I have some thick-wall 316L SS hemispherical tanks that I'd like to sell, and thought they'd make perfect barrels for rocket mass heaters. I think you could cut them in half and build TWO stoves, but it's not my area of expertise.
M.R.J. Smith wrote:This looks like a course for flatlanders as I'm not seeing much slopage in the pics. When you say "exhaustive" in the daily-ish, does that include us more vertically-oriented mountain folk? Is there a syllabus for the course or something?
Edit- syllabus is under "read more" at bottom of kickstarter page- there is some mention of topography, but I'm curious about serious topography.
We'll be working with slopes all the way up to 30% or so, plenty hilly but not quite sheer granite faces of a mountain. I think you'll get all the info you're looking for.
I wish I had known unschooling was an option when I was young lad. How can you raise awareness amongst students that are enrolled in public schools that they have other options, even amidst unsupportive parents or current school administration that wishes to retain the student?
e.g. How can we reach great young minds that they can GET OUT, educate themselves stigma-free, and continue on their life's journey in academic or professional life!
Kellan Cook wrote:IHowever, he did mention that they have been told by the government not to support funding for silvopasture systems..... stating that if we were to run too many animals on that type of system many problems could arise.
1) Make sure he actually understands what "silvopasture" means. Hand him a brochure on it.
2) Ask him if you can record him making the above statement, "You know, for the record". His answer may change.
Stephen Dobek wrote:I just listened to an earlier episode of PV today, it was a presentation from your workshop last year. Was this the government service you were referring to where I can get some goodies for free? - http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/orders.html
Also, govliquidation.com is my new favorite thing. Yes I do need a 1943 M3 half track.
Yes, ARS-GRIN is it. They usually limit you to 25 selections/year, so get your requests in now!
So timely that folks are directly talking about multi-juridictional oversight when it comes to riparian restoration projects. A friend just sent me this today, Iowa DNR is actually beginning a pilot program to bypass this issue. They're hiring a full-time person to work out the protocol.
Full posting here: Stream Mitigation Program Planner
Opening Date: September 2, 2015 Closing Date: September 30, 2015
Job Type: 18-month contract, Full Time, 40 hrs/week
Benefits: Portico Staffing offers basic healthcare coverage, a 401K, and holiday pay after 1200 hours
Location: Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319
Division: Environmental Services Division – Water Quality Bureau – Watershed Improvement Section
Job Description: The person hired to fill this 18-month contract position will work with our interdepartmental planning team to develop a stream mitigation program that may include establishment of a memorandum of understanding with the Iowa Department of Transportation and/or an in-lieu fee program in accordance with the joint US Army Corps of Engineers and US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Compensatory Mitigation Rule. This effort required researching similar programs in other states, assessing the resources needed to successfully conduct such a program, evaluating market potential for the program, project capital and cash flow needs to ensure program sustainability, and assist with drafting of legal documents and financial instruments. Candidates should have a passion for rivers, knowledge of river restoration, and leadership experience.
Have you had any issues with your pigs obeying the fence? I've raised pastured hogs a couple of different places and they've always been generally disinterested in getting outside the poly wire because they got their daily ration of grain plus unlimited access to nuts and acorns from the trees that were in their paddocks as well as the forage we planted for them. Does relying on them to feed themselves also make them more prone to wandering?
Our pigs are very well trained to the fence. Every now and then there is an opportunity to slip out, and there is usually one creative personality in every group of pigs. The funny thing is...they slip out for some interesting clover but hang right near the perimeter to stay with their friends. Lift the fence up and they run back in. Social bonds are strong. Might be due to a family unit thing.
Rick Knoll wrote:Thanks Grant, I'l have to think about the pallet idea. Seems easier and cheaper than what I've done. Thanks for the links to Bone Sauce. I'm going to try it again. Funny how people post about bone sauce for deer. my dog keeps them away, and I need bone sauce for my own sheep!!
Blake Wheeler wrote:A cheap option I'm using, though I don't deal with with cattle or hogs, has been black drainage pipe, the kind you attach to gutter downspouts and such. Roughly $6 for 15 feet. Cut it to length, cut a slit down the length of it and slip it around the tree. Also found it useful in small sections to keep mulch away from the bases and grafts of trees. About the only "livestock" problem I have is the neighbors cat and dog tossing mulch everywhere and burying the tree trunks in it. Fits lose enough to allow airflow and keeps rodents away from the bark.
