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 Post subject: help the new guy
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:34 am 
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Location: whitney, tx
ok folks i live close to hillsbore tx. i have 16 acres sandy loam soil that currently has coastal bermuda grass and bull nettle on it. i use the grass to feed my 9 horses. i currently cut the grass for hay and let the horses graze on the acreage. i can't afford to use syntheic fertilizers anymore and want to try the organic way but don't how to do it.
i can use ALLTHE HELP i can get!!!!


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 Post subject: new guy
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:26 pm 
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The first thing is use 20% vinegar - streight from bottle with a little soap. Do this in late spring when days get hot and no forecast of rain. If you spray this on nettles, they will not be part of you farm. Do this in early flower stage but before seeds form. I did this and in one spring and summer there were no more nettles the following year in our pastures.
What have you got to spend and can you rent sprayers. The cheapest and the best is to spray pastures and hay meadows with ocean water with a little potassium nitrate (3/4 lb 100 gals of diluted sea water). I just contracted and did a forty acre farm (not including the use of a tractor) for $236. dollars. One gal of sea water (has 92 trace minerals, enzymes, amino acids and beneficial bacteria) is $45.00, 1 gal of molasses $17.00, 1 gal of compost tea $? and bottle of garlic $ ? from Wal Mart or Albertsons is about $75.00 and that will do 100 acres. That will do your land 6 times in one year or $12.50 / application. Doesn't include the sprayer rental. If you are interested I am dealer of ocean water in this area.
The next best cheapest thing to do is to use humates mixed with organic potassium, phosporousand a small amout of ammonium sulfate. I know the pure organic people don't like AS but in real small amounts it will help the bermuda and will not hurt the environment. Also the sulfate will free some trace minerals. I would do one ton each time and that is about $200.00 and you need to pull spreader through pastures (spreader should be included with purchase of humates. If you choose this I can give you name of company in FW that can mix this and sell to your local feed store or co-op.
The third choice is to cover with compost - some of which you can make with horse manure - but the hard part is spreading it. Welcome to shovels and hopefully good friends or family.
Also green manure - rye grass, etc in fall, winter, and spring but it has to be disced under surface before it it can choke out your bermuda.
Robert d Bard


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:58 am 
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You said you're out of money. I'm going to suggest some things that will cut your costs considerably and should develop a nice organic pasture for you. There will be costs involved, however. I'm going to suggest electric fencing, plastic troughs, grass and legume seeds, and chickens to help you cut your costs and develop the organic nature of your land. Probably your biggest bill now is supplemental feed (even if it is your own harvest), so these suggestions are heavy on your developing a way to cut that cost.

A good way to go organic in a grazing situation is to let nature's beneficial beasts start helping you out. Once you stop using herbicide, insecticide (including livestock wormers), and fungicide, your land will be on the way to taking care of itself. Your job will become the management of the animals so that they can all work together in harmony. You will have to throw some seeds, fertilize (but hopefully not much with nitrogen), and provide water to the livestock, but that is relatively easy to handle.

If you fence your horses and move them around on a schedule, they will do much of your work for you. They will harvest your grass (you can sell your haying equipment), spread manure (sell your manure spreader), and plant your seed (sell your seeder). Here's how. Fence your 16 acres into 16 pastures of 1 acre each with good electric fence (even the really good electric fence is cheap compared to wood or steel fences). Instead of the spring gates they recommend, use electric tape - it is visible enough and dirt cheap compared to a spring - especially when the spring gets stretched out 40 feet into the adjacent pasture. The gate will end up costing about a dollar instead of $15.

If you keep all the horses in a pasture for a week, it will be 15 weeks before the horses return to a pasture giving the grass a chance to regrow. Overgrazing is caused when the grass doesn't ever get a chance to rest and regrow. So having all these pastures will prevent overgrazing. Not only that, but when grasses grow tall, their roots grow deep. Then when the horse bites off the tall grass, the roots no longer have enough sugar coming in, so many of the roots die off. Those dead roots become the organic matter in your soil that is so very important to soil health. Then when you let the grass grow for another 15 weeks, the new roots will grow deep again. This is the fastest way to get organic matter deep into your soil.

