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Old 04-22-2009, 05:34 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Tambre--------100/lbs per acre to raise the ph.1

Nope, it takes a ton per acre to raise the PH.1

by the way, alfalfa is recommended to be grown on soils at 6.7 PH.

It would take BrokenTap 15 tons per acre to get his PH high enough to grow alfalfa ( hopefully, he has no intention of growing alfalfa)
Yeah its certainly in tons and not hundred pound increments. Interestingly enough this same logic applies to organic matter too. My understanding is that it takes 10 tons of ORGANIC MATTER per acre to get your Organic Matter Levels up by 1%. So if the average organic matter level in most arable soils is 2%, to get it to the 8% range, would take 60 tons of organic matter. Thankfully mine is running at 7.5%.

As for the lime...it is hard to tell what soil needs for trace minerals as ph levels can drag down other nutrients. For instance sheep are very prone to copper poisoning which can kill them. If your zinc and magenese levels are off, then its a problem, but if those two levels are okay, then the sheep can tolerate up to 20 ppm of copper.

I'll be talking to my NRCS Rep today (National Resource Conservation Service) so maybe we can figure out a way to deal with this. He is writing meup my CNMP (Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan) so hopefully we can get a good action plan in place to deal with this issue. Unfortunately the USDA views sheep as a "minor livestock species" so the chances of optaining some funding under pasture land improvement under the EQUIP Program probably won't help pay for this. Even if they did, they only pay for 75%.

By the way Marmac, we do actually grow mixed grass here with some alfalfa in it. I think the mixture is only 10% though. It's good feed, but I think its not good for us. Because of the cold here, and the need for alfalfa to be 6" high or more in order to prevent winter kill, we often cannot get a 3rd cut of haylage in. I think it is silly to stop an entire 3rd harvest of high protein feed because 10% of it is alfalfa. I guess if the boys have enough feed as is, there is no need to change, but I think we baby our fields for the a very small minority of alfalfa.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
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Hey Broken Tap,

I'll be talking to my NRCS Rep today (National Resource Conservation Service) so maybe we can figure out a way to deal with this. He is writing meup my CNMP (Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan) so hopefully we can get a good action plan in place to deal with this issue.

What did the NRCS Rep have to say?
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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Lots of options actually. They are sending a Rep out to chat with me from one of the paper mills. I think I can buy wood ash from the paper mills without the sludge at somewhere near $3 bucks a ton. (No typographical error there).

Because of the high organic matter (primarily undigested nitrogen) they cautioned me to keep the lime levels down because the decomposing humus will actually bring other nutrients up. Once the PH comes back into balance I will only need half the lime they say I need. Its one of those things, the soil testing says a lot, but it did not factor in the fact that I am converting forest to field. The 15 years of varying stages of decomposing needles and limbs brought my PH down, but testing only goes so far.

(For those that do not know, it takes 7 years for wood to be converted into nitrogen. In the meantime the soil is actually using nitrogen to help break down the limbs and needle liter on the ground. By speeding up the decomposition with lime, the time line becomes shorter.

Ultimately I am looking at a about $320 bucks to bring my soil to optimum levels for production. I can breath now because I can handle that.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Lots of options actually. They are sending a Rep out to chat with me from one of the paper mills. I think I can buy wood ash from the paper mills without the sludge at somewhere near $3 bucks a ton. (No typographical error there).

Because of the high organic matter (primarily undigested nitrogen) they cautioned me to keep the lime levels down because the decomposing humus will actually bring other nutrients up. Once the PH comes back into balance I will only need half the lime they say I need. Its one of those things, the soil testing says a lot, but it did not factor in the fact that I am converting forest to field. The 15 years of varying stages of decomposing needles and limbs brought my PH down, but testing only goes so far.

(For those that do not know, it takes 7 years for wood to be converted into nitrogen. In the meantime the soil is actually using nitrogen to help break down the limbs and needle liter on the ground. By speeding up the decomposition with lime, the time line becomes shorter.

Ultimately I am looking at a about $320 bucks to bring my soil to optimum levels for production. I can breath now because I can handle that.
That's great news and helpful information.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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With such a low pH why don't you grow blueberries. They thrive in low pH. They also prefer well drained (sandy/loam) soil but can be managed on heavier soils. There are some forages that tolerate low pH as well such as lespedeza. This will grow where it is warmer, southern Ohio on south. Look for forage mixes that indicate they tolerate and grow in low pH. Changing pH that drastically is difficult and is a continious job. It will not stay at a 7.0 once you get there, you will have to continue adding alkaline material on an annual basis.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:30 AM
 
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Well dairy cows don't eat a lot of blueberries during the winter for one! (LOL).

There are places I am thinking about adding wild blueberries though, like an outcropping of ledge on my farm. Its only a few acres, but right now it is not being used for anything productive. You cannot farm it, and with the ledge rock exposed, the only thing that will grow would be blueberries. I am trying to get that funded under various fed programs...just have not found the right one yet. In due time.

I'm also working with them on some pollinator issues...bats being one big issue. I have a forlorn barn that is home to thousands of bats, but it is in danger of collapse. If it does it will leave the bats with nowhere to go. What I am hoping for is to get some bat houses up so they have a place to stay after the barn collapses. This will not only ensure pollination on the farm crops, but also reduce the insects that bother the sheep. They do eat 1000 bugs per hour, and up to their own weight in bugs per night. Ensuring they stay around is important to me!!
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Great stuff, Broken Tap.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:27 AM
 
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Yeah it is kind of.

That place I want to put blueberries has exposed ledge rock right on top of the ground. There is a smattering of soil...enough for some trees to grow but nothing of any height or great monetary value. The great thing about blueberries is though, you can take those trees, cut them down, chip them up and spread that over the ledge rock in a thick mat. The blueberries will then grow over the rock and establish itself. That will give you a agricultural crop that would otherwise not exist, and Sorrone said, the soil is low in PH for blueberries already, not to mention even more coming from the decaying wood chips.

I kind of have the perfect spot to try this, and blueberries are excellent feed for a variety of wildlife, as well as for human consumption. Even at a few acres, there would be enough for us all. And this is in a spot that is doing absolutely nothing at the moment. Just the fact that I am making additional productive farmland is reason enough to do it.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Virginia (soon Ellsworth)
653 posts, read 1,723,778 times
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that simple ha, i have an area with exposed ledge rock may be i will give a try and get lucky have wild Maine blueberries the pick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Yeah it is kind of.

That place I want to put blueberries has exposed ledge rock right on top of the ground. There is a smattering of soil...enough for some trees to grow but nothing of any height or great monetary value. The great thing about blueberries is though, you can take those trees, cut them down, chip them up and spread that over the ledge rock in a thick mat. The blueberries will then grow over the rock and establish itself. That will give you a agricultural crop that would otherwise not exist, and Sorrone said, the soil is low in PH for blueberries already, not to mention even more coming from the decaying wood chips.

.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boonelsewhere View Post
that simple ha, i have an area with exposed ledge rock may be i will give a try and get lucky have wild Maine blueberries the pick.
The Indians did it even easier...they just burned the forest down and the blueberry barrens developed!
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