I've found ADS-type corrugated drainage tile to be detrimental. Black color is too prone to solar gain and cooking trees, too opaque to encourage growth, and only functionally useful to discourage girdling after the tree is of sufficient height to be above the tube...meaning it was entirely exposed when young.
White drainage pipe, if available, is marginally better in my opinion.
Evan Mainwaring wrote:I'm looking to develop an aquaculture system that will be integrated with the future silvopasture that we are planning. I've seen bits and pieces of information on EQIP cost sharing for silvopasture yet my NRCS agent is no too knowledgeable on the subject. I would like to shoot for CIG funding, any tips on writing the proposal for the aquaculture system and turning my local agent on to information regarding silvopasture. We're located in SW WI.
CIG - a Conservation Innovation Grant - is competitive and usually operated under annual "themes". In 2012/2013 we had droughts in Iowa, so the theme for 2013 was drought prevention! I wrote a CIG grant in 2013 and - holy cow- got it for "Improving Soil Health and Drought Resiliency of Grasslands with Keyline Silvopasture". So, know your audience's interests and shape your proposal to meet that interest. They always publish the focus issues in the request for proposals.
As for teaching your local agent about silvopasture, feed them information from their own employer! The USDA National Agroforestry Center in Lincoln, Nebraska is phenomenally well-run, and they publish a lot of great training publications
J Argyle wrote:
Have you ever received any grants for water? (conservation, management, etc.) Is so, have you run into issues with state government not working with the federal government?
I am looking to address riparian issues within a possible design for some land I am looking at. The State Land Commission is requiring me to pay them for an environmental study before I even begin. Even if the state green lights my project the federal government can say no to my project. In your experience would it be better to not apply for any grants that might involve the federal government, and keep it at a state level?
This is an interesting, but rare conundrum. I looked into doing a riparian "re-wilding" for the creek that runs through my farm. It was once a winding, slow, tapered-bank trout stream. Then some idiot in the early 70s decided he'd bulldoze the entire thing and "straighten it out" so it could be row-cropped right up to the bank. The banks are now heavily incised, and the root balls of trees are eroded as fast as they can establish themselves. Something must be done, and I'm working to improve all the factors I can influence on my own farm.
Here's a GIF of Versaland through the years. Look at the changing shape of the creek in the right of the aerial image.
I did some homework and learned I'm in a similar situation. The Feds and State all have a convoluted handshaking dance that must be done before a farmer can move soil on their own farm.
In short, the Army Corps of Engineers (Federal) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (State DNR) would both have to approve of stabilizing and reshaping the streambank - to put it back where it was just 30 years ago.
Is it worth navigating a bit of bureaucracy to save a resource? YES!
M Barkau wrote:Hi Grant,
* I was inspired by seeing your electric Allis G a while back (we're in the process of saving up for one), and have also been planning on doing one of your fall courses. We put our flags in the ground last year with a laser level, I want to use the contour points to eventually get to a 3D model of the ground for better keyline planning.
So my question is: can you name the software packages (desktop, phone, etc.) you use for contour mapping to prep for keyline tweaks?
(I'm experienced in many 3D modeling software packages, so go ahead and get technical with details if you like.)
* We're doing some row crops between our keyline rows, and as we scale up, we're planning to cultivate between rows with machinery (ideally a G). For the places the machinery doesn't cultivate between plants (in the row), do you have any rule of thumb for when it becomes impractical to manually weed there, based on full-time people per acre, or something similar? (The pricing context is CSA shares, if that's a helpful factor.)
Software for keyline planning:
When it comes to actual contour mapping there are several ways to start:
Prepare yourself this about to get uncomfortably nerdy...
The most important question is "Do I want to georeference my design? e.g. Do you want to be able to design your entire site on a desktop in 3D space, and then be able to go out on your site and ACCURATELY reference a point to begin install - "the swale begins here!" Picking a tree as a waypoint is notoriously inaccurate - and those of us planting out whole fields need to rely on something else - few people today have surveying skills.
A design created on a software package is only worthwhile if you can accurately transfer it to a site. This is more challenging on some sites than others. Huge gap in 2D GIS vs 3D+RTK GPS geolocation
When working with elevation and building swales or moving water in a Keyline pattern, elevation data must be accurate, and we use RTK GPS technology accurate to within 1cm from space. Your cell phone or a handheld GPS are good to about 3ft accuracy horizontally and 30 ft vertically - not good enough. RTK is a highly-accurate GPS...and repeatable.
