Cheap Plow-Down Clover???

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by Nissen121523, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Nissen121523

    Nissen121523 Weekend Warrior

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    Since frost seeding clover is become very popular to use as green manure and add Nitrogen to the soil at time of plow-down, is it really necessary to buy expensive seed from a company like Frigid Forage?

    From what I'm reading, Red Clover is the best fixer of Nitrogen. That said, is there any reason i shouldn't allocate my $$$ to a pure strain of this seed from a company like the one listed below?

    Red Clover Seeds - Trifolium Pratense Clover

    Significantly cheaper than buying an 8.5 lb bag from Frigid Forage for $45 that plants 1 acre when i can buy 50 lbs for $130??

    Theory would be to frost seed all of my food plots/trails with the option of plowing it down in July and planting Brassicas year after year.
     
  2. copperhead

    copperhead Grizzled Veteran

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    Anybody that tells you you have to buy a packaged seed is just trying to sell you on a brand. Just remember that if you buy the seed that you also have to verify if it has been inoculated. If not no biggie you just need to buy the inoculant and apply just prior to seeding. I like premixed brands for convience but I am not doing anything large scale either. Make sense?
     
  3. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Premixed package food plot seed are a value added product bought for convenience. For those willing to do some research and to take some time to think, there's no reason to ever buy that way. Even if that's what a person wants, there's better and cheaper mixes available from cover crop seed companies.

    Red clover is okay but the N fixation depends on the length of time it's allowed to grow. Some crops fixate more N relative to the time it takes for them to fixate it than red clover. Hairy vetch is supposed to be the top N fixation legume followed by winter pea, winter lentil, crimson clover. Of those crimson clover or winter pea has less chance of becoming a persistent weed. Red clover takes a very long season to fixate it's N. Dealing with it in July might be long enough though for what you're doing.
     
  4. Nissen121523

    Nissen121523 Weekend Warrior

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    Thank you both for the feedback--greatly appreciated.

    I'm really just looking for something that would build soil, can be frost seeded, all for the purpose of being able to be tilled under in July for Brassicas year after year.
     
  5. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    The best way to build soil is with diversity and crop rotation and I believe annual crops. Perennial clovers take some time to get established well, they're almost enough work that I hate to tear them up.
     
  6. Jeepwillys

    Jeepwillys Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Also to add, that if you're wanting to build soil, tilling isn't the way to do it. It would be more advantageous to spray or knock down standing vegetation. Then over seed or drill. Keep the ground cover to hold moisture, prevent erosion, and decompose into soil.
     
  7. foodplot19

    foodplot19 Grizzled Veteran

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    I'm learning the previous statement from both Covey and Jwilly. It is obvious how much our ground erodes by watching our garden. It is terrible the amount of dirt that moves after a hard rain.
    We are going to stick with the no-till to keep the dirt we have from going down the ditch.

    We have given up on buying the "name brand" seeds. We have a place that is close to us that has as good a seed as any of them for way better price. They mix anything in any quantity you want.

    Pay attention to Covey and Jwilly. They are good at this stuff!!
     
  8. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Thanks! I've been into large scale zero till for several years but I don't like to get "preachy" about it like a lot of the no-till snobs. I've seen it's many benefits myself but people have to decide to do it for themselves. It's definitely got it's own set of challenges, nothing is perfect. I still fight the feeling that I need to disk or plow from time to time and I do still disk in some situations. New food plots where I've taken off brush I will disk, more to level it up than anything but also to fight roots and/or soil seed bank. Of the 600+ acres I farmed this year I disked 80 acres in total. Those fields were so rough I just couldn't cut beans off of them without damaging my combine header so I drug out the old disk.

    There's no absolutes with farming or plotting. I actually think it's more important for soil health just to have something growing all the time and as much diversity as possible. Tillage burns soil organic matter through bacterial and microbial bloom but I don't think a little light tillage or rotational tillage is a deal breaker. There are a lot of people that just will never stop tillage, I'd rather not turn them off from having continual crops going by getting overly enthusiastic or overzealous about no-till.

    I think no-till is going to make the diverse continuous plantings far more effective for those that can adopt no-till and erosion is a serious issue for plots or fields with much slope. It's counter productive to get soil built just to lose it in a big rain event after aggressive tillage. I've had persistent seeps dry up, ditches heal up and fill in and seen previously muddy streams and ponds clear up after converting to zero till. If you figure how expensive soil is in an inch of soil per acre vs the prices we pay for land...it gets clearer how expensive and wasteful it is to ignore erosion problems. We just get used to "the way things are" and it's hard to wrap our heads around adopting different practices. The first time something goes wrong we tend to give up and jump back into what we know out of reflex. I've had more than my share of those moments myself.
     
