with that
 

FarmerDan

5 year old buck +
Fair warning! I only know half of what I'm talking about. The the issue is I don't know which half. Increasing OM is a simple math calculation with a lot of complexities between the beginning and the end. Let's start with the sample. You send it in. The labs dries it if you haven't. Lets assume its 100% dry. Maybe it's different now. But a long time ago the OM content of your sample was determined by burning it. Lets say the soil used was one pound before the OM got burned out. It's much smaller but let's go with it. Now it weighs 15.75 ounces. What comes back on your soil results sheet? OM = 1-(15.75/16) = 1.6% in round numbers.

Fast forward back at the food plot. What do you need to do to raise OM 1-percentage-point...to get to 2.6%? Yes! Get more organic matter in the soil, but how much?

Let's say you took a sample of the top 6-inches just to establish a base from which to start. In this business we assume the top 6-inches weighs 2,000,000 lbs. So, to get that one-point boost you need to add 20,000 lbs of DRY organic matter (2,000,000 * 0.01). You had 32,000 lbs (2,000,000 *.0156) and added 20,000 lbs. Now you have 52,000 lbs of 'presumed' organic matter in you top six inches of soil or 2.6% OM ((32,000 + 20,000)/2,000,000).

It's not quite that easy. The conversion process is complicated by a number of factors. Nobody ever get's anything that easy. I'm not versed enough on the subject to go there.

What to plant, then, is the question. My reading tells me the root mass is more important in this than the vegetative mass produced, although both are contributors. My assumption is annuals producer more vegetation than root. Maybe 75:25. Perennials? I don't know - 50:50? Bottom line is to produce a lot of mass. And leave it alone.

Lets use sun hemp. I read it can produce up to 13-tons of dry matter although 2-3 tons is more typical. Cereal grains maybe two or three tons annually. And, the carbon content of each species is important. If one plant produces the same dry weight of biomass but different amounts of carbon pick the big one.

If a plant can rebound after mowing, it will continue to produce vegetative matter because it's aim is to flower, produce seed, and die. It just depends on where new growth originates.

Growing multiple crops in the same space in the same year (think double cropping) can produce an abundance of OM. So, too, does adding manure. Some types are high in OM so you get that in addition to what the crop(s) supply.

That's my simple minded understanding and explanation. It's a complex subject - like making a million dollars a year.
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
Fair warning! I only know half of what I'm talking about. The the issue is I don't know which half. Increasing OM is a simple math calculation with a lot of complexities between the beginning and the end. Let's start with the sample. You send it in. The labs dries it if you haven't. Lets assume its 100% dry. Maybe it's different now. But a long time ago the OM content of your sample was determined by burning it. Lets say the soil used was one pound before the OM got burned out. It's much smaller but let's go with it. Now it weighs 15.75 ounces. What comes back on your soil results sheet? OM = 1-(15.75/16) = 1.6% in round numbers.

Fast forward back at the food plot. What do you need to do to raise OM 1-percentage-point...to get to 2.6%? Yes! Get more organic matter in the soil, but how much?

Let's say you took a sample of the top 6-inches just to establish a base from which to start. In this business we assume the top 6-inches weighs 2,000,000 lbs. So, to get that one-point boost you need to add 20,000 lbs of DRY organic matter (2,000,000 * 0.01). You had 32,000 lbs (2,000,000 *.0156) and added 20,000 lbs. Now you have 52,000 lbs of 'presumed' organic matter in you top six inches of soil or 2.6% OM ((32,000 + 20,000)/2,000,000).

It's not quite that easy. The conversion process is complicated by a number of factors. Nobody ever get's anything that easy. I'm not versed enough on the subject to go there.

What to plant, then, is the question. My reading tells me the root mass is more important in this than the vegetative mass produced, although both are contributors. My assumption is annuals producer more vegetation than root. Maybe 75:25. Perennials? I don't know - 50:50? Bottom line is to produce a lot of mass. And leave it alone.

