My best plots…..

Rit

5 year old buck +
The last company I worked for sold premium fertilizer products to specialty crop, organic, and conventional growers, but the majority of customers had either fully transitioned or were in the process of transitioning to certified organic. These are all professional growers located in most of the Midwest. One thing that really surprised me was a consistent trend across folks who have been no till for a while. I literally don't think there was a single customer who was purely no till for more than 7-10 years. My point is that these people are doing it professionally (and were extremely profitable doing so) and were still not able to exclusively no till. Give yourself a break. Some years plots are going to look better than others. Incorporating some tillage maybe necessary for your soils.
That’s a bit surprising. You might be on to something thx.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
I think you have answered your own question. Your plots do not do well with TNM. Your plots do great when you turn the soil. Your soil is not conducive to TNM. Stop fighting it!
I think my TNM would be better if I didn’t use a rotary cutter. My rotary cutter isn’t lending itself to a nice even spread of the thatch. Thanks for the input.
 
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bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
Heavy clay is a problem in parts of NY. My backyard plot included.

You rotate soil, you get new weed seed. However, I believe there is plenty of worth to truning hard clay into increased organic matter coneent. Use fertilizer to build organic matter. Turn the soil over after a few years to mix it in deeper, but not too deep.

Run that no till method for a few years, then mix that top layer of organic matter a few inches down with a set of discs. Let the soil alone for a week or two, until fresh weed seed is sprouting. Lightly disturb the soil with a set of discs or a harrow or drag. You can do that one more time, or let the weeds come back young, spray them dead, and plant. make this your spring cleaning, plant a summer plot, then your fall of rye n clover. Turning down deep can take your hard work of improved organic matter and hde it on you. Much of no-till is the top 3-4 inches.

A tree farm down the road does this rotation....... When he's done with a run of trees, he cuts the trees and either chips them up or burn some of it with the stumps. He lets the place goes to weeds for about 2 years, then runs subsoiler in there. Sprays the weeds dead, lightly discs and put orchardgrass and clover down.

The old me...... I'd clover up a field until the clover got choked out, then make something more attractve, then go back to clover.

Using some more diesel and fertilizer is much cheaper than starting from scratch again. IF you move, you might not like the neighbors and a host of other things. you know what you got.

One majot philosphy of no-till, always have something growing. Simple fix, always have some clover seed on hand....... A few years of cereal grains and clover, them give it a disc and make it soybeans turnips corn or whatever makes your eyes dazzle..... After that glory year, give the soil a break with some cereal grains again. However, have the clover growing underneath your corn or beans or turnips. Possibly using exclusively ladino clover, because it wont compete as much as other clovers. My brother in laws finds it worthwhile and profitable to have an airplane seed rye into his soybean fields a few weeks before harvest. It's been a dry NY summer, he thinks ahead not behind. I'm guessing he'll hit the rye hard this fall. Likely just to preserve that expensive fertilizer he put down on more or less failed crops. Insurance for his bad crop year is a bunch of dairy cows....... His best AG field is the 450 acre spot he lets me hunt in. Might backfire. Last opening day I get there and he's running 2 combine trains in there. 2 combines, 2 jockey tractors with wagons, (4) 18 wheelers, and a repair and refueling rig too.

Not sure what you have far as plot sizes, but you could plant soybeans and have someone harvest them for you. Same with corn. Generate a few dollars, or motivate someone to help you with your land for their profit......
 
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SD51555

5 year old buck +
If your pH is good, pour the gypsum to that clay. If your pH is low, pour the calcitic lime. Sounds like you need a geological boost and some oxygen.
 
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Rit

5 year old buck +
190A6722-B567-462C-A4F5-B5F0718EF102.jpegF3626098-7DA4-4886-91FA-7497F9DEA96C.jpegD4605AA2-64BA-49C4-8B49-24A46BA7A1AB.jpeg

On a side note I picked up these 3 cultipackers at a consignment auction today for $1200. I thought the 8’ double row Dunham Lehr was worth that on its own. The two 5’ pull behinds were just a bonus.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
I use convention tillage and planting and do some throw and mow. Never do my throw and mow plots look as good as plots that use tillage and covering seed, ect. There are just so many variables that are out of your control with throw and mow. Is the thatch too thick, is it too thin, is the rain just right, are weeds going to come in too quick, are birds or hogs going to eat the seed, is the seed going to achieve good seed to soil contact, and on and on.

