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  1. #1
    Silver Member Learning to Farm's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    20 minutes from downtown Washington, DC
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    Kubota 2900

    Default My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    So, as my name implies I am a little new to practical farming. I can do all the numbers on paper, but actually sitting on the tractor is fairly new to me (this year). So I have seen some posts that are similar to what questions I had when I started and thought it was good to give some insight to my learning for the other newbies to read (and the seasoned farmers to maybe get a chuckle at the overwhelmed book-learned newbie). I consider myself a pretty lucky person to have this experience.

    Background:

    I have 1 horse that I keep at a boarding facility that is 29 pastured acres in Maryland (this is important because this is not the route someone, in say, AZ would do). I had my old horse have impaction colic and it was from not having enough forage (he passed way last year {not from the impaction} and I have a new horse now, want to prevent it in him). So this spring I noticed we were headed into the farms normal routine of a bumper crop of buttercups, I suggested to the barn manager that I take two pastures (3 and 3.5 acres respectively) and 6 horses and do rotational grazing and pasture renovation (all add-ins such as N and seed would come out of my pocket). I would also mow all the other fields, for $10 an hour up to half off my board (anything over, I eat). Now the interesting twist is that the barn manager leases the farm from the owner that lives on the property, all the equipment is his. I drew up my plan, which involved him allowing me to work with the county Ag Extension agents and use of all the equipment (signed a wavier). He was so pleased that he maintains all the equipment, buys ALL my diesel, and provides me with a part-time mechanic/farm guy to fix stuff (the unspoken rule is I have to participate in the repair to learn, which I happily do). It's a win-win-win, in my book.

    May- called the Soil Conservation Department and asked them to come look at an area that was washed out. Their agent and the horse extension agent came out. They said don't worry about the erosion... mow, mow, mow (buttercups were all in bloom). Which I did, did, did... they also said send soil (and compost) samples and showed me how. It was $100 out of pocket, because I had to do the entire farm (for the nutrient management plan, required in MD for any property with more than 8 horses).

    June- Got results from samples, mowed and mowed and mowed(with brush-hog) and weed-wacked. Sent information to the Nutrient Management guys and they made me a really nice binder that told me when to apply what, including spreading 7 years worth of composted manure. Found a finish mower in the brush behind a building and help the mechanic fix it (ok, just didn稚 get in the way). Went to a pasture walk hosted by the University of Maryland and met my Ag Extention Rep, he signed me up for the online applicators course (so I could learn how to spray), spoke with the owner of the farm, if I pass the exam, he will buy the farm a 3-point hitch 50 gallon sprayer with boom (my hard work is paying off).

    July- The manure spreader got tuned up (there was one extra link on one side <scratching head>). Spread one weekend one pasture and then rain every weekend for the rest of the month. I cannot spread when it is wet because ground is soft up at the compost pile and I don稚 want to gouge it up. Mowed one evening and the finishing mower that we fixed up, the vent cap was partially clogged and mowing caused it to fully clogged and blew a seal. Had the fun of ordering a new seal set for it. Learning all the time, that farming is a constant, there is no down time (that I see in the near future)! I also did a spread sheet for all the fields to show the barn manager/owner the cost of renovating each field (priced out lime, N {all that is needed in the fall}, seed) so if they wanted to do anything they could (barn manager chose two, which I also rotate for her). This also shows them how much time and $s I am putting in.

    August- Spreading like a mad woman, love the Ford (it is a real manual tractor, the kubota is a GST)! Compost everywhere (especially on me), my FEL skills are improving! Still have a good portion of the farm to do but my fields and the two that the barn manager is going to focus on are done. Started mowing regularly again after all the rain (ran into a tree, no damage but oh was I embarrassed ). Liming! So, my dad is a maintenance foreman for a limestone quarry who knew that a perk of that is 26 T of free lime, found a spreader guy that would knock a bit off per ton because of that! Had to tear down a portion of fence to get to one of the fields, it was that or have 6T of lime sitting in a field. Now I am building a removable section of fencing, so that next time it won稚 need to be broken. I also ordered my Nitrogen that will hopefully get spread this weekend with the conical spreader.

    I plan on updating this as I go along; I thought about writing this before but it was all the other newbie posts that made me decide to do it. Seasoned farmers, please chime in if you have some suggestions, other newbies please feel free to relate.

    Some photos:

    1. I was so excited to get a ton of something , the guy driving the rig laughed as I video taped him.

    2. I think that I need a New Holland toy, I mean machine!

    3. I had to ask to go for a ride, he was flying through the fields. It didn't seem as rough as the tractor, but we were sitting 6 feet higher.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-tt-jpg   My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-loader-jpg   My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-spreading-jpg  
    Some folks are lucky to be raised on a farm (with tractors), I am playing catch-up.