You'll need water in each pasture. A 40-gallon Rubbermaid trough is good and portable when empty. Fill with a tough garden hose and a float valve. If you had two troughs, you could have the fresh one ready in the new pasture before you open the gate and then let the old one drain. You can locate the troughs where you need to churn up the soil to stimulate new growth.

Move the animals from pasture to pasture depending on when the grass in the next pasture is ready to eat. The horses should remain long enough to eat most of the grass in each pasture AND spread manure over the entire area. That will take care of your manure spreading. If you know what minerals the soil needs, you can put the minerals in the salt for the horses to spread that out for you, too.

Have you considered putting some different clovers in with the bermuda? Some clovers lush out early and some later. All clovers and legumes can inject nitrogen fertilizer into the soil for you. Or how about some delicious Johnson grass? Oats? Alfalfa? I have a problem with coastal, especially when it is pretty much a monoculture. Once it goes dormant, it's all over for that grass and that pasture - suddenly you have to pay for supplemental feed. That's why I'm suggesting some back up forage. You can buy a lot of seed for the price of a roll of hay. If you get the right mix of legumes and grasses, you should never have to apply nitrogen and you should have fresh, living forage all year long. If you throw the seed before the horses move into a pasture, their hooves will prepare the seed bed and push the seeds into the seed bed for you. Then they will fertilize if for you, too.

If you are using a wormer now, the worm medicine is likely killing off some of the soil's beneficial worms and even beetles under the horse's manure. This is a bad thing. You can avoid this by only giving the worming meds to horses that have worms. For the rest use diatomaceous earth in their mineral. That will minimize worms. The continual movement of the horses from pasture to pasture will keep them from spending a lot of time in their own manure and will help keep the pests down.

If you have horse manure piling up and not disappearing by itself in the pasture, you might bring in some free ranging chickens. They will eat the pests from the manure and spread it over a larger area. Even if you have to buy chicks, and the coyotes eat every one of them, they are worth having simply to spread manure around for you for very little cost and labor. Plus you might get some eggs out of the deal.

If you're going to Texas Plant and Soil Labs for a test, have them check your forage, too. This might be more important than having the soil tested. There can be conditions where the soil has the right elements in it but the plants aren't getting them. I would never suggest this to someone just growing a lawn, but your grass is forage. It has to be good. Texas Plant and Soil Labs specializes in this kind of plant testing.

http://www.txplant-soillab.com/

If you do all this, you should only have to keep track of potassium, phosphorus, and trace elements. Just about everything else is included.

And I've found molasses for more like a dollar a gallon, not $8-$16. Look for a co-op where they buy it in huge bulk and sell it by the pound (you bring in your own containers). Cost is about $0.10 per pound and is subject to market conditions. A gallon weighs 10.5 pounds. You might spray every pasture with one gallon per acre after the animals leave it. Spray everything in the field to stimulate microbial activity.

