It’s Fall seeding time

Lucy Jean learned how to drive the tractor, or at least the steering wheel part. Her legs are too short to reach the pedals. Here she is discing the Alaska paddock. She spent a good hour driving it alongside the previous line with only a few wobbles. Little kids get very focused.

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The picture below has the Alaska and Yukon paddocks in the background having been disced a second time. They are now seeded for a pasture with a mix of grasses and legumes. The soil there is supposed to be not as good as the rest of the farm. Some people say it is the underlying soil type, others say it is because there was a wood there a few decades ago. Walking around it shows how varied it is with some parts loose and sandy and others much more sticky. Looking at it from a distance you can see a couple of intrusions of darker soil. We’ll see what grows there. I might add in some broadcasted lucerne in the spring to see if it takes.

In the foreground is the Nebraska paddock, which will worked a little bit more before being seeded to lucerne/alfalfa in the springtime.

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These birds normally like hanging around the cattle but they’ve figured out there are good things around the tractor. In this case they are following the seeder. Seed and fresh worms!

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Back at the homestead Jean feeds the chickens with the baby on her hip. The green slippers add a touch of style.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Fall seeding time

  1. bc says:

    I don’t think so. We have some low-resolution soil maps on the otherwise awesome http://geoportail.fr site. Otherwise we can take soil to be tested at the local government soil lab.

    That field is so mixed that I’d need a number of separate samples to get an idea of what I have. I could mix from various sites but the soil is widely different and the results mightn’t work anywhere. So I’m just seeding a mix to see what grows well where.

    History of usage is important. Old vineyards are full of copper, which means you are better off seeding plants that can deal with it. The two I have heard of are red clover and oats. I think that specific field used to be a permanent pasture (I have a photo showing it as pasture from about 1970), but it has been drained by a lot of cereal farming in the last decade. That being said, the soil is friable and we’re getting something greening up in it now.

  2. Susan Lea says:

    You never lack for work, do you?! Do you have to disc and plant the pastures every year or do you hope to get some pasture established for a couple of years?

  3. bc says:

    Well there are a couple of large fields (16 hectares) that were empty after being in sorghum and corn. We need them back in grass soon, so I seeded something. Whatever we seed will be there for a few years or maybe turn into natural pasture, but there are issues with subsidies for having natural pasture – they pay less and you can never change them back out of natural pasture.

    Now we are trying to ignore subsidies since, despite the cash infusion, they can mess with your goals. We have a few years to figure out what to do next with those fields. ‘Temporary pasture’ or ‘legumes’ can be five years old. For lucerne fields I’d want to switch after five years anyway.

    Then at some point we have to do something with the 12 hectares of vineyards on the farm. Maybe next week the vine mountains can get burnt and we can do something there.

    Together that’s 28 hectares which is a fair chunk of the farm. That isn’t doing anything with a couple of the aging lucerne fields which we’ll reseed to something different over the next couple of years. We want to get to a system where at any point in time a couple of paddocks are in annuals, a bunch are in lucerne and then there’s the 18ha of natural pasture.

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