Regenerative Plotting

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by MarkDarvin, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Well-Known Member

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    "Dirt to Soil" by Gabe Brown will get you started and get you hooked on this stuff

    bill
     
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  2. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    Those of you who’ve been at this a while with primarily clover, do you periodically add p&k to you’re plots? I still don’t understand how you keep your clover fed year after year? I now see that broadcasting cereal grains into the plots will raise the amount of organic matter, but what about fertilizer? I do understand the clover produces more than enough nitrogen.
     
  3. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Member

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    Regenerative AG generally isn't about planting a clover monoculture. Clover is usually used as a rotational crop, probably in a mix. If you're looking for a regenerative perennial plot, clover can be a component, but you'll need a few more species. (Like ones that scavenge and leave P and K)
     
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  4. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    I’m planning to rotate cereal grains through in the fall and perhaps spring too, alternating years. What plants do what you’re talking about?
     
  5. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Yes, this one.
     
  6. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Nearly everything your clover needs is already in the soil. It takes a full blown ecosystem to unlock it. Many have said that there is enough P and K in the soil right now to farm and remove for the next 10,000 years. It is useless if we don't have the keys to the vault though. Without the system, it's just rocks, sand, and clay. It may take several biological jumps for nutrients to be transformed from rock and run through bacteria, fungus, and organisms small and large before it becomes plant food. The nutrients that are getting into plants now may have been locked up for a year or two until they got far enough down the food chain to be solubolized. But the system is taking and sending orders continuously, so it doesn't matter how long it takes, once production begins.

    This fungus is breaking down the rock. It doesn't do much good for anyone this year. But if this process goes on for a million years, it becomes easier to understand where life began. I used to make an observation about how humans get calcium nutrition. We cannot simply grab a chunk of limestone and hold it against the temple on our head an absorb it. It needs to be in the soil, broken down, and taken up by many organisms before it gets to a plant that takes it up, one we can finally eat and digest. Turns out, fungus actually do hold it against themselves, and simply absorb it through their body membrane.

    lichen.jpg
     
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  7. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    It is driven by your location and site (wet/dry/sun/shade/clay/sand/pH), and all of them. The hardest part of this is influencing what grows without completely destroying the system.

    I'd walk around and start identifying plants nearby if you've got sunlight hitting the ground. 3/4 of the species growing with my clover weren't put there by me. There are a few concepts to learn to develop the eye for this stuff.

    One is carbon to nitrogen ratios: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcseprd331820.pdf

    The other is balance. Grow one thing long enough, and it'll just quit working (there are some exceptions, i.e. canary grass) because there is no system to keep nutrients moving up and down the food chain. Balance by any definition is a state where surprises no longer pop up (i.e. grass invasion, thistle explosion, sudden single weed dominance). I don't worry too much about what is growing there. I watch for balance and cooperation between the major food groups. There is warm season and cool season. Then there are grasses, legumes, broadleaves. If my primary crop is clover (legume), my management focus is to attack it with as many species from the other two food groups. In spring, I'm putting down seed all the time trying to purposely dilute my clover stand with grasses and broadleaves so mother nature doesn't throw me stuff I cannot control. The front I'm on now is trying to figure how to get the aggressive stuff under control.
     
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  8. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Great job explaining it DM! Remember that there WAS already balance before there was human intervention and those processes had already been at work for millions of yrs. So the materials for balance (as DM talks of) are already there. Explosions are nature's first step to getting it right again... a bandaid never meant to be there long. DM is figuring out how to change that bandaid from a Flintstone's to a HelloKitty because as humans sometimes we like one over the other and as long as it covers the wound and allows healing it all ends up the same.

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  9. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    And it is not easy. I can show you spots where I’ve been doing this a couple years that’s should land me a book deal. They’re perfect.

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    Even some with flax in there.

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    Look at that monarch butterfly. That’s ten points alone.

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    The reality is, I’ve got problem areas too. Really wish I had a proper mower right about now. Knowing what is going on beneath the surface keeps me from breaking out the bags and jugs to try to remedy this. I’ve got other ideas, but I need a mower, drag, time and timing.