On the other hand, food plots dont have to be on the front of Progressive Farmer Magazine. I used to be pretty particular about the look of my plots. It took me some time to figure out the deer werent nearly as particular. Some ground really needs care when planting to keep it from washing away - some ground has been row cropped for 100 years and still producing great.

If you are all about soil health - that is great. I am all about how many deer and turkeys I can produce on my place. I am not going to rape the ground now at the expense of it later - but I am not so worried about soil health that I am afraid to put tillage on it if need be. There is a happy medium. I have been planting my plots for 20 years and even with tillage, the soil is in much better shape than when I bought it after being grazed for fifty years.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
One majot philosphy of no-till, always have something growing. Simple fix, always have some clover seed on hand....... A few years of cereal grains and clover, them give it a disc and make it soybeans turnips corn or whatever makes your eyes dazzle..... After that glory year, give the soil a break with some cereal grains again. However, have the clover growing underneath your corn or beans or turnips. Possibly using exclusively ladino clover, because it wont compete as much as other clovers. My brother in laws finds it worthwhile and profitable to have an airplane seed rye into his soybean fields a few weeks before harvest. It's been a dry NY summer, he thinks ahead not behind. I'm guessing he'll hit the rye hard this fall. Likely just to preserve that expensive fertilizer he put down on more or less failed crops. Insurance for his bad crop year is a bunch of dairy cows....... His best AG field is the 450 acre spot he lets me hunt in. Might

Not sure what you have far as plot sizes, but you could plant soybeans and have someone harvest them for you. Same with corn. Generate a few dollars, or motivate someone to help you with your land for their profit..
Good post lots of things to chew on thanks for the time. I am not afraid of weed seed the plots I am planting no till are ending up 60% weeds. That compacted heavy clay shows no mercy when we don’t get ample rain fall. I have done a poor job of keeping it covered. I need to start getting great deep rooted plants to survive that have a healthy root structure.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
If your pH is good, pour the gypsum to that clay. If your pH is low, pour the calcitic lime. Sounds like you need a geological boost and some oxygen.
We know what gypsum has done for price this year. I have not done a soil test in 4 or 5 years but I live on a limestone ridge. PH has never been a problem and usually in that 7.1 -7.3 range. I don’t know what it’s like to spread lime.

You might be on to something. What do roots look like that are lacking oxygen? Some plants that I pull out have very white roots that no dirt sticks to when you pull them like they are starved for oxygen.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
I use convention tillage and planting and do some throw and mow. Never do my throw and mow plots look as good as plots that use tillage and covering seed, ect. There are just so many variables that are out of your control with throw and mow. Is the thatch too thick, is it too thin, is the rain just right, are weeds going to come in too quick, are birds or hogs going to eat the seed, is the seed going to achieve good seed to soil contact, and on and on.

On the other hand, food plots dont have to be on the front of Progressive Farmer Magazine. I used to be pretty particular about the look of my plots. It took me some time to figure out the deer werent nearly as particular. Some ground really needs care when planting to keep it from washing away - some ground has been row cropped for 100 years and still producing great.

If you are all about soil health - that is great. I am all about how many deer and turkeys I can produce on my place. I am not going to rape the ground now at the expense of it later - but I am not so worried about soil health that I am afraid to put tillage on it if need be. There is a happy medium. I have been planting my plots for 20 years and even with tillage, the soil is in much better shape than when I bought it after being grazed for fifty years.
Of course I want my plots to have minimal weeds but I can tolerate some. Great if they look like they belong in a magazine but I prefer they are effective at drawing and holding the attention of critters as you mentioned. My no till plots have been a very high count of weeds because the things I am planting are not thriving or healthy.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
Great looking plots. Keep up the good work. I disked one plot this year because I felt it needed it. The rest were put in with a lawnmower. I don't feel bad about the one disked plot.
Thx NH I don’t think I am explaining things clearly. The great looking plots were put in with a 5’ 3 point rototiller. I moved away from disturbance and my plots have suffered because of it. I haven’t had a good looking plot like that for a few years.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
View attachment 45629View attachment 45630View attachment 45631

On a side note I picked up these 3 cultipackers at a consignment auction today for $1200. I thought the 8’ double row Dunham Lehr was worth that on its own. The two 5’ pull behinds were just a bonus.

