Switchgrass project

j-bird

Moderator
I went and took some photo's last night of my current switchgrass project and though I would share. My farm has a gross need for additioanl cover - to address this I enrolled some ground into CRP program, but the cover that came up naturally just didn't seem to hold the deer - So I contacted my NRCS folks and was given the green light to plant switchgrass (but I had to pay for it). Because of the expense of the seed and I had to pay someone to drill it for me I kept it on the small side. The "bare" photos are from when we planted in June last year. The "green" photos are from last night so right at a year later. The planting year I mowed the broadleaves once they got above the switch and thenI sprayed generic 24D later. I thought I had a failure the first year as the foxtail took over.

This is generally what the CRP looked like before I decided to improve it. It just wasn't holding deer or being an effective screen.
CRP current.JPG
 

j-bird

Moderator
Now for some before (at time of planting last year in June) and what I have this year so far (as of yesterday).

Before....
2013 bottom NWSG facing east.JPG


After...... (roughly 40" tall - and I still have 2 months of hot & humid weather ahead)
2014 bottom switch facing east.jpg
 

j-bird

Moderator
Same deal here - except the narrow area is to act more as a screen from the field while the wider area is to become doe bedding.

Before....
2013 SW NWSG water way.JPG

After - more grass in this than broadleaves but that's fine either way - I like the diversity and it doesn't seem to be hurting the switch - again right at that 40" tall mark.
2014 SW switch at waterway.jpg
 

j-bird

Moderator
Another area. This one is where Ineeded to add cover around a feeding area. In the distance you can see a small corn plot of only 1/4 acre or so. The area that is brown was simply fescue waterway to controll erosion with CRP again between the plot and the trees - again not much cover.


2013 SW NWSG corn plot.JPG

Last night - as you can see the increase is pretty dramatic with again 3 foot tall grass and broadleaves. I hope this helps with daytime feeding and simply increasing the beddng opportunities. With this just being the first year I hope I get even taller growt next year. I would like to see between 4 and 5 feet -but that may be asking a bit much.
2014 SW switch facing southwest.jpg
 

j-bird

Moderator
I have more photo's but I seem to be having some issues (stupid technology). I think I am on the right path and I think other critters like quail, turkey and rabbits will be helped as well. I don't know the exact variety of switchgrass it is but I can tell you where to get it (although it raised a stink on that other site) - all I know is that I am pretty happy thus far. The "stick" in the below photo is 48" tall (so it isn't a yard stick or a meter stick). Based on the results thus far I have no doubt I will be expanding my switchgrass planting. I limted what I planted to see how it would go - I have even larger areas to do for bedding and more strips to do for field screening as well.
2014 bottom switch detail.jpg
 
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scott44

5 year old buck +
Nice looking switch J-bird! The switch really improved it from the CRP, how heavy did you plant the switch?
 
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dipper

Guest
In 2012 I tilled the soil in spring and basically killed it. We didn't get any rain from damn near June to September. I drilled cave in rock switchgrass.
That stuff is resilient as it gets. It didn't do a thing the first year, it isn't super thick but it is reseeding itself and getting thicker.
It's gonna take over. From what I've seen the only thing that will ruin a planting is nasty cool season grass.
 

j-bird

Moderator
The planting was actually switch, indian and big bluestem - we drilled the mixture at roughly 10 lbs/acre. The switch was placed in a seperate hopper and thus is planted in rows. Only the switch seems to have done anything. As I expand I will plant only the switch to eliminate the high cost of the indian and big-bluestem grasses (since they didn't seem to do well at his point) and may try just tilling and broadcasting or frost seeding. I figure the switch will reseed and thicken on it's own over time, but for now the broadleafs can add some diversity. I went from knee high cover to around waist high - hopfully it will do even better next year. If I had known then what I know now I would have planted the switch in the CRP along time ago.
 
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dipper

Guest
That's really interesting j bird, because I planted the Indian and big blue too. I should note I have multiple nwsg plantings. In the spot where I mixed everything the switch seems to be the only one growing real good. This was last years planting, I have any older than that.
I actually bought my Indian and big blue seed from this hippie lady and I thought she sold me some bad seed. It obviously wasn't certified. I got it for like $6/pound so that is a really good deal.
Maybe someone has a thought on this? Does the fluffy seed take a little longer to grow? Little longer to grow? I'm not writing my stuff off yet. But that switch is really impressive.
 

