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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:38 am 
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Location: Parker County, Texas
I am an absolute beginner at this farming stuff, so please excuse if my question is silly. I recently purchased a home on 20 acres. About 8-10 are in coastal. I have 4 horses and 6 donkeys that roam at will. Weeds are coming up and I don't know what to do about them. Feed stores are no help. They can sell me fertilizer, but no help with the weeds. Last fall the grass was healthy and thick so I think the soil is in good shape-this used to be a commercial chicken farm.
I have been reading your posts about corn gluten. Should I put it out now for weed control? But I can't help but wonder if it will inhibit growth of my grass as well. Sure don't want to do that. Thanks for suggestions.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:48 am 
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CGM (corn gluten meal) is only good for new potential weed seeds in the lawn.

Vinegar sprays are best for spraying sparingly on established weeds. NOTE: Be careful with vinegars. Acetic acid will kill any plant, by drying up the sugars in the foliage, thus stopping photosynthesis.

The best remedy for lawns is build the soil, and keep your lawn grass thick, so weeds get choked out.

I love using just lots of sprinkled compost and plain corn meal or cracked corn products on my lawn.

The compost supplies all the humus and beneficial microbes that lawns need for soil health, disease control, and soil conditioning.

The corn meal (or any protein fertilizer) supplies extra nitrogen for greener, thicker grass. Also plain corn products are natural fungicides.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:45 pm 
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Use your animals to control weeds for you.

Divide up your property into 15 divisions based on whatever criteria seem to make sense to you. Then fence it all off using a good electric fence. Herd all the animals into one section and let them eat, drink, dig, jump, frolic, and dung in that one pasture until the grass and weeds are eaten down to about 4 inches. Hopefully that will take a day or two minimum. Then move them to the next section, the one with the tallest grass. Let them eat it down. In a week or two, because it is spring time, your grass will be growing very fast all over, so you might have to move them every day or twice a day just to get some of the grass eaten and beaten down. When the grass starts to slow down, you slow down your animal movement. For the rest of the year you will move the animals every 2-3 days. Eventually (hopefully) at least a month will go by before the herd comes back to a pasture. This gives the grass time to rest and regrow good tops and deep roots.

Note that you will have to provide water to each section as the animals move around. You can use portable troughs with a garden hose. Also you will have to train each animal to the electric fence. If you do it right, they will not get near it.

Since you have horses and mules, you might want to leave one larger area unfenced so you can ride and run the horses. Then divide up the rest of the ranch into 15 sections. So you could have one 5-acre section and 15 pasture sections for forage rotation. You will also have to keep ahead of your pastures with seeding. You can quite often scatter the seeds you want right before you bring the animals into the pasture and they will do the planting for you with their hooves.

I'm making this sound a lot easier than it is, but rotational grazing is a good way to restore depleted farmland to useable pasture. And the weeds usually just sort of go away.

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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:44 pm 
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Location: Parker County, Texas
Thank you both for your suggestions. I have been using vinegar near the house, and it works well, but seems impractical for large fields. I had been thinking about rotating the grazing and now will probably go ahead, but can't do it as often as you suggest. I will use larger sections and move every few days. Am looking into spreading ground fish and seaweed fertilizer as well as corn meal. Clover is something else I will probably be adding.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:04 am 
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Location: Austin
Linda, I'm in a pretty similar situation, except that our land started off in rather bad shape from overgrazing (and, before that, cotton). Rotating every week is great - we haven't made it to that point, are still working on once a month (or more) rotations. If you're looking for fish & seaweed fertilizer, Watson Ranch is a good source - http://www.homestead.com/watsonorganic/home.html. Also, if you have the fencing for it, I'd put a couple of goats in with the horses -- they tend to get along well, and the goats like weeds :)

Judith


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:38 am 
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If you're adding animals, add one chicken for each large animal. Let them forage with the other animals. Provide a chicken tractor for them to roost and lay in and you will have eggs every morning, too. Look up chicken tractor on the Internet for designs.

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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:34 pm 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
Dave: MIG is good idea except when there are to many animals for the aiven amount of land. I have been through this for years and it ain't going to work. Cut back on the number of animals or confine them in small paddocks. Clean lots regularly and compost, compost, and compost, and then buy compost. Feed hay the year around and compost the left overs. Humates and sea water help on trace minerals. Other solution is to buy more land. If there any tree the horse and donkeys will kill all of them by eating the bark off - no matter the type of supplements or the quanity of supplements.
After two plus years of tender loving care of say 18 acres you can start letting animals out a few hours per day for a limited number od days per year or they will destroy your new grass.
I don't know the right ratio of acres per horse (if there is such a figure), but I would estimate 1 animal per 7 to 10 acres.
I fought this for years and got tired of losing beautiful trees.
At least cows can't eat bark off trees like horses - horses have teeth top and bottom, and cows do not.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 4:34 pm 
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Location: Austin
Horses will kill young trees, so you have to keep those fenced off. But if well-fed, they do not chew bark much, to the point that it doesn't hurt healthy, established trees - I grew up on a horse farm with lots of large pecans that thrived (even though there were too many horses for the acreage, so that the grass was non-existent). You have to make sure to feed the right supplements - the mineral blocks for cows do NOT work.