If all you're looking for is good quality elevation map for your property (say 2 ft contours), odds are there are some publicly available ones. Here's a current map as of July 2015 of where maps already exist, are currently being mapped and where you still only have the sucky 20' contour ones (the yellow areas)
Ben Johansen wrote: Maybe stumping or heavy pruning seedlings results in better plant vigor?
I have a theory on this too...
Seasonal and repeated nibbling, pruning, trampling, or winterkill of topgrowth may encourage directed growth of root mass. Eventually, there is enough root mass to drive 5-6' of growth in a single season - which permanently puts the apical meristem above browse height.
I've seen this with apples, persimmon, walnut, and black locust.
Perhaps it's confirmation bias, but nature is a clever girl.
Luke Groce wrote:
I am enjoying keeping up with what the various folks out there are doing with these broad acre perennial polycultures. I think the next thing I'll be excited to watch is how the harvest/marketing goes for all these various crops. Can't wait to see a thousand unique Sheppard's Cider type brands: dried perma-berries, acorn baking mixes, or a well organized chestnut finished pork cooperative.
Just remember, if you're going to start a cider brand - make it from fresh juice of heirloom varieties, not "organic" concentrate from China!
Daniel Bowman wrote:WI assume, then, that the "cheap labor" approach to removing the husks is thick gloves? Pliers? Roll it off with your boot? Any thoughts on a quicker method that doesn't come in a shipping crate from Italy? Actually, that vacuum one looks pretty great, but does the vacuum hose come out so you can get between trees without having to drive the tractor over the whole harvest area? That would be important for our interplanted alley setup.
Most properly-filled chestnuts will drop free of the burr, and a little disruption will knock the rest of any grounded and worthy ones free of it. Prying open burrs is usually a time-burglar yielding unfilled nuts.
The vacuum has a "beater bar" rake ahead of it that windrows ahead of the vacuum. Not sure on detachable suction hose, I know some models have it but I don't think its common.
Mizzou found the advantage of the nut wizard is that the operator can visually discern nuts from burrs and the savings in cleaning time is had on the frontside. A vacuum with a 4-8" opening wants to suck up the lighter burrs before it ever gets to the nuts.
Grant Schultz: Fruit, Nuts, & Livestock – Creating a Permaculture Silvopasture
Learn the tools, techniques, and costs of establishing a productive silvopasture – a production system that produces yields from every layer. Beginning with bare land, you’ll understand harvest planning and sourcing trees, seed, livestock, and equipment. Also learn what can potentially be built, bartered or borrowed.
This talk was presented live at PV2 in March 2015.
Grant Schultz wrote:Biggest herd I saw last year was 21 deer, I did shoot three in five seconds once. We usually get legal depradation tags from the State of Iowa to shoot out of season, deer numbers have been down this year. We're hoping to add a few wires to perimeter fence and be 8' tall by New Years Day. Keep eating locally raised venison!
I've been thinking about deer depradation tags as well. Here in Indiana, you only need to show $500 in damage (which is roughly the fruit from two or three trees . What have your experiences been getting these tags, and do have any tips based on your experiences?
The threshold in Iowa is $1,000 but the phrasing is something to the effect of "Has caused over $1,000 of damage or will within the next 12 months"
Luke Groce wrote:Any thoughts on whether you would prefer to start a system like yours in a corn/soy mono-crop field, or a typical midwest set stock grazing cow pasture? (similar climate). I'm looking into both right now.
I'd lean towards a chemical-free cow pasture if you could - all other things being independent (topography, infrastructure, location, etc) The only advantage of going into a conventional field is that grass pressure may be low for a new tree planting - all other factors are likely a detriment: dead soil biology, compaction, higher appraised value, no tree cover or "edge" habitat, likely no fences, etc
Luke Groce wrote:
1. Did I correctly hear that you're using 30 foot spacing all over your farm between the tree crop strips? Not sure what climax tree species you're working with, but are you looking to have a closed canopy forest there in 50 years, as opposed to maintaining the system as a silvopasture? When Darren Doherty was on here, I asked him about Mark Shepard's spacing for those who want to graze and crop in between long term, and he said he liked the idea of 100 ft between rows. Just curious if you can shed some light on your choice of spacing here, and what your end goals are (which, I understand, may not be achieved in your lifetime).
The main silvopasture planting is all 30 ft spacing, yes. At a 15-yr horizon this is perfect and productive, at 60 years this may be at 60 ft or 90 ft spacing - all it takes is a chainsaw or a tree transplanter. I'm not managing for a static "climax" like an extension agent would, I'm managing for consistent disruption over millennia. The primary purpose of this planting is fruit yield, livestock are secondary. If I had a big hat and a large cattle herd I'd probably plant a monoculture of white oaks at 120ft spacing. But - I have neither. The "30 ft crazy diverse repeating polyculture" can be molded into 1,001 different things, we'll see where the years ahead take it. I'd like to maintain a silvopasture.
