advice on crp signup

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by willy, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    I have 13 acres of ag that is currently half farmed and half crp. The crp expires in a year and I have an opportunity to enroll it again but along with the half that is currently farmed.

    My idea is to plant 4 acres to timber and the rest into warm season grasses(bbstem, little bs, indian, and cir swith) Tree options are white and red oak, shagbark hickory, walnut, and black cherry) I'm not wild about black cherry as they propagate easily in crp grasses nor am I wild about walnut.

    I can also have 5% in a annual food plot.

    The yellow is the where I'm thinking of planting the timber, the red is the food plot, and the balance is warm season grasses with forbs.

    The blacked out area is now a soybean/corn field as the owner bulldozed in 12 acres of timber to farm a year ago so I didn't want that to cloud your evaluation. Google earth hasn't updated the area since 2015.

    A 2' wide tiled creek with 10' plus steep sides runs through the middle. The owner piled up the trees in a windrow about 80 yards long, 30 yards wide and 12 to 15 ft high on the extreme se edge of the blacked out area.It has made a great funnel effect on the east side of the windrow onto my property from the ne.

    Please share your ideas or concerns with this plan. I shared a panned out view to give you an idea of movement in the area. crp plan.jpg crp plan 2020.jpg

    Thank you.
     
  2. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Decatur county, IN Zone 6a
    All I can do is tell you to think first and foremost about how you will hunt this area and how you will access your stands to do so. Consider the terrain and wind directions....it's not good if the deer sit in the woods and watch you or they have the wind carrying your scent to them while you are going to or coming from your stand. Consider the plot location and how you intend on using it. Do you plan on hunting right on top of it? Are you mostly a bow hunter where covering a 1/2+ acre plot may be difficult with a bow. Also consider that your tree planting can dictate the deer movement, because you are creating an edge, and are you putting the deer where you want them to be or are you leading them to a neighbor? I will also add that my deer do not like a sea of grass, but instead like some structure to bed against in that grass.
     
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  3. swat1018

    swat1018 Well-Known Member

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    If shrubs are an option I always opt to shrubs over trees, unless timber value in a generation or two is an issue. It doesn't take long for a successful tree planting to become to open to bed in. Without knowing what your looking for, that's my opinion, I'm always looking for thicker stuff for bedding.
     
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  4. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    Thank you jbird and swat, Those are all great points and all have been taken into consideration. The layout above is drawn with those in mind. I like the idea of shrubs but for this particular program they have to be planted in 30'x30' blocks or something close to that. I've done that on other crp plantings and none of the positive things they said would happen have happened yet. Shrubs always manage to show up in the crp plantings somehow though:)

    The timber planting area is to help continue the ne to sw/s movement that is there now. We only hunt the outsides with wind the deciding factor of which stands are hunted. If wind isn't right we don't hunt. It is a 54 acre parcel that really has everything for quality deer and turkeys. The warm season grass areas are to continue the idea of splitting it up into different segments to keep peer pressure down to encourage as many deer as possible, within carrying capacity.

    The only negative to the timber plantings is that when the program is up it may not be able to be entered back into a program as things might have changed by then. I know it has for some tree plantings I did 30 years ago. They can't be re-uped this go around.

    I can live with that as my wife and I want this to stay habitat for wildlife as much as possible and if there is a way, we will protect it forever or at least as long as this country is a country if some easement programs are still in place in 15 years or so. One of the reasons for this crp planting is to replace the habitat torn out by the neighboring farmer. Its our little way of trying to plug a little hole. This area has lost so much timber and habitat areas since corn and beans hit it high a few years ago, it almost makes me cry.

    If we are blessed we may see some fruit from this but our goals are more long term than that.
     
  5. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    I would move the food plot further to corner,plant switch instead of big blue unless you get really good growth there.I would try to plant food plot so you can use as fire break or at least see if they will allow fire breaks Don't let them get you to plant NWSG in with your trees unless they know you won't burn the grass.I would not go heavy on trees and mix a couple half acre shrub plots.I had some expire and they said I couldn't re enroll them but I am still trying as it seems cheaper to not have to pay to reestablish a planting.
     
