Food for Thought - interesting series on soils management

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GeorgeShu

Senior Member
Found a very thought provoking series in the QDMA forum to pass along. Deals with soil management issues and use of cover crops with various plant mixes.

I have long thought about no-till systems and food plots and how to incorporate into my management. Also wanted to learn about the theory behind no-tilling.

It takes some time to view the series but found it well worth the investment.

Check it out. You will have to sort through the various vids to get the series in proper order.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=soil+&+cover+crops+with+Ray+Archuleta+&+David+Brandt
 
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Gaswamp

Senior Member
thanks for sharing
 

nrh0011

Senior Member
good stuff, the main theory behind a no till system is reducing erosion or soil loss and increasing organic matter and water retention while also controlling weeds. It may take a few years to really see the fruits of implementing a no till system but I can tell you it's well worth it. I've seen first hand the comparison of beneficial bugs in no till vs conventionally tilled operations and it's crazy. You talk about having some earthworms! they love no till operations and are doing doing nothing but benefitting your soil.
 
Great stuff George. This one is worth a Sticky.
 

Canuck5

Senior Member
so i might as well sell my harrow and plow and just use the no till?
If you have a no-till drill, sprayer and a good spreader, yes you can probably go that route. Or if you have access to a no-till drill, rented out by a local feed & seed place, that will work too! And that all assumes you've amended the soil properly to begin with and then you can just do "maintenance" applications of lime on the surface.

Remember too that they are striving to maximize the soils ability to increase yield, in a harvested crop, at a lower all around cost, thru soil improvement

"We" are striving to maximize our "deer" production (yes, we grow deer thru the dirt), at a lower all around cost. We can improve the soil as well, save some money and provide great nutrition for the deer, even though, I don't no-till. I'd like to, but for various rea$on$, I don't.

Any way, in the video's they are showing you that if you use a mixture of plants in a field (food plot), they can benefit the deer and benefit the soil, even though I till.

In the picture below, I've planted oats, 3 different types of clovers and daikon radishes. Oats provide a palatable grain for the deer when young and tender, they also suppress weeds (alleopathic effect) and have a pretty deep root system, which helps break up the soil.

Daikon radishes grow deep roots, which break up the soil as well, but the big benefit from them, is they "mine" minerals deep below the soils surface, pull them up and when the radishes die, they release all those minerals for the next crop. They also leave a big hole in the ground, that allows rain water to drain in to, keeping moisture in the ground.

The 3 clovers die off at different times, extending food for the deer, till (hopefully) the following August. However the biggest benefit of the clover, is it produces nitrogen. Some of it, it uses for itself, but when it dies off, it provides nitrogen for your next crop. That saves you some money, by not having to use as much fertilizer. In fact, all the above plants, combined, can help reduce your fertilizer needs, while benefiting the soil.

Although tilling does burn up some of the soils nitrogen and I'd love to go no-till, but you can see how having a diverse cover crop, or in our case, food plot, can accomplish some of the same things.
 

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Canuck5

Senior Member
I'll just add, that if you look under the column of "non-forage benefits" you will see what each of the different "crops" can produce. Doing a "mix" of things, adds many benefits to your deer and your soil.

Again, no-till is ideal, but you can gain a lot of benefits if you can't do it.

You can gain Nitrogen as well as Phosphorous and Potassium (P & K cycling), when using a good mix. That's free fertilizer, meaning you can get away with using le$$, for the next crop. Nitrogen is needed to make proteins in the plants, which the deer eat, to put on mass. Phosphorous will help build big bodies/bones and the big racks some of like.
 

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nrh0011

Senior Member
Good stuff, however to get the nitrogen benefit from clover you either need to kill it before planting the next crop or incorporate it (tilling). Obviously you don't want to do the latter if you're implementing a no till system.
 

Canuck5

Senior Member
Good stuff, however to get the nitrogen benefit from clover you either need to kill it before planting the next crop or incorporate it (tilling). Obviously you don't want to do the latter if you're implementing a no till system.
Yeah ..... most of the nitrogen is in the top growth, but there is a little in the roots .... always a comprise somewhere!
 
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