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 Post subject: new guy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 12:29 am 
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Dave you have some good ideas, but there are are a few things you might not have had experience.
The breaking of acres into small paddocks is good idea but 16 with horses is not reasonable. When they get to running when they feel good and wrapped up in the wire the vet bills will break him. Horses need permanent fence that is visable to them.
You can not grow enough grass for 5 horses on 16 acres. They are not going to eat the undiserable grasses as a cow will and they will eat the gras flush to the dirt and depending on the soil they may colic and die. The grass will not recover in a timely manor if it survives. Don't for get the trees that they love to destroy either for food or just for the fun of it. Don get rid of manure spreader. If they have horses in stall save the manure and compost it and then look for neighbors that have horses that are stupid enouigh to give it away - the back may wear out but compost is gold. Horse manure does not seem to disappear as quickly as cow stuff. and sholud never be spread out on pasture without being composted first - other wise you will have wormy horses and tons of weeds.
My neighbor has the ideal horse farm - 60 acres of improved pasture and 12 to 14 horses - trees are safe and they can still cut pastures for hay.
The farm I did last week had forty acres and 9 horses.
I would not suggest Rubbermaid troughs - everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!
They are terrible. I have had three and the two bigger ones didn't make 2 years. They spring leaks and are very had to repair. One that I have left I use at front door of barn for the tools I use most often that I can run in and grab the right tool in a second or two.
Do you know how to make a million dollars in the horse business --------------------------start out with 2 million? Horses are fun and enjoyment not for making money.
I still say the ocean water is best bang for buck - labor and money. Compost is second, humate ok, green manure good choice - the most important is time and not to many animals for such a small acreage.
We all forgot to ask how much hay they are buying and is it loaded with herbicides and NPK chemicals. Herbicides do not break down.
I forgot to mention that we have had horses for 26 years. You can put one horse on 5 acres and he or she will destroy it and the trees in less than one year. They ain't cows and they ain't goats, but they are great fun.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 6:59 am 
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Location: whitney, tx
:D ok folks thanksfor the replys. i have a field sprayer. when do i apply the seawater and how much to the acre do i use. all my horses currently have run of the 16 acres. and even with them grazing over the entire 16 acres i have been able to cut enough hay to feed them over the winter in addition to the 14% protein feed that i give them ( with d.e. in the feed). i am trying to reduce the number of horses that i have however being a trucker and being go most of the time that has been hard to do. what else besid the seawater application can i do and when do i do it . also how often do i do the seawater application. where can i get the seawater?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:07 pm 
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I'd suggest something between Dave and Robert's suggestions. 16 pastures is a bit tight for 9 horses, maybe try 8 paddocks of 2 acres each. If you use 3/4" or 1" electric tape, instead of electric wire, the horses will see it better -- ours learned to respect it quickly, and (touch wood!) we have not had any injuries from them running into the tape. We use mostly the step in plastic posts, with metal T-posts for the corners (with plastic caps on them to avoid injuries).

Ocean water you can get from http://www.oceangrown.com/index.htm. They're selling at wholesale prices until January 2004, and they have instructions on the rates of application on their website.

Besides ocean water, you might try the fertilizers from Watson Ranch - http://www.homestead.com/watsonorganic/home.html. We started using their MicroGrow, fish & seaweed, and humate teas this year, and the pastures are responding well. They average out to about $10-15 an acre, depending on the quantities you buy. Ocean water is great for adding trace minerals, but the other fertilizers may do more to build organic matter.

I sympathize with the problem of trying to cut your herd down -- between the slow market and not having time, it's a difficult task!

Judith


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 11:56 pm 
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Thanks for the corrections and adjustments, Robert and others. Raising livestock seems to have about 85 interactive dimensions to it - it's easy to overlook things and overgeneralize in a few paragraphs.

Exercise is certainly important to horses. If you ended up going with multiple paddocks, you would want them to be longer than wide to give room to run.

Horses are not a profit center for most people. Nuff said about that.

Listen good to those other guys. My thoughts were brainstorm ideas to get you to think about alternatives to tradition. If you're away a lot of the time, many of my ideas won't work because you have to watch the grass so close. Moving horses around from paddock to paddock becomes a chore. Open range is probably better for you.

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 Post subject: help the new guy
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:03 am 
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Did you get my e-mail?
Robert D Bard


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 Post subject: help the new guy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 11:37 pm 
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I sent again and it was returned - undeliverable. Please e-mail me directly.
Bob Bard


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:02 am 
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Did who get your email?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 3:17 pm 
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Hi Wayne,

I live in Hubbard. Which side of Hillsboro or what nearby town do you live?

In your original post you mentioned not wanting to pay for synthetic fertilizers anymore. The most cost effective thing you can do right away is putting out nothing at all. This is the first step in "going organic".

