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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:37 am
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Location: Scurry,TEXAS
We have toyed with the organic philosphy. We get the concept, but don't understand the economics. That has been our hesitancy in doing organics is that it is so expensive for acerage. We have 10 acres we use for grazing 3 horses. We aren't trying to raise livestock for profit. Mainly just trying to fight the weeds and bahia grass. We just can't justify the approximate 4 X cost of organics versus traditional fertilizers, etc. but we aren't having a lot of luck with what we are doing now. Is there some other way to do organics on acerage? Is there some kind of short beginners handbook available through dirtdoctor.com or other resources?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:10 am 
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Posts: 219
Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
We've been organic on our pastures for three years, and this year really shows how well the grass is doing. When you stop using commercial (non-organic) fertiliers, etc., native grass WILL come back.

I did not take advantage of this forum until recently and, like you, was a bit overwhelmed with going organic on acres of land. The first thing we did was a soil test. This showed we needed ag lime. We bought the lime from around the Austin area and had someone spread it. Trucking is the biggest cost here.

Before we knew we could make our own compost tea, we bought 2 55-gal barrels of Garrett Juice from Marshall Grain--they have 55-gal of other products--and sprayed it. Last year we sprayed liquid molasses we bought at the feed store for about a $1/gallon--except we buy it by the ton for the cattle. Cattle will eat dry hay/grass if they have molasses to lick. We added one gallon of humate to each sprayer of molasses & water mix.

After several years of drought, 2004 was a very wet year, and this year we've had grass to your knees. We plant ryegrass for winter grazing and have added some legumes to help the soil. With horses, I'm sure you'll need to get expert advise on what they can/cannot eat. I think too much legumes will cause gas. We mow once or twice a year.

Now we are going to make our own aerated compost tea. This should be a big $ saver...

I'm not sure what area of TX you're in, but rather than spend big bucks on equipment, you probably could find someone to do the work for you.

Don't be discouraged. You can do it!

Pat Akin


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 Post subject: cost of organics
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:37 pm 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
I am not sure where you got your cost comparisons
but the most expensive organics is cheaper than
chemical fertilizer.
I restore pastures and hay meadows and I charge
(with tractor time) about 12 to 14 dollars per acre
(I ned to charge more) with my best "stuff" and
you can't come close to that with chemicals.
If you can't afford anything but 10 gals of molasses/acre
and $1.00/gal you will be a heck of a lot better off that
toxic fertilizers. When you buy 50 lbs of fertilizer 1/3
to 2/3 is industrial waste - the only question is it toxic
waste. The most common toxic product in fertilizer is
mercury from power plants. Is it worth your family
health or animal health to experiment using "store
bought" fertilizer. Also when you use these acid
fertilizers you have to use lime to increase the PH
and they mix toxic wates in lime.
If you should resort to herbicides (and/or pesticides)
to get rid of the weeds, kinda of think how many
people will die of cancer from these chemicals.
The average woman has 500 part/trillion estrogen
and men 50 parts/trillion. When they use pesticides
on crops with oz/acre the effect on the crop is 31,000
parts/trillion (pesticides imitate estrogens). Is it any
wonder that we have breast and prostrate cancer?
This doesn't include the portion that runs off in to the
streams and lakes and later into underground water
sources.
Organics are safe, effective, and cheaper.
I am planning an e-book in the next few months on
organic fertilizers from the the cheapest to the best
whick will be from the basics to the most expensive
you can do with in your particular buget.
Robert D Bard


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 Post subject: Cost of Organics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:37 am
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Location: Scurry,TEXAS
Robert

Thanks for the reply and the stats. We pretty much are on board with the need and the reasons to go organic. As far as the cost comparisons, we spend maybe $1500 a year on the chemical fertilzers and that covers 2 applications. When we listen to Howard's radio show he mentions CGM/dried molasses/CM with application rates of 10-20 lbs./1000 sq. ft. So to do an acre you would need 430-860 lbs. of product which based on prices for bags of CGM/molasses/CM at the feed store would be several thousands of dollars. I know you and others are doing organics economically. I just need help figuring out what I need to be buying and where I can get it in bulk to reduce the cost. We live in Scurry about 45 miles SE of Dallas. We have a local feed store that seems to be willing to help with organics. I appreciate all of your patience with us newbies. Your e-book sounds like it will be a wonderful help.