    Pumkin~Kubota L2900 with bucket AKA FEL
    Abe~Ford250C
    Jack~John Deere 310 B Backhoe (learning to use this summer, so excited!!)
    Rusty Woods Brush Hog (that I lovingly sweep off after every mow, even if the boys laugh at me)
    BEFCO Cyclone finish mower
    AGCO New Idea 3709 Manure Spreader
    Pallet/Round Bale Fork
    Rake
    Fimco 25 gallon ATV sprayer with boom and wand
    Chain fence drag

    Wish List:
    Grapple?

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
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    291

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    Hi

    I appreciate the cleaning up of the Bush Hog....It will rust quickly with the vegetation dust left on it..

    Wondered why you want a chain harrow?

    You sound like an industrious person---good luck---Tony

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Bigfoot62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    2,111
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    W. Central Louisiana
    Tractor
    JD 5083E; JD 5085M; NH TN70A; Ford 2600

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    Quote Originally Posted by tony Cecil View Post
    . . . Wondered why you want a chain harrow? . . .
    Last time I checked, horses leave lots of piles in the pasture.

    Let me suggest one of these (I think it's the best one made):
    Harrows
    '12 JD 5083E Cab MFWD FEL
    '10 JD 5085M Cab MFWD FEL
    '07 NH TN70A MFWD FEL
    '81 Ford 2600

    JD 457 round baler; JD 265 & Kuhn GMD 600 disc mowers; Sitrex V-10 rake; Krone 5.52 Tedder; Hardee 10', Rhino 7', & Modern 5' rotary mowers; JD 13' & Ford 6' tandem discs; HayKing 10' rennovator plow (sub-soiler); etc, etc.
    My other tractor is a '95 Kenworth.

    "I've come to the point in my life where I can't remember if I've lost my horse or just found a rope."

  4. #4
    Veteran Member canoetrpr's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    2,382
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota M7040 cab/hyd shuttle - current, Kubota L3400 - traded

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    Sounds like you are having a blast! Pasture renovation is all TLC. I've achieved great results just bushogging to keep weeds down, occasional manure spreading and a bit of overseeding. Amazing what a little TLC will do.
    Current: Kubota M7040 cab, hydraulic shuttle, Kubota M20 loader (made by ALO), LandPride RCR1872 rotary cutter, Horst bale spears & forks, Woods HB72 box blade, Kodiak 7' rake, Walco cultivator, chain harrow, Meteor 74" pull style blower

    Traded: Kubota L3400, LA473 HST (300 hrs), and various attachments

  5. #5
    New Member
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    Jun 2005
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    NJ
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    Kubota B7510

    Default

    Just noticed your journal and am looking forward to watching as things progress. Good luck! It sure does sound like a lot of fun, uh, work ahead to enjoy.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Learning to Farm's Avatar
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    20 minutes from downtown Washington, DC
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    Kubota 2900

    Default

    Thanks for all the support! I am pretty excited about it all, forward is the only direction and I hope not to make to many mistakes and if I do I learn from them. TBN has been so helpful so far, I am glad I have all of the knowledge to draw from.

    So, I got the 6x6s for the fence today at lunch, there is a "helpful hardware place" right across from my office building. I think my co-workers think I am crazy. If I am not studying pesticides, eating my peanut butter and jelly, I am buying lumber which I drop off at the farm on my way home or calling and scheduling supplies/ equipment.

    I saw the owner tonight, dropping off posts and asked him if we had an auger. He told me we did it was up in "the weeds". Up in the weeds is were stuff goes to rust. It is a treasure-trove or a place to get lock jaw, depends in your point of view. I was told not to go up there without the boys(probably because I see treasures), but tonight I took the 4-wheeler and drove it up. I found three things that I want, I took a picture of 2 of them (found the auger) and on top of it is a 3 point hitch boom pole! Score!!! The other I think is an aireator (not spelling correctly), takes dirt plugs out of the soil to break up compaction, it has 6 cinder blocks on it. I also know that there is a FEL and a brush hog up there I can see them when I mow the field next to the weeds (barely), the FEL doesn't match either of the tractors and we have 2 brush hogs (one for each tractor). My next hope is that the owner will let me clean them up and sell them for some money for the harrow (which I love the one suggested ) or to put toward the sprayer.

    I also found out from the barn manager that the owner wants to put a pond in the middle of one of the fields she chose to renovate. Not sure what to say to that, it is his property. She is not happy to say the least.

