Farming and ranching are both career choices which require continued study, education, and practice modification to remain profitable and regenerative. As you know from previous blog entries, i’ve tried tillage and replanting with perennials, hired an organic farmer who is using minimal tillage and planting food grade soybeans and has tried planting cover crops to hold soil when crops are harvested (this has not been successful – weather), and both of these approaches to eliminate toxic endophyte fescue have been very expensive and no enhancement of soil health.
My next practice is planned to start with frost seeding as soon as weather allows – which is looking to be challenging since we are in the midst of a polar vortex right now and near record lows. But turnaround this weekend to near historic highs. Missouri is always a challenge in the weather department. Broadcast frost seeding is typically accomplished by early March.
High stock density grazing or mob grazing is labor intensive and thereby expensive to implement, but i hope to use this practice to prepare the soil for receiving the grass/forage seeds. All these expenses i will record, track, and monetize to make an apples to apples comparison with the other two practices i’ve tried. (Organic soybean farming and Permanent Ley Pasture)
To keep costs down, i plant to use annuals, grazing, and long rest to allow these plants to produce a lot of growth but before the plants become unpalatable, mob graze again allowing lots of manure and urine deposition across the paddock as well as trampling plants to keep soil covered and cool. That’s the plan anyway. My top photo was taken last year, but illustrates what the grazing/trampling effect i hope to achieve with hoof action and no mechanical tillage.
Planned seeds for broadcast:
- Alsike clover – .25 lb
- Barley – 8 lbs
- Lespedeza – 3 lbs (if a supply can be sourced)
- Oats – 8 lbs
- Sunflower – 3 lbs
I’ve ordered a broadcast seeder for my John Deere Gator, so that should make broadcasting much easier so that i’m more likely to get it done in a timely fashion. Sometimes having the right machinery makes money rather than costing. It depends on one’s goals and how much you value your time. Also, if the practice is effective. If, for example, the practice does not add value to my operation, then the more i do it, the more expensive it becomes. One of the holistic management testing decisions.
- Energy/money source & use
- Is the energy or money to be used in this action derived from the most appropriate source in terms of your holistic goal?
- Will the way in which energy or money is to be used lead toward your holistic goal.
So, this is what i do when i have a really bad head and it’s below freezing outside. Study and plan.