I have heard Howard say that the best, least expensive first amendment for large acreage is molasses. We did this. Liquid form is the best deal. We also put out lava sand and green sand to help moisture retention and minerals. The best time to do this is summer since neither will spread if wet or on a very humid day. Both can be obtained from Living Earth Technologies and hauled in pickup bed. They are located near Red Oak right off I-35. Look for big piles of "dirt". I haven't used the sea products recommended but I might in the future. I've heard some concern that these may not be "organic".

Rotational grazing is the best and may keep you from needing to make hay. There are many arrangements to work out for this to happen including, water, fencing, and tractor access if needed. Also do you want to walk a ways and go through a series of gates to say "hi" to your horses? I like mine close for quick pet when I only have a minute to feed a carrot.

Please let us know how it goes. It is easier to learn from those who have tried different things than to bear the learning curve. :)

Good luck.

Pam

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 Post subject: help the new guy
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 8:35 am 
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Pam: Sea water has to be organic - there is no other way to considerit. Plus we get it from 35 to 40 miles off the east coast where their is no polution. It is also the only soil additive that can be considered total nutrition - hence the name "Total Ocean Nutrition" - because it has 92 trace minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria. When this applied to plants they convert trace minerals from the inorganic metals to organic form of mineral that can be used by our bodies and animals.

Even organic food that you buy from stores like Whole Foods, farmer markets and organic feeds for animals don't have the nutrition that plants grown with "Total Ocean Nutrition" have in the colloidal form.

There are 3 ways for your body or your animals to get trace minerals. The first is metallic form. This is the stuff you buy at feed stores and grocery stores. After the age of 35 (in people - don't know age in animals) about 3 % of this is absorbable. The second form is chealeted. They take the metallic molecule and wrap it in amino acids and proteins and the product tricks your body or animals bodies into absorbing about 40% of what ever mineral but their are not more than a few manufactured in this way so you will not get 92 trace minerals. The third way to get minerals is colloidal. They have to be plant derived and they have to be put on by the farmer and even organic farmers don't put much on in the way of trace minerals - hence Total Ocean Nutrition is the only way to provide every thing that the soil and plants need for our good health and our animals good health. The great news is that it is complete and CHEAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
If any one wants to grow their own nutrition with complete vitamins and trace minerals with enzymes, amino acids, and etc, you can grow your own in your house with wheat grass and Total Ocean Nutrition. With this you can stop all those supplements that we take that don't work.

We are a society that is now dying from degenerations caused by toxic chemicals and we need to detoxify our bodies. Wheat grass grown with "Total Ocean Nutrition", gardens grown with "TON" will help us and pastures grown with TON will help our animals.

I would suggest you read Dr. Murray's book and look at the studies that
he did and particularly the one done on breast cancer where it was prevented by food grown with sea water. The book is available from www.acresusa.com.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:46 pm 
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Everything you said sounds great. My general approach to living and producing animals and plants is to understand how God intendeded things to grow. Just because man is able to glean a product from the ocean doesn't mean it belongs on the land. Having said that I also believe God gives us the gift of being able to do those things that help us.

Also just because something is "natural or organic" that doesn't mean it is an organic techinique. There is nothing chemical about staking a tree for example but most organic gardeners wouldn't say it's an "organic" practice.

I appreciate the dialog about this because I am sitting on the fence. I will hope to get a copy of Dr. Murray's book because this does interest me. Now as far as the breast cancer goes I believe that blight is on us because women get so many abortions and don't breast feed. There is a group of people whose women only nurse with one breast and there is a higher incident of cancer in the other.

Thank you for giving me the information.

Pam

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 Post subject: sea water
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:09 pm 
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I'm still wondering about salt build-up, especially in potted plants. No one bothered to respond to an earlier post. Also, why is there no pollution 35-40 miles out in the ocean? Ships dump all kinds of c*** all over the ocean and the current/streams in the ocean carry stuff all over the world. I'm not saying that the Sea Water is bad, I just have questions & doubts.

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