Soil erosion

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So we did a lot of work a year ago to fix a bunch of highly eroded areas in our pastures. It was a pretty good sized job and we were glad to get it done. Unfortunately this winter during the heavy rains some areas have started to wash again. This isn’t acceptable and needs to be fixed.

I was looking at the problem areas and determined that the issue is that the red clay that we used for backfill is too poor to grow decent grass and has stayed soft and easy to erode. I really don’t want to haul more dirt in, it’s just treating the symptom, not the problem. The problem is that the soil is poor. So what’s the solution? Dig out the bad soil, haul it off, and being back better fill? Sure, if I want to spend money and time. Instead I am going to use the tools I already have.

We began this week a change in how we are feeding our cows. We have stopped rolling out our bales of hay and are now spot feeding the cows, placing the bales of hay on the worst spot of pasture. The result is that the cows trample the bad soil and break it up. This reworks the new gullys and reflattens the soil. The cows also spill about as much as they eat. That means that they are punching organic material into the red clay which by spring will turn this clay into black soil. Fertile black soil will grow grass like nobody’s business. This is exactly what this type if farming is about. Using your animals and your experience to work the soil for you rather than burning diesel fuel.

I will update with pictures what our processes have done come spring. I can tell you that where we fed into a round ring, the soil turned into 1 foot deep black topsoil so I have high hopes for these problem areas.

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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