Before I saw Bob's post, I hadn't thought to ask if you were feeding grain and/or extra hay -- I just assumed you were. If you're trying to support the 10 horses/donkeys on 20 acres of grass alone, you will run into problems. But if you supplement feed, and rotate pastures, then it might work fine (it all depends on your soil, etc.)

Judith


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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:06 pm 
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Location: Parker County, Texas
I feed unlimited high quality hay when the grass dies and grain to the performance horses. So far they have left the tree bark alone. I have done some price checking on organic fertilizers, and man, I might be better off just to buy hay. I think this first year I will try grazing rotation and plain corn meal 2 or 3 times during the growing season and see how that works. I learned clover is planted in the fall so that will have to wait for now.


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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:43 pm 
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I can't tell you how many full grown trees my horses have striped the bark off all the way up until they must have finished it on the tippe toes. I have always fed very well with alfalfa and coastal free choice. We have used DE and kelp mixed in and free choice. Until 2 years ago we used Morton trace mineral blocks. After finding out that this about useless we switched to Redmond salt chunks from Redmond Utah - deposits from old sea bed.
This year we are using sea water and liquid humates (organic restoring of trace minerals - dirt cheap to do) to restore 400 acres of hay meadows. I am curious if this addition of trace minerals will cut down on tree eating. We got rid of three mares because I thought they were a personal mission to destroy all our 50 to 60 year old oaks - Just kidding.
We are also feeding Muenster natural organic horse feed that has no GMO grains. We haven't been on it long enough to tell anything about tree eating.
Question - You mentioned corn - is it GMO. I would be interested if you have any changes in horse health with GMO vs GMO free corn.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 10:48 pm 
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Location: Parker County, Texas
I asked for plain corn meal at the feed store. What is GMO?

I have been advised by a very experienced horse person not to plant clover. Apparently, it has caused extreme hypersalivation. This is disappointing as the benefit of clover in the soil sounds significant. Has anyone else heard of this effect on horses?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 8:42 am 
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GMO = genetically modified organisms. I think it's used interchangeably by most people with GE (genetically engineered). I'm not sure there's any way to really know if something is GMO or not if you're not buying organic -- there aren't any labeling requirements.

I think clover hay is susceptible to mold (it's harder to dry properly), but I've never heard or experienced anything about grazing on clover. Having said that, I wouldn't graze my horses on a field that was mostly clover, I think it would be too rich for them -- we want our pastures to include a good mix of grasses and forbes, so we seeded just a little bit of clover, not a lot.

Judith


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 8:55 am 
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If you are USDA certified organic, you can only use non-genetically modified corn products in your farming or gardening system. However, since I'm 100% sustainable, (not certified organic), I can use any form of economical plain corn meal or cracked corn products that I can get my hands on, in order to build my soil, or heat up my compost piles, or use as a nitrogen fertilizer and natural fungicide in my tea brews.

The bottom line is about it is a matter of personal choice, religion, politics, or philosophy. Because the earthworms and soil/composting microbes love all forms of corn products! (LOL)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:53 am 
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Captain, I don't know enough about the interaction of soil microbial life and GMOs to contradict you with facts about using GMO corn in gardening (though I have a very strong feelings against it!) ;-)

Feeding to animals, however, is a different issue. At least one study showed that GE genes in food products can become incorporated into the bacteria in the gut (I think the experiment was on mice). An article in Acres a while back discussed some pig farms that had gotten a very high number of false pregnancies while feeding GMO corn. So there are some real concerns.

I haven't been able to find organic corn at a price I can afford for our horses yet, but I'm trying!

Judith


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 Post subject: weeds in coastal
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:08 pm 
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I don't know the precentage of GMO corn in north America, but for example 80% of soy beans are GMO to tolerate extra Round up herbicide. Round up has been connected to cancer. In the school lunch program they are so worried about E-coli killing kids (E-coli is caused by feeding cattle mostly grain which causes super acid stomach jucies) that they are mixing 75% soy beans with beef. The over riding question, "Will we end up with more children having cancer". We have been lead to believe that canola oil is safe but it is close to 100% GMO. There have been studies that suggest when feeding GMO corn to animals that it takes twice as much corn to get the same feed value.
GMO products - grains, hormones, animals or what ever are not being done for the betterment of manlind. It is not for nutrition, feeding the poor, or for third world people. It is to line the pockets of multi national corporations. who don't give a flip if we live or die.
We purchase organic dog food, and horse feed from Muenster Milling. These products are available all over the Metroplex.
We used to feed corn in the winter for extra energy in cold weather, but didn't feed very much in the summers
Here is a good thought - GMO Bst (genectically engineered hormones that are fed to dairy cows so that they never have to have babbies. They just keep making milk until they die. The stress is terrible and causes the cows to produce higher abouts of white cell. It is estimated by Dr. Fox that the milk is 40% white cells - translated to mean the milk you buy that has had BST used is 40% puss.
Why do we want to use anything that is GMO. It either hurts us or supports companies that don't care about us. We loose either way.

www.notmilk.com

Robert D Bard


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