- Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, rangeland/pasture management
- Crop Production: agroforestry, silvopasture
- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
- Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, wildlife
I would like to convert 22 acres of spruce and white pine into silvopasture. I can find very little information on doing so in my climate or soil type. I know from talking with other grazers in the area that there is interest in doing this but this poses several problems. First of all, what can I get to grow in the mat of pine and spruce needles? Secondly, how do I incorporate the seed into the ground with tree stumps every eight feet and other woody debris on the ground? In looking at other funded SARE grants on Silvopasture, none are of much help for what I'm trying to accomplish.
The following are the grants that I was able to find information on but they don't address my situation.
I would like to determine if a spruce/white pine plantation located in my climate can be a viable option for anyone looking to expand their grazing operation. Furthermore, I would like to show that seeding can be effectively done by broadcasting on top of the ground and then allowing cows to trample the seed into the ground by feeding baled hay on top of a relatively small area at a time. I am choosing this method because the tree stumps are not going to be removed to avoid any unnecessary soil disturbance and no fertilizer will be added.
The trees will be cut and removed early in 2017. Four test plots will be made.
Plot 1 will be seeded with Meadow Fescue, Festulolium, Cyclone Red Clover, Kentaur Perennial Ryegrass, Vigilant White clover and oats as a nurse crop. Cows will be allowed on to trample the seed.
Plot 2 will be seeded the same as plot 1 but without oats for a nurse crop and cows will be allowed on to trample the seed. Cows will be rotated through a small section at a time 1-2 days after seeding and allowed on for 24 hours and will be fed hay.
Plot 3 will be seeded the same as plot 1 but cows will not be allowed on.
Plot 4 - Nothing will be seeded to this plot and cows will not be allowed on. This will be the control plot just to see what will come up on it's own through the pine/spruce needles.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Determine if a spruce/white pine plantation located in my climate (Central Wisconsin) can be a viable option for anyone looking to expand their grazing operation.
- Enable farmers to maximize income by gaining grazing acres on former MFL land and saving money on large, expensive equipment by using the seeding method of broadcasting on top of the ground and then allowing cows to trample the seed into the ground by feeding baled hay on top of a relatively small area at a time.
- Protect natural resources and wildlife by producing a tree crop and eliminating soil disturbance from tillage and fertilizers.
- Gain and share with the grazing community valuable knowledge about what species of plants will grow and how well they will do on the cutting edge of transforming a spruce/white pine plantation into a silvopasture.