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  10. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Well-Known Member

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    Just downloaded "Teaming with Nutrients"

    'bout to get started.........

    bill
     
  11. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Did you finish the other one already? I'm only up to the earthworm chapter.
     
  12. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been watching a spot that I killed stone dead with Powermax 4 years ago. Did a throw and pray with clover and oats. This is the spot that blew up in pure Canada thistle. Having no mower, and no desire to go to advanced chem to try to kill them, I just let it go.

    A few seasons later, this has simply reverted to what it was. I was able to count 5 thistles left here, and they're not doing well. In hindsight, it was a good lesson for me, at least on my land. All the natural stuff came back including the milkweed. And there were monarchs back in it.

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  13. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning to cut down majorly this fall on the amount of tilling I've done in the past. My plan is to broadcast into existing clover plots and give this regenerative plotting a try. My question has to do with this fall specifically. If we continue to have adequate rainfall, I fully expect to have a large amount of Johnson grass in many of the plots. Should I spray the plots with clethodim prior to later performing a throw and mow? I'm not too concerned about weeds, they have never been a major plot killer for us.
     
  14. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Are you doing cereals in your fall plots? If so then JG is a none issue because it's one of the first grasses to dry down and isn't a competitor for wheat and rye. For your summer clovers I would keep JG at bay with mowing and maybe herbicide.

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  15. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Member

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    When you're making regenerative mixes (via GCS SmartMix) are you drilling at the rate they recommend or heavier? My guess is that browse pressure reduces the density of the stand a bit. I'm about to order some seed to go with the leftovers I have for a fall mix.
     
  16. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    Thats a good thought cat, the following spring can be somewhat of a tough situation with early cool season grasses, I haven't figured out how to combat that as of yet. If I spray with gly, I will kill the cereal grains long before they have a chance to mature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  17. pinetag

    pinetag Well-Known Member

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    I am still a novice with food plotting but my experience has shown that fall cereal grains help keep spring weeds down dramatically. Here is the first plot I created in 2018. I have seen consistent improvement in weed control over the last two years. Here it is now with last fall's rye and some spring frost seeded oats and there is very little weed growth to date.

    [​IMG]

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  18. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    WR has done a great job for me at suppressing weed growth, cool season grasses though are another story completely. Maybe I need to seed it a little heavier. This fall I’m going to plant: chicory, peas, oats, awnless wheat (quite a bit of it, our deer tore it up last year), wr, and forage radish. As I said above, this will be going into strong existing stands of clover, then I plan to mow the clover, along with the Johnson grass and everything else in the plots, low and see what happens. I’ll be buying more seed than I ever have before, but I should still spend less money, because I won’t have to buy fertilizer. If this actually works, I’m gonna owe all of you BIG time!
     
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  19. pinetag

    pinetag Well-Known Member

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    I hope it works out well for you! I'm going with a fall mix from our local co-op with similar seeds to what you described and I'm also going to add in some additional seeds, so we'll see how it turns out for this fall as well as next spring.

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  20. Baker

    Baker Well-Known Member

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    For over 40 years I have developed and managed my farm exclusively for deer hunting. About 10 years ago I became fascinated with no till, and soil regeneration mostly using multi specie plantings fall and winter. Now I have decided to explore taking things much farther down the regenerative ag road. I have hired Dr. Allen Williams as a consultant to get involved with my farm and develop a far more comprehensive plan including multi specie grazing stock, fowl, pigs, bees, fruits, nuts, brambles and anything else that will grow in the south. The goal is soil and ecosystem continual improvement. Kind of a hybrid regenerative ag/permaculture approach.

    Like many I have read and listened to every word the leading edge pundits have spoken on this subject. When I bought my ranch in the 90's I bought 20 copies of Alan Savory's holistic grazing book giving copies to everyone in the neighborhood. But ultimately I never did anything with it. I read , studied and visited Polyface farms learning all I could about how Joel Salatin accomplishes what he does. But again have done very little with it .

    So now I have finally got off my *** and hired who appears to me to be the best at regenerative ag especially here in the deep south. As I begin to develop this program I'll document it in my property thread. Course I'm still going to prioritize growing the highest quality deer possible just now the farm will have a broader dimension to it . Consider me excited!
     

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