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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lime & Compost


After coming back from the conference, one thing they really emphasized was PH and organic matter in your soils. Well, we have extremely low PH, around 5.2-5.5, and it needs to be around 7. We also have extremely sandy areas in our pastures that usually have a hard time retaining nutrients and organic matter. The solution, Lime and Compost.

Last July, I got 2 tons of lime per acre applied to about 30 acres. This left about 70 acres left to do. Trying to get someone to apply lime in the summer is one of the hardest things you will try to do. Most conventional farmers are applying heavy doses of fertilizer at this time, and at $500 a ton, it is much more profitable to put this out than $30 dollar a ton lime. So I was able to get 60 tons at that time.

This time however, I had a guy that said he could do it the next day after I called him. Amazing what a difference the season makes. So in came 148 tons of lime. These trucks were pretty awesome. My daughter didn't think they were near as cool as I did. This was a lot of lime. So now it is out and today we got a nice slow rain throughout the day. The good soaking rain which will be good for this to work faster. Also, always go with the finer grade lime. If you go with the standard agricultural lime, your looking at about 12-18 months for results versus about 6-8.

I also started applying mushroom compost to our pastures. This stuff is amazing. We have a local mushroom farm just about 60 miles from our place, and this stuff is pretty much made up of natural ingredients. Chicken liter, horse manure, hay, cottonseed mill, molasses, and other minerals. I sent an analysis to A&M to be tested and it came back with much better results than I suspected. The fertilizer in this stuff is awesome.

They delivered 2, 18 wheeler loads today, about 90 yds, and I tried to beat the rain in getting it spread. As you can see, I got most of it done. I can get about 6 acres per load so I have about 10 acres completed thus far. The most tedious part of this is not loading and spreading, but the time it takes to come back and get another load. I figure I can get about 10-12 acres done a day so about a weeks worth of spreading should get it done.

The grass is really greening up prior to application from good rain and warm weather. W have had almost a full week of weather in the 70's. Crazy how warm this year.

My cows are in day 7 of their rotation. They seem to be doing great. It is amazing how the pads look after each rotation. People complain about having to move cows but these guys are ready to move as soon as I get out there. I feel like I don't open the gate fast enough and they are getting impatient. They moo at me so I just keep mooing back. Then I let them through and the heel kicking begins. If you look closely in the picture, you can see where the compost has been spread. We'll see how the pastures look after this good rain we just received.

4 comments:

Rich said...

I just recently found your blog, and have enjoyed reading about your experiences.

I noticed in a few of your photos that you are using cedar posts for some of your fences along the road.

I have a number of larger cedars that I need to remove from my pastures and was considering saving some of them for use as posts, but I have always heard that they don't make very durable post material.

What is your experience with the durability of cedar? It seems that I have seen an awful lot of cedar post fences in Texas, but not that many around Oklahoma (which is where I am from), and wonder if it just a regional or local bias against cedar.

Kramer said...

Rich,

I don't particularly care for cedar posts but we use them on most of our perimeter fence that is visible to the road with barbed wire. I prefer treated pine when building electrical fences but the cedar posts sure look good. Main problem is the bark eventually coming off. You may find that in a couple of years as the bark begins to come off that you have to adjust some of your staples. But as far as durability, the cedar will last a long time. Termites don't like the taste so other than natural rot, they do pretty good. Any time I have cedar trees that I have to remove, I try to get as many posts out of them as I can.

Thanks for visiting the blog and hope it can be of some help to you in the future.

karl said...

i put lime on our garden the first year. tabitha got scared by how much i was putting on. 3/4 of a ton on our little garden plot. since then all my ashes from the wood stove have been put on the garden or in the compost bin then to garden.

i am threatening to get the soil tested this year. we'll see if i can get around to it.

happy birthdays around..

Homestead Herbs said...

Just found your blog! We must have missed each other at the TOFGA conference! It was awesome!

Where did you get the mushroom compost? And the lime?

We're in Hockley...

Your farm looks grand!