Current as of 2020-11-20 21:04:12 +0000

Seeding and harvest plan

This seeding and harvest plan is concered with forage. Anything related to market gardening for human consumption can be found at a different place.

The term crop refers to every type of forage that is not grass plants meant for grazing.

Note: The cows do not only eat grass but different type of forage plants. Some of these plants may also provide a product that is suitable for human consumption or for other animals like the pigs.

Cold season

Our cold season runs from October to March/April.

During fall we want to seed a mix of cold season plants in order to mitigate the loss of seed due to a large ant population we have on site. Seeding is planned to be done shortly before the cows enter an area so that they can trample the seed and bring it in good contact with the soil. During the resting period the seed can germinate and we will watch the new plants closely before we let the cows graze the area again. We do not want to replace existing plants but augment the biodiversity and reseed what is already there. It may well be that we introduce something new but then that is here to stay.

Grass mix seed list

Plant Seed dosis Height Details
Agropyrum desertorum 30-35 kg/ha 25 - 110 cm Info Buy
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) 25-30 kg/ha 60 - 120 cm Info Buy
English ryegrass 25-30 kg/ha 90 cm Info Buy
Bromus catharticus 50-60 kg/ha 20 - 100 cm Info Buy

Crops

Plant Seed dosis Height Details
Rye 60 kg/ha 120 cm Info Buy
Avena strigosa 60-80 kg/ha 130-160 cm Info Buy
Guisante   Buy  
Habas   Buy  

Paddocks

First, pigs harvest acorns. Then a few days of recovery from the pigs’ trampling.

Second, before the cows enter we bring out seeds. Either with a spread seeder or manually depending on the height of the existing grass cover.

Zone A - Sector 1

Paddock Size Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs Remark
A01 3.013 Seed Bank     X      
A02 3.822 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Seed Bank     X      
A03 1.970 Rye Oct after cows May-June     X Grain for pigs as feed; Straw for pigs as bedding; Manual or with BCS 622 Reaper Binder
A04 2.213 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A05 2.763 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A06 9.811 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      

Zone A - Sector 2

Paddock Size Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs Remark
A07 5.896 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A08 5.274 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A09 4.540 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Trees after pigs          
    Seed Bank after pigs     X    
    Paulownia after pigs          
A10 5.950 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      

Zone A - Sector 3

Paddock Size Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs Remark
A11 6.392 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A12 2.342 Grasses Oct   X      
A13 1.647 Grasses Oct   X      
A14 3.172 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      

Zone A - Sector 4

Paddock Size Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs Remark
A15 2.843 Grasses Oct   X      
A16 5.923 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
    Grasses after pigs   X      
A17 3.984 Rye Oct after cows May-June     X Grain for pigs as feed; Straw for pigs as bedding; Manual or with BCS 622 Reaper Binder
A18   Grasses Oct   X      

Zone B

Paddock Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs
B01 Paulownia Oct        
  Seed Bank       X  
B05 Paulownia Oct        
  Seed Bank       X  
B06 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
B07 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
B08 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    

Zone C

Paddock Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs
C01 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
C02 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
C03 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
C04 Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    
Cxx Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    

Zone D

Paddock Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs
Dxx Acorns   Nov-Feb     X
  Grasses after pigs   X    

Support plants for forage

We have different type of clover seed in the soil. We need to watch it.

Warm season

Our warm season runs from March/April to September

We had ordered seeds for Panicum maximum as a warm season grass. This grass has been planted in nearby Cadiz province. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the seed got stuck in customs and we never received it.

During spring 2021 we want to seed a mix of warm season grasses. The technique is the same as for the cold season grasses: seed is spread in front of the cows.

Uncomplete seed list:

Paddocks

Zone C

Paddock Crop Seeding Harvest Grazing Chicken Pigs Remark
Swale Chaos garden March TBD        
  Support trees March          
Cxx Corn March June-July     X  
C05 1,4ha Corn April July-August Cows in September, October   Cob harvest Maze
Cxx Corn May August-September     X  
Cxx Corn June September-October     X  
Cxx Paulownia March          
Cxx Acorns   Nov-Feb     X  
  Grasses after pigs   X      

Crops

Crops in our case are primarily to let the pigs forage instead of purchasing commercial feed for them. However, we may harvest something for human consumption as well.

We did some experiment with corn (maize) Zea mays at A04 after the pigs had left the area. We used a small motor cultivator to loosen up the soil and then used a manual seeder to open up a channel, put in the seed and cover it with soil. That worked well but it was hard work due to the very hard soil and the small machine.

The variety used was Maiz Assist Ciclo 230

Ideally there shouldn’t be any need to till - in fact it would be better not to - but as we lack the amount of organic matter in the soil that would keep it loose, we have to do something in order to get started.

We want to employ the pigs for the initial tilling, move them away and then seed when the soil is still moist and loose.

Alternatively we can use a tractor and use the machine.

In the best case we would seed a mix of forage and vegetables for different users of the crop as outlined in this article. Typically that requires a seed drill but maybe we can seed in front of the cows and just see what will happen.

Another version is to let the pigs tear up the soil well but not destroy it completely. Then distribute the seed and let the cows in (strips with electric fence) to trample it in. The cows won’t find a lot of forage but can be moved to another paddock with richer forage after a short while.


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