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  6. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    It would help to better understand your goals. If the tree planting is for future timber value, the walnut and cherry that you don't like the idea of is the best option. If it's wildlife value, and specifically deer, then the white oak is the best of the options you named. Shagbark hickory your grandkids might enjoy one day. For the NWSG, similarly what are your goals? If it's for deer bedding, I would suggest a monoculture of switchgrass because it's going to stand up to a Nebraska winter much better and offer winter cover when the crops are out and cover is at it's scarcest. If your goals are more broad, for instance deer bedding but also quail/pheasant habitat I would suggest pollinator/monarch planting mix which is heavier on forbs and lighter on NWSG. I think those mixes are worth your consideration, as the inclusion of forbs and greater diversity (beyond NWSG) makes for better bedding cover imo. Your state pheasants/quail forever probably offers seed mixes so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about. Then compare the EQIP payment and commitment to the CRP offer and see which one makes more sense for your place.
     
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  7. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    Buckdeer, thank you for your ideas.
    I can't move the plot to the east because that is in and will continue to be in a filter/buffer strip along that creek that runs north south. I don't plan on doing a burn and will manage the nwsg as I have in other similar plantings. Burns scare me unless I have large treeless areas to work with. I don't have any options on the shrub plantings except plant in those small blocks I described above. The tree planting will be between 3 and 4 acres total. I'm not sure what I can plant in the treed portion but the nrcs biologist wasn't wild about nwsg when I mentioned it because of the fire reason you mentioned. I love your idea just switch, it really stands up and deer bed/fawn a lot in it as well as turks nesting. Good luck with your re enrollment..

    Hoosier, thanks for the questions and suggestions.
    It is basically for wildlife, timber value is a nice byproduct but not a driving force. The oaks I want because of dual timber value and food for critters. Shagbark hickory for the food for squirrels and nesting/living areas under the bark for bats.

    Deer beding/fawning/turkey nesting is the main goals I have for this planting as it's too small to be any good for pheasants. Quail will use this mix based on previous experience but I know its not the best. Lots of quail around the area though with all the hedge fencelines and creek lines.

    The nwsg mix I want is going to be cir switch, bbstem, indian grass, little lbstem, and gamma grass. Heaviest on cir. In the past couple signups I've done one couldn't do a monoculture. They have gotten away from that and want diversity in the mixes. The cir I have currently in some crp and non crp plantings is great for the heavy snows and ice we get here. It always comes back up.

    I put in a pollinator crp planting in a four acre plot at the far south end of this parcel. So far it has not impressed me in establishment. It initally started well but was taken over by marestail and the nrcs wouldn't let me mow it the first two years and basically to me it seems the stuff I planted was shaded out. It is nothing but a foxtail, marestail, hemp, velvet leaf, weed infested hole. They are allowing me to spray early with clethodim to control foxtail so we shall see how it does in its third growing season. I'm going to mow it sometime this winter or early spring. With that said though you have a good point about the pollinator program, if I could get a good establishment I think it would be great for deer, turkey, quail, and I'm sure other critters as well.

    I will inquire about the equip and crp and compare benefits and options. My nrcs guy briefly mentioned it but didn't go into great detail about it. I think there was a reason why but I don't recollect it at the moment.

    I greatly appreciate all the ideas and questions as it helps me either reaffirm my thinking or give me ideas on what I go back to the planning board with.
     
  8. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Here, where I am, there are more participants wanting into the EQUIP program than there is money to go around. One might apply, and have the application accepted, but will wait in order of precedence until funds are available. There are two CRPs. One is simply a continuous signup, there no beginning and ending dates for enrollment. In my experience there is little to get in the way of implementation. However, it's limited to addressing specific and needed conservation improvements on previously cropped land.

    General CRP signup opened last week and closes February 28, 2020. General signups are competitive. Not all land offered for enrollment will be accepted. But, you can offer whole fields and even entire firms. Continuous is usually limited to small acreages.
     
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  9. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Like seeing your consideration for other critters like squirrels and bats. It’s easy to get too single minded sometimes. I try to do projects that will benefit as much wildlife as possible. Hope you have good luck getting the pollinator mix under control from the weeds. The EQIP payment on the Monarch program has been $1300/acre and they ask for a 5 year timeframe with biannual disturbance which can be disking or fire. Makes for great turkey, quail, fawning and bedding cover ( depending on how secluded it is). It’s a little thin if there’s pressure around but if it’s secluded the deer will use it as primary bedding.


