Best way to prep cleared land for soybeans?

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by Paradise725, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. Paradise725

    Paradise725 Active Member

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    Hi folks, I’m going to be clearing about 3 acres for a new food plot this winter. My goal is to plant it in soybeans as soon as the soil temp gets right in the spring (zone 7). My question is related to soil prep after the dozer leaves. The location is currently forested in 20 yr old Virginia pines. My soil is generally fairly acidic so I know I will need a good bit of lime. Would it be better to clear it sooner rather than later so I can go ahead and apply lime to get the soil ph up? Is there anything that will germinate between now and bean planting time that I could use to stabilize the soil if I go ahead and clear it? Should I wait until closer to soybean planting time to complete the clearing? Any other tips for turning timber into a productive bean plot? (I plan to do soil test, etc but really am looking for any tips to save money and still do it right).


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  2. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    I say better to clear now and get your lime down. Take no more soil than what you have to. I would rather have a somewhat rough plot the first couple of years with as much topsoil left as I could, as opposed to a clean, slicked off field with half the topsoil gone.
     
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  3. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    I agree. If you don't know your contractor and the quality of his work, take the time to talk to several and get references. Talk to folks who have used him and see what kind of job he does. There are lots of differences in equipment operators, some really good and lots that just get by. You don't want all your topsoil to wind up in the timber piles.

    If it's marketable timber, maybe sell it and dig the stumps up with a track hoe. A good operator with a hydraulic thumb can pile timber with very little dirt in it.

    I speak from the standpoint of being an operator/foreman/contractor for all of my working life, over fifty years worth. Good luck !
     
  4. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    I think I’m going to be in the same within the next couple of years. Other than throwing down lime and fertilizer ASAP, I think getting a good amount of organic matter would be important.
    If your soil isn’t already pretty good, you may want to take a step back and grow cover crops this year to prepare the plot for a spring of 2020 soybean planting instead.
    If your soil is very acidic right now, it’s unlikely that lime could get the soil to a good PH before it’s time to plant soybeans this spring anyway.


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  5. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    Location:
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    A note to my last post.. I forgot about the fact that you’re in zone 7 so you could probably change the ph a fair amount before it’s time to plant. (Not often an option in Northern Michigan because we have deep snow until April usually)
    And as far as planting something before soybeans, you should be able to get a good crop of spring planted oats before it’s time to plant the beans. I’m not sure how far along the oats would get in your area, but I’d spray them when they begin to develop seed heads


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  6. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    A timely question for me and my son. We are clearing ground now with a D5 Caterpillar dozier.

    Our plots are going on ridges and fingers. Hollows will be left for bedding. Leaving topsoil is the name of the game when it comes to clearing land IMO.

    Good Luck Luke.
     
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  7. FarmerD

    FarmerD Active Member

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    Lots of good advice above. I would add that clearing the property when the ground is frozen (if it does in your area), would be better than when it's on the mushy side. Sub-soiling the plot when he's finished would be good as well and let the spring rains enter your soil.

    Take a look at your landscape and don't be afraid to have him grade the soil, for water run off. Putting in a small pond that your plot drains into, would be ideal. Even if it is something that is 1000 square feet in size x about 3-4 feet deep, that tapers "in" for the deer to walk in, to get a drink. These do work wonders! Put a mineral site next to it.

    You don't want a lot of traffic on that plot, that could compact the soil and create issues for you later. Keep heavy traffic to a minimum.

    I might skip soybeans this year and plant something like alyce clover, in May. Alyce clover will tolerate a more acidic soil, has a pretty good size of root and the deer will still eat it, but not like soybeans. I've given up on planting soybeans and cowpeas, after planting 5 acres because the deer will not let them get more than 2 leaves on the. If soybeans are nipped below that, they die.

    With 20 year old pines, which I assume will still surround your plot, I'd plant a 20 - 30 foot perimeter of a perennial white clover in the fall of 2019. Clover will tolerate more shade than anything else. That might use up 1 acre of your plot, but will pay big dividends, year round.
     
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  8. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    One thing I can add - of the different times I have planted clover - it does it best when it is planted in the late fall. The next spring those roots do great. You goal is soybeans - but I see you getting a better outcome from planting those in the spring of 2020. Get you plot ready in 2019.

    Buckwheat will help with OM. Your pH on the ground will improve. I agree with the clover around the border to help year round.

    I believe the 3 acres of beans will be a big draw for your ground but I would plant Don Higgins soybean product in 2020 with 2019 getting it ready and prepped adequately.

    Just something to think about.
     
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  9. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    I was going to suggest that too. Even up where I'm at (zone 3), you could grow a barley cover out to June 30th and get it far enough to mow kill it and still go to soybeans. If that soil is sandy, I'd broadcast a dolomitic pell lime and go for your soybean plot this year, but prep it with a short season oat or barley cover crop.