That is a steal. Wouldn’t be surprised if you could get $3k+ for that lot.
 
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Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Good post lots of things to chew on thanks for the time. I am not afraid of weed seed the plots I am planting no till are ending up 60% weeds. That compacted heavy clay shows no mercy when we don’t get ample rain fall. I have done a poor job of keeping it covered. I need to start getting great deep rooted plants to survive that have a healthy root structure.

For good soil building root structure, yu may want to consider switch grass & blue stem. Booth have large & deep, 8'10' root systems. They are what built the soils in the upper midwest states where there are top quality soils.

I converted 18 acres of ag land to switch grass 6 years ago. All frost seeded in the late winter with a bag seeder. The shot below is the field today. Six years of root development and 6' tall upper growth die back every winter. Also create great wildlife cover year round.

You could plant a combo of tillage radishes the 1st 2 years as the SG/BS won't be that tall or cushy. The tillage radishes will help break up soil for water penetration and add OM.

1661714759388.jpeg
 

TenPoint

5 year old buck +
Sorry I wasn’t a little more clear I tend to be all over the map when I get frustrated. . Most of those plots were put in with a tiller a few years before I went full on no till. Since going full no till I haven’t had a plot that look even close to the really good photos. I also have never had a good plot in the clay. My rub is basically if soil disturbance is so bad why when I plant with that method do they look so good but when I no till I get trash.
Do what works as someone else said. Not everything has to be no till, soil health, etc. Everyone’s soil is different. Sometimes you can’t try and put a square peg in a round hole.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
We know what gypsum has done for price this year. I have not done a soil test in 4 or 5 years but I live on a limestone ridge. PH has never been a problem and usually in that 7.1 -7.3 range. I don’t know what it’s like to spread lime.

You might be on to something. What do roots look like that are lacking oxygen? Some plants that I pull out have very white roots that no dirt sticks to when you pull them like they are starved for oxygen.
I'm not certain on that. Could you take a shovel out and just grab a chunk of soil down to about 6 or 7 inches and take a picture? I'd like to see what it physically looks like.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
For good soil building root structure, yu may want to consider switch grass & blue stem. Booth have large & deep, 8'10' root systems. They are what built the soils in the upper midwest states where there are top quality soils.

I converted 18 acres of ag land to switch grass 6 years ago. All frost seeded in the late winter with a bag seeder. The shot below is the field today. Six years of root development and 6' tall upper growth die back every winter. Also create great wildlife cover year round.

You could plant a combo of tillage radishes the 1st 2 years as the SG/BS won't be that tall or cushy. The tillage radishes will help break up soil for water penetration and add OM.

View attachment 45644

Funny you mention switch. The field itself is about 9 acres. What isn’t planted in food is all 4th year Switch. Cave-in-Rock and Kanlow.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
I'm not certain on that. Could you take a shovel out and just grab a chunk of soil down to about 6 or 7 inches and take a picture? I'd like to see what it physically looks like.
I can and will but it will be a few days. We are getting decent rain right now and the field will be quite the mess.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
Do what works as someone else said. Not everything has to be no till, soil health, etc. Everyone’s soil is different. Sometimes you can’t try and put a square peg in a round hole.
One of my favorite past times is trying to get that square peg in the round hole. I think I am going to till one half of the field and plant yet this fall.
 

omicron1792

5 year old buck +
I’m not sure that anyone would argue that a field put in with traditional tillage looks better, especially early, than a no till field. I think the issue is the input you have to continually supply to a Tilled field And how a no till field will eventually catch up and be self-sustaining.
 

Rit

5 year old buck +
I’m not sure that anyone would argue that a field put in with traditional tillage looks better, especially early, than a no till field. I think the issue is the input you have to continually supply to a Tilled field And how a no till field will eventually catch up and be self-sustaining.
You will get zero argument from me and possibly none at all from anyone else. All of my TNM plots would lag behind for a bit but the end result was usually a pretty good plot. Not always though. When I used a tiller I more times than not if I had acceptable levels of rain I had a really good plot that was a huge draw. I am just not getting the desired results using a drill which is perplexing to me. I seem to have more weeds than I did when I was disturbing the soil.
 
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