Thanks


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 Post subject: 10 acre grazing pasture
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:57 am 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
Howard is the best but Howard does peoples yards.
You can't compare that to 10 acres or 1000 acres.
Dry molasses is useless on acreage. A bag of molasses
may have a gallon of molasses in it with the rest
being filler that will help with humus and a good
thing but be a drop in the bucket on acreage. Liquid
molasses at up to 10 gal per acre is $100 bucks +
water and the time to spray it. Liquid humate would
be 1 gal to 10 acres at about $14.00. If you use sea
water which has 92 trace minerals at $53. per gal.
And if you buy compost tea at $3 to $5 per gal and
you use 1 gal/acre (you can make your own for the
cost of the container and a small amount of work)
(if you use community water for making compost tea,
I suggest you use 1 gal of liquid humate to detoxify
the water).
If you total this up (I recommend doing all the above
2 times a year + compost tea + 1 gal liquid humate
and 10 gal of molasses 2 times per year) you have
$582 (if you buy the compost tea - $150 less if you
make your own tea). I still suggest using dry humates
when you can at about $225/ton.
There is one problem with all this - it takes rain and
we have had 3 decent rains in our area (20 mile
west of Sherman) in 5 to 6 months. Maybe next year
will be better. I still do the above even with out rain.
Organics will not hurt or burn your plants. After it
finally rains I might put some Bugs-in-a-jug in the
next compost tea because I figure the little critters
are probably dried out from this drought.
Home owners pay Howards bills and what he recommends
is great for the little lots they live on. If you put 5
houses, a street, and an alley on 1 acre, it doesn't
leave much for a yard after you put bushes around
the house.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
Malcolm Beck's book THE GARDEN-VILLE METHOD, page 33, tells how he rejuvenated a worn-out farm down around San Antonio. This info was quite helpful. He grew vegetables, but the basic prep is similar. It took him 3-4 years to get it going like he wanted.

Being SE of Dallas, you may not be far from Rabbit Hill Farm in Corsicana. You can buy basics, not mixed formulas e.g. rose food, at more reasonable prices. They have a web site.

We purchase everything we can get at the feed store. Then we go to Rabbit Hill Farm. There are still some things we get from retailers, but that's mostly for the yard, not the pastures.

If you'd like to visit our place, let us know. There's still work to be done, but we're getting there. Just had cross fencing put up, and the next step is to get some Spanish goats. This is the cheapest way to clear out brush--so I'm told.

Pat Akin


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:24 pm 
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Location: McKinney,TEXAS
Pat-
My wife and I would like to visit, could you send me a pm and let me know if that's OK?
Tony M


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 3:13 pm
Posts: 10
The context of the above emails nicely lead into a question I have been wanting to ask but haven't taken the time to do it. I have pasture land that I want to spray homemade compost tea and maybe molasses on. Because of the particulates in compost tea, I am sure I will need a special type of spray nozzles. And maybe special pump.....I assume filters are NOT to be used??? What have ya'll done? Did you buy a sprayer that works for compost tea? Did you build you own? What brand nozzles, pump etc. THANKS MUCH!!!

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Ron


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 Post subject: cost of organics
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:16 am 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
Ron: I am not sure where you got the idea that this
is so complicated and going to plug up.
First off I make 500 gal of compost tea at a time
and it has nothing in it to plug up a sprayer, The
jets on my 200 gal sprayer have never had it so
good as when I started making my own tea.
2nd is molasses is the big pain at plugging up sprayer
jets because it has litle particles of finings. I had to
stop and unplug multiple times to get through 20 acres.
The trick is to buy molasses and let it settle for at
least 48 hours. Then I pour the molasees into the
500 gal tank but leave at least 2 to 3 inches on the
bottom of a 5 gal bucket. I then take the junk in
the bottom and dilute it with waqter and put it
around trees and the lawn.
The molasses in the compost tea tank feeds the
bacteria. After a week or so of this, I aerate for
12 to 24 hours and then spray on the fields - with
no plugging up.
Robert D Bard


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:45 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
mhwiz, you are a perfect candidate to attend the Holistic Resource Management meeting in Wimberley coming up in November. Check their website at

www.hrm-texas.org

for the details. I've talked with several of those folks and get the idea that simply by using the pasture animals you have, you can stop buying seed, fertilizer, herbicide, and insecticide. You will still need to buy minerals for the animals to deposit into your soil for you.

Betsy Ross filters her compost going in to her tea to keep the twigs and stuff out. Then when she sprays she uses a #20 nozzle. It comes out fast but she's spraying 500 acres, four times a year.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:18 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Hawkins,TEXAS
It does not have to be expensive to go organic on acreage.... even if you dont make it yourself. Yes the feed and organic stores are expensive to buy products from but then the products they have are marketed towards the one acre and under gardener.
We at Watson Ranch produce our Own Oranic Products and Market to the larger farmers and ranchers. We manufacture on a large basis and sell quanities from quarts to 250 gallon totes. Our products average $14.00 per acre for 10 acres and over. We have customers that have just a residentcial yard up to 2000+ acres.
We have been in business for over 10 years and have a great tract record, we are always improving our products as well as our product line and programs, as research and testing improve in the area of organics.
Feel welcome to check out our web site. www.WatsonRanchOrganic.com or call me at 903 858-2030.
Thanks.
Brad


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:44 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Red Oak,TEXAS
At last! Some practical information!

