Sunday, October 16, 2011

Messing with the pasture: inputs

 This is about the last time of year I can work my ground before the serious rains and mud set in, so I was out spreading lime on the pasture.  The lime I'm using is in the picture above, it's been pelleted for easier application.    This lime is pretty expensive; about $0.16/pound (for comparison purposes that'd make a 50lb bag about $8) and the recommended application was pretty thick.  So I purchased it in 1 ton totes. 
We use the big tractor (out of the picture, but you can see the chain holding the bag up that's attached to the loader) and then fill the spreader on the back of the little blue tractor, which does a pretty good job of cruising around and spreading the material.  You have to keep this stuff pretty dry; any wet and it'll cake up and prevent the spreading.  Spreading 1 ton takes about 20 minutes; driving it back and forth, using the tire tracts as your row markers.   I ended up with 4 passes to get all 6 tones of this spread. 

It sounds like a lot, but a ton over an acre is roughly what pepper looks like on an egg.   I'm sweetening the soil here to help different types of grass thrive.  This pasture will be the pastured-poultry area next year, and I'd like the grass to be as healthy as possible. 

Tomorrow I'll spread the seed.  We're applying the seed at 110lbs/acre. 


Eightway said...

We get our lime at JA Jack and Sons in Seattle. about $80ish for 2400 lbs in 50lb sacks. downside is it's powdered so there's no easy way to spread it aside from scattering by hand. It's a workout and you end up a white ghost. We spread ~4 tons/acre on our ~2 acres of orchard in the last couple years.

Bruce King said...

That's a great option. it's too expensive in pelleted form. I'd rather be a ghost.

Bruce King said...

Eightway -- thanks for the reference. Ag lime from JA jack is $69.xx a ton in bulk, and the grind is such that I can spread it with my spreader.

Saves me $250 a ton.

Eightway said...

Bruce, Can your spreader spread fine flour grind? It's a little late for me as I only have maybe one more acrew orchard to prepare, but I'm curious what type/brand will do it.

Eightway said...

We also spread 1 ton of a courser grind on the first field using a fertilizer spreader. I figure it'll break down slower over the years, providing a slower lime source. The funny thing was it's not approved for ag use so I had to promise JA Jack I wouldn't spread it on my fields! It's the same limestone from the same lime but JA Jack didn't go thru the hassle of getting approval from the Dept of Ag.

Bruce King said...

I've got some more pasture to prep, so I was going to buy a ton of the flour and a ton of the "grey" mix and see how it goes.

If its dry I think the spreader will work ok with it. If it's at all damp I'm not so sure, but I'll report either way.

I honestly don't know what brand that spreader is. As with most of my equipment, I purchased it at an auction and I wasn't even after one that day -- it was just part of a larger lot. It turns out to be pretty handy.

What I'm really wondering is whether I can use it to spread the grass seed. The darned seed is expensive, so I don't want to waste it, but I'm going to try a little and see what happens. If I can't do it any other way, a neighbor down the road has drill with a grass seed hopper but it'll take some work to get it going, and I could probably hand-seed it and then roll it in about the same amount of time.

Bruce King said...

The tractor issues delayed my seeding and spreading plans.