    Two funnies, I have a person that I am polar opposite to, her horse is in the same field as mine. She has not once said anything positive about what I am doing, always second guessing everything I do. She said to me tonight, "my horse rolled in the field and has some lime on him, I don't know that this is safe". Arghh! Haha! The second boarder asked me why I wasn't doing the entire farm, I told her if she wanted to cough up $2,000 sure, I would do her horse's field, still not the whole farm. She said " it's just grass, it shouldn't be that expensive". I take it all in as much stride as I can, I hope you all get a chuckle, too.

    Photos:

    1. Sad horse, this is where I am going to put the removable fence. My field is on the other side, his is overgrazed and weedy ( I mow the weeds).

    2. Can you spot the boom and the auger? Not sure what has the rubber flap behind them (more treasure?).

    3. 7 years of horse manure composts really good! Bad photo, but the pile is about 4-5 feet tall and was the area of 3-4 semi trailers ( roughly). This is my dent, the cut in on the right before I started the removing from the left fit the kubota, above the hood.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-image-2991130576-png   My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-image-4072996008-jpg   My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD-image-1463123557-png  
    Some folks are lucky to be raised on a farm (with tractors), I am playing catch-up.

    Pumkin~Kubota L2900 with bucket AKA FEL
    Abe~Ford250C
    Jack~John Deere 310 B Backhoe (learning to use this summer, so excited!!)
    Rusty Woods Brush Hog (that I lovingly sweep off after every mow, even if the boys laugh at me)
    BEFCO Cyclone finish mower
    AGCO New Idea 3709 Manure Spreader
    Pallet/Round Bale Fork
    Rake
    Fimco 25 gallon ATV sprayer with boom and wand
    Chain fence drag

    Wish List:
    Grapple?

  7. #7
    Gold Member Dave5264's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    365
    Location
    Near North Ontario Canada
    Tractor
    08 Montana C5264, 2011 McCormick CX100 XS

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    Nice Work, LTF, Im pretty new to all this as well (Year 2 for me on my own 248 acres, 5 horses). Ive been renovating several pastures & fields myslef (though not as thorough as you). Several of my fields have responded exceptinally well to just keeping them mowed, and stopping the weeds before they seed.

    Im experimenting this year with some overseeding as well, see how that goes
    Montana 5264 4wd Tractor with FEL

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    IL
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    B2710

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    LTF, nice post,
    You don't mention mowing length, did the ext office say anything about that? I went to a pasture seminar about 10 years ago, the guy said the single most important thing I could do for the pasture was mow it up around 9-12". That has really helped survive the droughts without browning, but it means I never mow short enough to get some of the weeds like dandelions. We also just started getting bind weed, which I think is some form of morning glory. It's awful, not sure what strategy yet to pursue. Mowing it longer also means there's a fair bit of forage in winter, the horses spend all day scratching the snow away and eating. It's suprising they don't damage the grass with their hooves, they do it very carefully.

    We use grazing muzzles, it allows them to be active on the field all day without gaining weight. Otherwise they just stand around bored eating doors and fences. We use hay bags at night, same idea, it keeps them busy for a long time so they don't get into mischief.
    Kubota B2710, John Deere X728 snowblower, Toro Zmaster ZTR, Ford 908 bush hog, New Idea manure spreader, Swisher trail mower

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    B2710

    Default Re: My Learning to Farm: Newbie Renovating Pastures in MD

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave5264 View Post
    Im experimenting this year with some overseeding as well, see how that goes
    Tried that a few years, didn't feel I got very good bang for the buck. Hired a guy to drill plant seed instead of broadcasting, that worked much better. Wasn't that much more, I guess he gets much better prices on seed, which is too expensive to feed to the birds. I did have better luck overseeding once a little snow had fallen. It kept the birds from eating it and made sure it was in the ground in the spring as soon as the right weather hit. Otherwise I was forever getting rained out, or it was too muddy to work.
    Kubota B2710, John Deere X728 snowblower, Toro Zmaster ZTR, Ford 908 bush hog, New Idea manure spreader, Swisher trail mower

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Kubota L3830, Ford Golden Jubilee, 1939 Sears Economy, Polaris Ranger 400, Honda Foreman 450 ES, 2004 Dodge Diesel 3500

    Default

    Good for you! Looks like you are having fun.

    I live in Central KY. Horse capital of the world. "Hars" or chain harrows are very popular for working the pastures. They tear up the ground enough to help with seeding new grass, etc. U should be able to find a good used one at a farm equipment consignment auction in your area.

    Also slit seeders rented from the local co-op are excellent for grass planting. The har is still good for detaching the fields and breaking up and distribution of manure.

    I like that dump trailer!

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