Here's the Deal: have 15 ac. down here in crops. Have another eight in (hopefully, someday) an extremely aggresive bermudagrass hybrid (Sungrazer 777). Have 100 gal boom sprayer. Am replacing the roller-cell pump with a diaphragm pump. Have read carefully Elaine Ingham's web-site (and others).

With respect to the crops: Moldboard to 12", usually twice a year. Turn over the trash. Trying to decide on a winter manure crop. Expect to spread dry materials (mentioned below) before moldboarding.

Have 2/t Leonardite and 3-1/2/t Dry Molassass on the floor (thanks to someone whom we all know). Have to build drop-speader calibrator and then calibrate the spreader (a Gandy 10T 12'), before I can do anything with any of it - will happen in the early Fall. The problems are now.

Have submitted many dirt samples to K. Chandler. We have basically moon-dust, here. Will require tons/ac. material, here, to get something remotely resembling dirt, eventually.

The proposition: Want to bubble-up my own compost tea (or is it coffee?) and get on with life. Because it has been represented as not quite a panacea, but a good start towards one...

We are obliged to have at least one producing crop a year!

The Questions:

1. What size maker?
2. What brand maker?
3. How many applications per year?
4. What rate per application?
5. In addition to compost, what other ingredients?
6. What pH the solution? (We have alkaline water and soil (7.4 pH.)
7. What other amendments need to be applied between tea applications (details, please)?

Really need step-by-step instructions, because...

The Epilogue: The writer is your basic, very simple German technician: always has to have a plan before he starts, but is able to follow formulae and instructions, but has ere (or is it Eire?) a thought for creativitiness or abstractions, and has found himself to be a veritable rowboat in the middle of the Great Lakes in November, with respect to all of this organic bid'ness...

Hope you will be kind enough to illuminate...

Cordially,

Red Oak Frank-


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 Post subject: cost of organics
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 11:09 am 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
Do not use a moldboard plow. It takes the aerobic stuff and puts it in the anaerobic are and destroys what ever good stuff you have. It takes the anaerobic stuff and makes it aerobic and then destroys that.
Read "The Plowmans Folly" by William Falkner.
Don't use dry molasses - to expensive and almost no molasses. Buy liquid from local feed store - about $1.00/gal.
Humates are probably easier and cheaper to find in the area.
You don't need a compost tea maker - waste of money. Get 100 gal or larger plastic tank and fill with water. Put compost in a burlap bag and use as a giant tea bag. Put a little molasses or corn syrup in the feed the bugs. Aerated woth 12 to 24 hours and put in sprayer with extra molasses and just do it.
Do as many applications per year as you can afford fuel.
!00 gals / 10 acres works well.
Roller pump is not a problem.
I like liquid humates - very cheap - sea water or Redmond salt in solution to get 72 trace minerals or more. I will have sea water in a few months with out Sodium Chloride NaCl.
Do not worry about PH - it will correct itself if you add humus and humates and bugs.
I like to use fish liquid but I want it from ocean fish - not fresh water fish. Ocean will add some trace minerals.
If you are short on money the use molasses multiple times per year.
Use chisel plow or aerator. The surface will rot and build humus. Rye grass and a little clover will do wonders.
Robert D Bard
Dr Bob the Health Builder


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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 10:45 pm 
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Posts: 6
Location: Red Oak,TEXAS
Dr. Dr. Bob,

Thank You! Clairity at last! Just a couple of questions:

1.Compost Tea -
a. How much molassas/100 gal. tea?
b. How much sea water, see weed, fish, etc./100 gals? Brands?
c. Humates - how much - brands?
d. Bugs - brands? Am especially interested in those which promote nitrogen nodules on legumes (soybeans, crimson clover).

2. Molassas - gallons/100 gallons water? What rate of RTU/ac?

Frank-


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 12:50 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
We have basically moon-dust, here.

Oh you think so? Look at this...

http://website.lineone.net/~s.ward/MIN/98Aug/Cattle.html

The short version is that they started out with the sterilized dust from a copper strip mine located in the Sonoran Desert. If your soil is worse than that, I'd like to see it. Then they applied cattle to it with some water and a few rolls of grass. Voila! They have a pasture. This all gets back to the HRM I mentioned earlier.

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