Riggsgwp->

5 year old buck +
As far as Big Blue/Indian growth my first year it grew about 6-8 inches and this year it is 20-24 inches thus far and looking good. Some other areas didn't take as well and I'm only seeing forbs not sure why. I may replant a few acres into switch after seeing those pics.
 

jwill1776

5 year old buck +
Switch tends to be an early adopter, big blue and indian tend to show up more in the 2nd or 3rd year if given a chance to establish.
 

j-bird

Moderator
I got my seed in a mix of roughly 1/3 of each type (indian,switch & big blue) from who I beleive to be a good source for a competative price. The indian and big-blue still had their "beard" and went in the main hopper of the drill, the switch went into a different hopper. I may have some of the others but I figured the grass I see that isn't switch was foxtail - I could be wrong (happens alot - ask my wife). I should be able to tell later in the year as the grass seeds out. I figured year 2 and 40" was pretty good. Hopefully the deer like it as well.
 

j-bird

Moderator
dipper - only one type of seed I want from a hippie! I get enough air traffic as it is and those ding-dongs really check out my giant ragweed every summer - so ain't no way I could get away with it even if I tried. I am surprised they have not raided my shooing houses looking for meth labs yet. My boy joked and said he was going to paint a sign "NOT A METH LAB" and toss it up on the roof of our shooting houses (he must get his sarcasim from his mother)!
 
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NYPLOTTER

Guest
I got my seed in a mix of roughly 1/3 of each type (indian,switch & big blue) from who I beleive to be a good source for a competative price. The indian and big-blue still had their "beard" and went in the main hopper of the drill, the switch went into a different hopper. I may have some of the others but I figured the grass I see that isn't switch was foxtail - I could be wrong (happens alot - ask my wife). I should be able to tell later in the year as the grass seeds out. I figured year 2 and 40" was pretty good. Hopefully the deer like it as well.
If it's 40" now it going to put a lot more growth on over the next 60 days. July and Aug are the big switchgrass months...

I have some going into year 3, some in year two and this years plantings. My year 3 stuff was looking pretty nice when I was at the farm a couple weeks ago. Can't wait to how it looks this weekend when I'm back up there. I will post some pictures.
 

j-bird

Moderator
I figured the heat and humidity of July and Aug would help. If I think about it I will check the height at the end of July and again end of Aug just to see.

How well should I expect it to stand up to old man winter?
 
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NYPLOTTER

Guest
In heavy snow it will go down but it pops up pretty good. Unlike weeds and such that just go flat there is still some cover during the winter and spring. I think you get less snow (maybe a lot less) then we do in central NY so you should be in good shape. We need conifers in NY for winter cover.
 
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NYPLOTTER

Guest
Got some pictures of my 3rd year Switchgrass today. Looking good so far this year. Some of the thin spots I frost seeded this year have some foxtail coming in so I'm going to spray this week. But most of the field looks great.
3690f09ff90b0d12fa50ace5bd4ba652.jpg

729063494bea8ec7eb069d5efe33d67a.jpg

05e85ba62a76ca2b02bd22f1411b305d.jpg
 

j-bird

Moderator
Talked to my seed supplier about the switch and he tells me I could be possibly be looking at 7 to 8 feet tall yet this year. If it grows that much in that amount of time I should be about able to watch it grow! This is far better than I had expected - especially since it was only planted last June. I didn't figure Iwould get anywhere near 5 or 6 feet until at least year 2 or maybe even year 3.
 

john volkman

5 year old buck +
in a hot wet year i have had my cave in the rock exceed 7ft, I'm in ne wi. Indian grass seems to grow later in the year than switch in my stands
 

huntall

5 year old buck +
good looking grass! I have 2 small paches of Alamo Swithgrass. I got my seed from turner seed. It is still young, but i have not even gone to check mine this summer.
Hope mine will look as good as the ones above.
Mine is a little over one year old.
 
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