Lets use sun hemp. I read it can produce up to 13-tons of dry matter although 2-3 tons is more typical. Cereal grains maybe two or three tons annually. And, the carbon content of each species is important. If one plant produces the same dry weight of biomass but different amounts of carbon pick the big one.

If a plant can rebound after mowing, it will continue to produce vegetative matter because it's aim is to flower, produce seed, and die. It just depends on where new growth originates.

Growing multiple crops in the same space in the same year (think double cropping) can produce an abundance of OM. So, too, does adding manure. Some types are high in OM so you get that in addition to what the crop(s) supply.

That's my simple minded understanding and explanation. It's a complex subject - like making a million dollars a year.
None of the brassica came up. I only put 3lb down as I didn't have high hopes but I'm going to try again next year anyway. I thought about sorghum from what I have read it seems to do ok in sand and low ph
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Sahara desert sand

I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I most of my experience is with clay type soils. They are difficult, but not as bad as sand can be. Nutrients and lime move very slowly through clay and very fast through sand. For crop specifics, you may want to listen to folks who have similar soils and climate. They may be able to give you advice on how specific crops will do in your soil.

Thanks,

Jack
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
My advice, find something that will grow well on it, and let it grow. Even if it is weeds. I use winter rye and clover, because it grows well on most soils. If you soil is that sandy, haul in as much manure as you can for a few years. And plant what will grow.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
My advice, find something that will grow well on it, and let it grow. Even if it is weeds. I use winter rye and clover, because it grows well on most soils. If you soil is that sandy, haul in as much manure as you can for a few years. And plant what will grow.

I would agree.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Noted on the help I'll keep that in mind. The soil is pretty bad. Locals call it blow sand prickly pears. You can literally take a rake and remove anything growing as the sand just sweeps away. Hoping the buckwheat and rye will help with that

Any chance you know a local farmer who will spread manure on your plots?
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
None of the brassica came up. I only put 3lb down as I didn't have high hopes but I'm going to try again next year anyway. I thought about sorghum from what I have read it seems to do ok in sand and low ph
I wouldn't strictly go by this years turn out. I have grown some picture worthy plots in the past. It is pretty easy when you get plenty of rain like we usually do. My two fall plantings this year are a complete joke. There is a little green there but most of it is just nuked thatch without anything growing through it. If you don't get rain you don't get nice plots.
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
I wouldn't strictly go by this years turn out. I have grown some picture worthy plots in the past. It is pretty easy when you get plenty of rain like we usually do. My two fall plantings this year are a complete joke. There is a little green there but most of it is just nuked thatch without anything growing through it. If you don't get rain you don't get nice plots.
Agreed. The buckwheat was doing nicely until the rain quit. I'm not discouraged at all I know I had a lot working against me this year
 

DiSc0Rd

5 year old buck +
Any chance you know a local farmer who will spread manure on your plots?
None in my area. I'm the new owner so haven't scouted the farmers around me yet
 

Bowman

5 year old buck +
Couple of questions ...

My local Feed Mill dealer suggested growing sudan grass then mowing when it gets to 2'-3'. Repeat that process as many times as you can during the growing season. Thoughts?

Why no cereal grains?
Some info: https://www.sare.org/publications/m...bly/nonlegume-cover-crops/sorghum-sudangrass/
Needs soil temperature of 65 degrees. Mowing increases roots and tillering. Prolific growth and amount of vegetation. Frost will kill it, so I would seed rye and clover and radish before the last mowing. The following year, let the rye and clover mature. Repeat.
 

Crimson n' Camo

5 year old buck +
Most of my summer gains for the first 5 or 6 years of the process for me came through crabgrass......It was what grew well in my poor conditions and produced with abundance.....It served its purpose well
 

scott44

5 year old buck +
Most of my summer gains for the first 5 or 6 years of the process for me came through crabgrass......It was what grew well in my poor conditions and produced with abundance.....It served its purpose well
So after the years did the crabgrass get choked out as your soil got better?
 
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