"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Kiwi Pete, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. I think the plough is like most things. It's a tool to be used. Sometimes it's the right thing to use and sometimes it isn't. The circumstances where it should be used is probably limited to claiming new ground from hill or scrub and getting rid of old grass leys that need levelling maybe?
    First field I ever ploughed was a rank old permanent pasture field that was badly compacted and tired. It was immediately down with stubble turnips and the soil cake me alive after the plough ran through it. It was about mid June and 2 weeks later it was a tinge of green turnip leaves among a sheet of white where the whole field was covered in field mushrooms. Never seen mushrooms there before. I filled carrier bags and took them to the pub to some of the older people there that used to ask me if I ever saw some about nowadays. They were so happy with my bounty I drank for free for about a month :D:cool:
    Then I fudgeed it and ploughed it again and it's a sticky mess still :facepalm:
     
  2. Macsky

    Macsky Member

    Location:
    Highland
    Deep ploughing here 6”+ would just bring up a lifeless subsoil and you’d be waving your nice dark fertile layer bye bye . You would need to be planning on puting a lot of muck on the seedbed or something to get things going I’d think. I’ve seen rushes that were sprayed off and ploughed under 10 years before being turned back up again the next time.
     
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  3. Agrispeed

    Agrispeed Member

    Location:
    Cornwall
    We have just had some sample results from some soil sampling in the summer, at 0-10, 10-30 & 30-50cm depth. I'll look at them properly tomorrow, but I was amazed by the OM of the deep samples; around 7%OM at 50cm deep is quite interesting. I guess that is down to deep rooting species, but there must be something living down there.
     
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  4. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
    That's an excellent sign IMO
    I haven't tested our subsoil horizons properly however we have some nice deep rootmass, and found earthworms at incredible depth last summer when it got dry - a metre or more, hardly world record stuff but fairly encouraging in a non-brittle environment.
     
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  5. Macsky

    Macsky Member

    Location:
    Highland
  6. Ive seen a few very similar to that in machinery sales but they never sell very well. I think they are meant more for ground already in a some kind of crop I think you would struggle on grass especially older leys. With a cutting disc in front of the furrow maybe it would work? The picture of them ploughing grass looks like a temporary ley of some sort you can still see the lines were it was drilled. Im sure I can see a lot of trash that hasn't been buried too but it's hard to tell on a small phone screen. I don't know much about ploughs though but I assume @Bury the Trash does with a name like his ;):D could you tell us any more about shallow ploughing please :)
     
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  7. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
    The boards on it don't look hugely different to those on my little old Clough plough.
    I am guessing the lack of coulters is so that you can adjust your depth on the fly and still have something "to hinge it on" - like if you fell a tree, what you leave uncut makes it fall right.
    I generally plough between 4 and 6 inches, it's why I get work with it, as the other contractors here think 10-13 inches, and about the same in MPH :whistle::cry:
     
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  8. In the early 90's I was working on an Estate in Hampshire ( 1200 acre arable ? Place was for sale, so had trouble getting full time staff as future was uncertain ) as the "ploughman". It was only a year after having seen my first ever modern plough, let alone use one :eek::eek::rolleyes::rolleyes:
    Anyway, the first year there, I was ploughing about 6" deep & was bringing up all this straw that was buried 12 months earlier :eek::eek::banghead::(:facepalm:
    As a young 20 something year old whose main farming experience was min till on black vertosol soils ( that had only been farmed since the 50's ) I couldn't believe the lack of decomposition of the straw. It was outside of my experience . . . Even then as a young beer & testosterone fuelled Aussie abroad, it struck me that the soil was dead, there was no life in it
    Apparently they'd either had a very wet or very dry year previously ( can't remember now ), the soil was basically anaerobic & the crops suffered once the roots hit this straw layer . . .

    Talking of ploughs - considering I'd never even seen one until the previous year ( somewhere near Northampton ? Can't remember now ? ), in my second season on this Estate the manager suggested I could use their gear & enter the local ploughing competition ( so I couldn't have done too bad a job :D )

    :eek::eek: - the idea of driving a tractor for FUN ?:scratchhead:
    Without getting paid ? :scratchhead:
    No thanks, got better things to do with my free time (y)
     
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  9. Well now, that wouldn’t pass the underpants test!
     