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
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  10. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Well-Known Member

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    Good point Dan. The farm bill biologist that I work with told me Indiana hasn’t used all the allocated EQIP funds for the last several years. That would obviously vary by state.


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
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  11. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
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    I think your plans look good exactly as presented. The tree planting in the yellow corridor looks like a win win on the aerial map, essentially filling in a missing link in the treeline that will make a good travel corridor. And winter cover is going to be a hole in the bucket for Nebraska deer, so tall grasses that can stand up to a Nebraska winter should fill that need.
     
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  12. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    That is exactly what I'm thinking with tree planting there.

     
  13. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    How wide is it,do you have enough width do do shrubs on outside both side and then trees interior.I planted basically the same thing but was along a creek,to widen.
     
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  14. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    I like that idea, I will ask if that is a possible option to add to plan.

    Thanks
     
  15. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    Submitted my plan today. Hope to get in. I ended up with a good chance I think, but it will boil down to competition across the country. I was able to put in the plan 3 acres of hardwoods and shrubs with short native grasses planted between rows.

    The plan that allowed for trees planting was CP 25 woodland restoration. The other portions of the plan are
    CP 4D min. 5 species native grasses, forbs, and shrubs, CP 42 pollinator.

    Basically I am partially replacing what the neighbor ripped out 2 summers ago. Ten acres old growth oak, walnut, hickory, black cherry, osage orange, and basswood. There was a smattering of various shrubs and forbs growing as well. It put a dent into the area's holding capacity for many species of wildlife. It will take years for this to be at maximum benefit but it will help this little corner of the world.

    I chose not to do a food plot as I already have 2.5 acres of soybeans and a half acre of clover there now.

    Key to map
    white-harwoods and shrubs
    red-took out of production, cedars planted in bbstem, cir switch, and indian grass(no program supported me planting red cedars)
    yellow-5 NWSG, shrubs, forbs
    blue-pollinator, reluctantly went with this but will take weed control into my own hands if it seems like its going like my signup from 3 seasons ago.

    The strip to the east that you see not color coded is in a buffer strip that is in continuous signup. I'll re enroll it after April as that is what the person at the FSA said I needed to to. crp map.jpg
     
  16. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    The CRP folks don't always think too far ahead,They set up my riparian with trees then shrub plots and then NWSG all outwards from a creek.Well 2 years after planting I get notice to start maintenance and that I had to have burned by March 15th.I called them and asked about it and they said yes,I told them they need to think about what will happen when I burn the NWSG that has now spread to the shrubs and tubed trees.Finally they realized it didn't make any sense and have not required anything sense.I would make sure what they are expecting.Are the shrubs going to require weed barrier?If not be prepared to mark your shrubs very well.Plan looks really good.I submitted my expired plans to try and get back in again.I had CP33,wetlands and riparian buffer zone
     
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  17. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska, south end of zone 5
    Thanks buckdeer, The programs you have above I believe are continuous programs and you won't be able to sign up continouus ones yet. The ones I have to resign they told me I have to come back in April. Also the cp33 was not continued so you will have to figure out something else for that area.. That is what I was able to turn into CP 4D. My stand of nwsg's are great on my cp 33 and it sounds like I won't have to tear it up and start over. The biologist that signs off on the property has to go out and look at what I told him about he stand but said if it is as I say it won't need any changes as far as planting grass and forbs.
     
  18. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    Some of mine I have to have done by sometime in feb and the rest are later to see if they will re enroll.Strange that they just don't re enroll automatically if you want to as they lost alot and it doesn't cost them to establish.Doesn't really matter i'm not tearing it out but thought I would try
     
  19. willy

    willy Active Member

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    Location:
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    Buckdeer1, good luck on getting in everything you want to.
     
  20. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    You too I like your plan,When I signed up they didn't cost share on tree tubes so they did a test on mine and they came back 2 years later to check survival,I had 72% alive after 2 years so they started cost sharing on them right after.They would bring state reps to my farm so they could show them multiple projects at once.Survival was high enough that my oaks were too close.They told me to cut some down and this was just a few years ago but I found a guy that was between jobs with a big treespade and they moved several of the big trees,Something like a 8000 lb root ball.Check the google earth timeline after a few years it's pretty neat
     

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