    A stout high carbon cover ahead of beans is going to set the stage for a good bean crop. Those legumes love growing in trash.
     
  10. Jason Broom

    Jason Broom Well-Known Member

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    Clear and lime, ASAP.

    Plant buckwheat the first spring, while you work on other soil amendments. Consider double-cropping the buckwheat.

    Plant a cereal grain/clover mix in the fall, again while working to improve pH, nutrient and OM levels. Plan for beans in future years.

    Clearing row pines and expecting a successful soybean plot, all in the same calendar year, is not optimistic...it is unrealistic.
     
  11. FL Plotter

    FL Plotter Active Member

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    I don't know your deer density, but we are done with soybeans. At first, we could plant 2-3 acres and grow 6' tall Eagle soybeans because we had very few deer. Now, 10 years later, our deer population is healthy and they wipe out the Eagles before they can get going.

    For summer, what wasn't planted in clover the fall previous, we've switched to Alyce Clover. Cheaper and it can handle browse better. Joint vetch, or Aeschynomene, is another option but it's slow growing, so hard to control weeds.
     
  12. deer patch

    deer patch Active Member

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    Wbpdeer...You care to expand on why you recommend Don Higgins over the others?
     
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  13. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    I have tried those soybeans and they do hold the beans longer into the year. So I put my toe in the water and I was pleased with the result. Let me say, others probably have had the same experience with other types of soybeans - meaning they tried them and liked the results with their choice of product.

    I can say they grew well in my two locations I placed them on the farm.
     
  14. Double L

    Double L Active Member

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    Clear and lime asap. if you want to go the extra try Humistart which is made by Timac. I belive it does wonders. I would plant buckwheat and clover the first year at least. I like to leave clover around the edges. then plant the beans in the middle. My last plot which was wooded that I cleared was 4.5 ph first year 6.8 the second year after 4k lb per acre of lime and 600 lb of humistart the first year. My eagle soybeans were over 5' tall and loaded with beans the second year of planting.
     
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  15. deer patch

    deer patch Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. They are more expensive than just regular rr ag beans but they may pay for there self in the long run. I'm going to plant beans this year and the more info on which to plant will help me in the long run.
     
  16. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    Looks like we know some of the same operators. LOL
     
  17. Paradise725

    Paradise725 Active Member

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    Thanks for all the help everyone. I meet with a dozer operator tomorrow and plan to tell him I want it done as soon as possible, but in a manner that will conserve topsoil so only if it is frozen or possibly after a week or so without rain ( fat chance at this rate). Lots of comments so I’ll try to address a few:

    This is my third operator I’ve dealt with in this area and he comes highly recommended. He has been doing it for a long long time. I’ve seen some of his work and think he will meet my needs just fine. The key for me is making sure he retains as much topsoil as possible while getting the entire area clear at or below my budget.

    I pondered cover cropping it this year, and waiting until 2020 to plant beans. I’d rather take a chance on the beans not doing as well as I’d like just to ensure I have the fantastic early season hunting that soybeans offers. My other bean field has been dynamite for September archery hunts. If it gets over browsed or doesn’t do well due to ph or other factors, I will overseed with clover and rye in September to build OM for 2020.

    I think 3 acres will be large enough that I won’t have to worry about overbrowsing. My 4.5 acre plot 1/2 mile away does not have issues outcompeting the deer if I get planted at the right time of year (early).

    I plan to broadcast cereal rye after the clearing is done in January to stabilize the soil, then terminate when the soil temp gets right for bean planting (April/May). I will also apply as much pel lime as I can find as soon as possible to start getting the ph down.

    I will plant beans to the edges this first year, knowing that the edges won’t do well. I want to give the beans in the middle as much chance to not get browsed as possible this first year so it’s all about volume for me. I will overseed with clover this fall and leave a buffer strip in 2020 if planting the edges in beans proves to be a waste.

    I will be edge feathering most of the field, which will help maximize sun to the edge rows, and the plot will be rectangular with the long edge running north-south to maximize sunlight.

    I’ll let everyone know what the dozer man says and will likely capture this project on my property tour thread or another thread later on. Thanks again everyone!!


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  18. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    I look forward to following the project! If you don’t mind me asking, what is the price range for you to get this plot cleared? I ask because I’m deciding between trying to clear a couple acres of pine stumps by myself or hiring someone to do it with a dozer. Thanks


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  19. Paradise725

    Paradise725 Active Member

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    This probably sounds far fetched but I’m thinking I can do it for under $2k. My operator charges $75/hr for his D5 dozers. The trees are small enough that I don’t think he will have much trouble pushing them down. This is based on assuming he can do an acre per day. I’ll see if he still thinks that’s doable after he looks at the ground.


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  20. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    As others said, I'm looking forward to your documenting the progress in this plot. I'm thinking you have a solid plan and better than that, reasonable expectations. I enjoyed the process of making new plots out of jungle almost as much as hunting.........almost !:)
     
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