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  10. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
  11. Henarar

    Henarar Member

    Location:
    ZumerZet Somerset
    you want a proper old ley plough if you want to plough grass shallow and a narrow wheeled tractor to match it
     
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  12. York

    York Member

    Location:
    D-Berlin
    Old technology, or?
    in the 80's a little company developed a tool which they call: "stubble plane"
    https://zobel-stahlbau.de/der-spezial-schaelpflug-stoppelhobel
    it's in German but you see a lot of pictures.
    Downside of all this passive tools is that you are limited in adjustments as it's just speed & depth so you can get a predictable outcome.
    We use special configured Rotavators, objective is "to kill & NOT to till".
    even 2year seed production red fescue can be "skimmed / shipped off" with 2 cm and the following wheat needs NO herbicide at all to be kept clean. We call this system: No till the mechanical Glyphosate way.
    also very old technology but it works very well.
    Did even terminate the previous vegetation after seeding the wheat. so you can imagine how shallow the Rotavator worked and how good / precise the seeding depth was kept. With Cross Slot this was a no brainer.
    York-Th.
     
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  13. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
    @York - do you have any link to video?
    It looks very interesting for flat contour, unfortunately my search for a video simply brought up images of bearded men :oops:

    I did use a rotavator here to establish a pea crop, at very shallow depth via the packing roller.
    It worked well, but too much risk of smearing unless in ideal soil moisture.
     
  14. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
  15. We've always considered anything over 6" to be deep ploughing. Our ploughing was usually done at 5 to 6 inches. Perhaps that's why we've never felt the need for tractors over 100hp and/or 4 to 5 tons?
     
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  16. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
    Fordson Super Major was what I learnt to plough with, and a Reid&Gray 2 furrow semi-swamp mounted plough, all the butts :facepalm: it struggled to actually climb out of the furrow, so you had to play by the rules with that old b#+@# :love:
    Then progressed to the trailed plough behind a Same Corsaro, pull the baling twine to lift in and out

    ...til the cam on the landwheel was more weld than cam, and we put a ram on it, much better :dead: you could actually lift the points clear of the ground then.. I was 11 when the ram went on.

    But yes I did think it was quite an interesting report, just goes to show you can't see into the ledger books from over the road fence ;)
     
  17. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Location:
    Owaka, New Zealand
    20181207_115048.jpg I think it was on here that I mentioned spinning on brassica seed with the fert truck.
    This was my first attempt, Pallaton 'raphno' - a radish/kale hybrid.
     
  18. onesiedale

    onesiedale Member

    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Been following this thread for some time now and could do with some guidance on how to get started with these mixed species leys for our OAD dairy herd.
    Already paddock grazing, we're not big users of N around half of pastures were reseeded in 2012 with nickersons red label(long term let) It is now good productive grassland, (although some issues with clover and bloat.)

    Other half of grassland is mix of old pp been down since pre war (Crimean!) Lots of ridge and furrow too. Previous tenant here has left a massive seed bank of docks and thistles which seems to be a never ending battle.

    Recently soil tested and results aren't encouraging, however the more I read about the subject I reckon that a bit of thinking outside the box and grazing of some cover crops next summer will set us on the way to a good mixed sward for cows.

    What mixes/ varieties should I be looking at? And where is best to source them? . . .or should I just follow the conventional route and phone my fertilizer rep?
     
  19. York

    York Member

    Location:
    D-Berlin
    @KiwiPete Even in the following link in the majority of cases the Rotavator should go much shallower.
    Termination Rotavator:
    Youtube Kanal Clyde Morter:
    <https://www.youtube.com/user/GuyMachinery/videos>
    in one video even the younger Gary Zimmer is seen operating a Rotavator. Until his son took the dairy farm over Gary only had a Rotavator for terminating vegetation.
    It's small details which are determining success or failure. Not many people out there which know the original "termination" configurations for Rotavators to be set up forthe termination objective.
    York-Th.
     
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