  9. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Covey you have a larger operation but do you use a drill or just a planter or both? What kinds do you use or would recommend?

    I want to go to less discing/tilling for soil health and such but drills are so expensive and you guys noted if soil conditions are solid hard a traditional planter can typically push deep enough to still get beans and grains growing planting through stuff.....true?
     
  10. Nissen121523

    Nissen121523 Weekend Warrior

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    To carry off tnimiller, all i have available is a little Kubota B6100 with a 400lb lift capacity. A drill is out of the question. Are there other no-till methods? I've done little to no research on this subjuect but do read quite a few articles preaching no-till.

    I always wondered if overseeding a clover food plot with Brassicas, then mowing the clover real short or perhaps rolling it with a really heavy roller and then hitting it with roundup would act as no-till with good results?

    Don't mean to take away from tynimiller's question...
     
  11. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Yeah right, you jerk.
     
  12. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    To go through this more, we try to do just heavy seeding (broadcast) method when possible...especially in clover plots and such and recently into standing plots....not as fiscally responsible as drilling or planting right into the standing or cut plots (if possible).

    I've decided if at all possible only extremely shallow discing will occur moving forward....the issue though is the tiny plots we do...can't really work a planter back in a 1/4 acre plot that is odd shaped and in the woods deep.....
     
  13. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Short answer:
    I use both. Overall I think drills are favorable for plotters.

    Long answer:
    I have a 15' Sunflower brand no-till drill and a 16 row CaseIH 900 air planter. I have grown to favor planters for row crops. My planter has a monitor so I can know from the seat if it's working properly. The row units are far better designed for depth control, spacing and population control. All drills I know of are poor with all of those things. The advantage to drills are narrow row spacings, durability and the ability to plant diverse seed blends from a bulk fill tank. Planters plant based off seed size and are better for monoculture crops which is fine for row crops but less so for cover crops and diverse food plots done in one cocktail planting.

    Of Drills, I like Great Plains machines. I bought a 7' narrow GP no-till for the ranch this spring. It can get into tight spaces, has cutter coulters and offset double disc openers. Openers that run evenly tend to hair pin residues rather than cut them. This also holds true for planters. IH tends to have really good planter designs and both my 800 8 row and 900 16 row CIH planters were made for conventional till but are so well designed I no-till with them without any modification at all, they just work. I hear JD planters are okay too but never owned one. I think JD's 7000 series would be the starting point for JD planters because of finger pickup seed singulation. IH planters had basically the same design way back in the 70's. I have a 56U IH four row plate planter that will no-till corn, milo and beans and it's worn out.

    Drills work okay, they're just sloppy. Most of the time for plots, set it with a little higher seed rate to allow for inefficiencies and go. Check it once in a while for plugging, depth, etc. They are generally heavy and robust so you can get a little reckless with them. All drills have unreliable depth control IMHO but for small plotters it's not that big of a deal. Most small, hard seeded species we do in food plots and grasses like wheat and rye will grow with some moisture in less than ideal conditions anyway.

    Drills are expensive, planters are generally cheaper. Twin row planters are in between a drill and planter but are more expensive and still favor monoculture planting.
     
  14. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    I like to talk about it....but this is why I increasingly avoid ranting about it. :lol:
     
  15. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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  16. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    If you look at a plot or field after a decent no-till drill has gone over it you can see that it's not a lot different than broadcasting seed with really light disk incorporation. A disk is a little more invasive but if gang pitch can be set flat this would be a decent compromise between heavy tillage and no till drill. A finish type disk with less disc bevel would be better than a deep tillage type disk. Any plot large enough to tug a disk around over should be large enough to use a planter or drill in. Micro plots done with hand tools are in a different class of problem.

    A decent minimal till planter could be made with a little disk and a broadcast seeder. The plotmaster ATV planters are basically exactly that and they work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  17. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    The first no-till I bought was a great plains 30' two section drill. It was an impractical lead weight. It was too much for my 200hp 4x4. It was okay as long as field conditions were ideal but hit a wet spot and it was there semi permanently.
     
  18. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Yeah I think I've got this concept of no till being absolutely zero dirt turned or "scratched" if you will.....when in reality it is the minimal as possible approach that doesn't have the deep soil turn over that deep discing or tilling has.

    All we used to do is micro styles, having grown up hunting just 9 acres of timber and notching plots out....I've grown more curious and soil health minded as we've done it for years and now are doing .5 and even 1 acre sized spots.

    As always good discussion fellas.
     
  19. bradn4201

    bradn4201 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Covey is an agricultural genius. Well, at least to what I know, but if that's the case, he's an Einstein in comparison because I have tried but just don't know enough on plots yet.
     
  20. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Small vertical tillage equipment would work pretty good.
     

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