Improving small areas of soil

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
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greggy
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Improving small areas of soil

Post by greggy » Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:07 pm

Where I am , most soil is heavily compacted clay, it is a bugger for a number of reasons, but because the land also slopes, it sort of helps prevent erosion as well even if patches of grass die off.

In some spots where I feed cattle, the clay and manure get churned up pretty good, I am wondering if there is anything I can do to improve the soil while the cattle are working the ground for me ? I was thinking maybe adding small quantites of sand at different times, or fine ground limestone or very small crushed gravel.

The manure will help with nutrients, but not structure. What are your thoughts besides move :)

PS This type of soil is also a bugger on the slopes, as it takes very little water to make it just a big slip slide even when 4wd is engaged, AT tyres fill in seconds and you just slide. But that is a diff subject.



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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by wbvs58 » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:19 am

I'll swap you some of my sand for your clay.

I think a good subsoil plough like the Yoeman's Keyline Plough works well in that heavy clay. Read up on the Keyline way of ploughing. It certainly lets the water in the ground.

Ken

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sstterry
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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by sstterry » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:25 am

If it were me, the first thing I would do is make sure the soil is at the appropriate ph. Next, I would continue feeding in these areas particularly unrolling hay so that organic material is being added to the soil. Thirdly, I would make sure you have a decent cover crop planted to help with soil compaction and again to add more organics to the soil.

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by Redgully » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:33 am

You need gypsum, spread it on clay and will help break it up.

greggy
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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by greggy » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:36 am

I do feed hay there.

Lot of organics after being recycled, and they mash it into the clay when damp. No cover or crop at all, it is heavy with traffic, but when I stop using it at some later stage, that is when I want good results from growing whatever....

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by greggy » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:41 am

wbvs58 wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:19 am
I'll swap you some of my sand for your clay.

I think a good subsoil plough like the Yoeman's Keyline Plough works well in that heavy clay. Read up on the Keyline way of ploughing. It certainly lets the water in the ground.

Ken
It is a balance that is needed, too much clay not good, too much sand, not good.

I have run my rippers on a box blade when planting, but I dare not go down much in many areas, or rain will just erode and wash away, I made the mistake once of cutting down hill, well that just made big ruts....

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by Texasmark » Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:02 am

I'm in Houston Black Clay. Two stages: Mud or Rocks. I used to feed hay rolls in a spot on a ridge. Sold my cows off in 2014. Today the ridge is teeming with vegetation. Volunteer Rye and Johnson grasses predominate with Coastal coming back with zero erosion. There is enough plant matter that wet conditions don't cause a problem.

I'd suggest feeding your cows in an area and build up the humus with old round bale remnants...just pile new bales on top of old fed bales that the cows have stomped into the upper layer of soil when it's wet and they are feeding. Obviously you have to move things around a bit when things are really wet but keep adding to get some depth when possible. After you build up a good layer, like a few seasons, (give or take depending on conditions and number of animals), move to another area and do it again.

If it's convenient, fence off the area when you leave it and let nature do your work for you. After it has developed to suit you, remove the fence. Other benefit is that it makes gorgeous hay with zero fertilizer if you decide to get the cows off and hay it.

On Coastal coming back, and having to "sprig" coastal when you want to establish a field, many places where I fed Coastal over the years, I have a round spot where the dry bale of hay sprigged itself.....figure that considering you have go dig growing sprouts, keeping them wet and plant soon after digging.

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by BlondeD » Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:16 am

I had a small 4-5 acre block that was poor....got the pH improving and drilled in a winter cover crop with extra Dakon radishes.....even with it being a bit late in the summer, I got a decent stand. A couple of years later I'm seeing a nice improvement in that spot and a lot of clover returning. Currently working on other spots in much the same way...with hopefully better timing.

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by sstterry » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:16 pm

BlondeD wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:16 am
I had a small 4-5 acre block that was poor....got the pH improving and drilled in a winter cover crop with extra Dakon radishes.....even with it being a bit late in the summer, I got a decent stand. A couple of years later I'm seeing a nice improvement in that spot and a lot of clover returning. Currently working on other spots in much the same way...with hopefully better timing.
Did you till the radishes under or did you let the root and tuber work to break up the soil.

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BlondeD
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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by BlondeD » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:07 pm

I had picked up an old Tye Pasture Pleaser several years ago......drilled the mix......and let the roots develop. Cows grazed it all down over the winter and ate most of the radishes too. I've got a couple of 3 acre patches with a summer mix...with more radishes..up now. Radish leaves are about 8-10 inches tall and wider across....roots about 3-4 inches deep.

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Re: Improving small areas of soil

Post by DCA farm » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:53 pm

I’ve got a area I’m
Thinking about locking the cows up on feeding hay then running some hogs on it behind them only keeping the hogs on one spot fir a couple days at a tine just enough to bust the ground up and put the hay into the ground good

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