Current as of 2021-10-02 14:41:21 -0500
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.
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
|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|
|Rye||60 kg/ha||120 cm||Info Buy|
|Avena strigosa||60-80 kg/ha||130-160 cm||Info Buy|
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
|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|
Zone A - Sector 2
|Seed Bank||after pigs||X|
Zone A - Sector 3
Zone A - Sector 4
|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|
Support plants for forage
We have different type of clover seed in the soil. We need to watch it.
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:
- Panicum maximum
- Dactilo glomerata
- Eragrostis teff tiffany
- Esparceta comun
|C05 1,4ha||Corn||April||July-August||Cows in September, October||Cob harvest||Maze|
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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