Luke Groce wrote:
2. You talked about grazing animals from low in the system to higher on the hills in a given season (I believe you said this was to prevent runoff from their waste from following them down the hill). Maybe this is one of those things that will have to be worked out over time with your grazing plan revisions, but I have a few questions: when exactly are you thinking of putting animals in those lowlands? Is the keyline system so effective that they won't be soggier than the ridges in April/May? Do you worry about your hilltops being dried out first, and therefore not recovering as easily from that later graze? Obviously you can't take every possible thing into consideration in a design, and you've walked around on a key lined property in each of those months. I haven't. I'm just trying to figure out how it looks on the ground, and how to order the importance of various different factors in designing my systems.
This one is tougher to answer. Bottomlands will always be wetter than uplands - even with all the Keylining in the world: water eventually always flows downhill. The "grazing rotation moving up" concept is more about meeting obscure FSMA regulations (90 days of livestock removal, etc) for harvesting fruit crops without manure contamination (harvesters touch ground, ladders, bins, etc). so...early Gravensteins low on slope - late season Golden Russets higher on the slope, the last grazing of the season following right behind. Animals as the cleanup crew!
Jeff Reiland wrote:Hi Grant,
Do you use any other methods than the tree tubes and high numbers of seedlings to protect them from deer? Anything like Holzer style Bone sauce? The commercial stuff needs reapplied so often and I don't know how 'permie' it is.
My dad's place, up river from you, is thick with deer. We harvest a fair number for meat, but don't affect the population or patterns enough to prevent browse damage.
I tried some bone sauce from Zach Weiss and it seemed to work, but it's tough to tell in a big field with lots of other deer candy.
Biggest herd I saw last year was 21 deer, I did shoot three in five seconds once. We usually get legal depradation tags from the State of Iowa to shoot out of season, deer numbers have been down this year. We're hoping to add a few wires to perimeter fence and be 8' tall by New Years Day.
Liz Spencer wrote:I'm interested in the answers to those questions too Pete. I'll add my question to it. When applying for grants, how does your Credit score factor in? Is it like getting a loan, if you have bad credit does that disqualify you?
Your FICO credit score has absolutely no bearing on any grant eligibility. In some cases for competitive big-dollar grants, you will need to show ability to perform completion of the grant. (e.g. prove you have funds available to buy materials before reimbursement)
EQIP does not check do credit checks, but it does limit your maximum adjusted gross income (AGI) to $900,000! So, you must earn less than that! LOL, America!
Pete Banks wrote:Grant,
Your NRCS rep, did they offer any input / advice for your plan, or were they pretty hands off? Finally, were there any post-project conditions of your grant (a write up or lessons learned to be shared with the local farming community)?
Thanks for your time,
My NRCS is rep is likely more engaging than most, but I still had to take initiative and go into the office. NRCS certainly had input and advice, but I had to very clearly and assertively articulate my goals (and design in many cases)
Case in point: Initially, NRCS grazing specialist designed a paddock-shift grazing system for my farm using a boatload of permanent fence in very conventional grid pattern with no weight given to access, contour, or existing trees or roads.
Why would they do that? BECAUSE I HADN'T VERY ASSERTIVELY ARTICULATED MY VISION FOR THE FARM!
NRCS initial design with arbitrary and random field borders
An aerial view of the farm showing contour tree plantings and logical access pathways
I would like to know your thoughts on buying vs. leasing land. I live in Virginia about 45 miles from Washington D.C. where the land prices are outrageous; that's the bad news. The good news is I'm 45 miles from 6 million people who have the money to purchase my products. Greg Judy and Joel Salatin are always saying to lease land, use portable infrastructure, etc. That's all well and good unless one wants to set up a silvopasture farm. That's the crux of my delimma. Unless I had a forty year lease, and those are rare, I don't see any sense in planting thousands of trees when I don't actually own the land. Do you know of anyone practicing silvopasture on leased land?
Hate to be a spoiler - but land lease rates track pretty well with a land purchase (mortgage payment). With leasing, you're never building any equity, period (but you are for SOMEONE ELSE!).
I'm currently leasing land on a 5-year lease - with a WRITTEN OPTION TO PURCHASE in place as part of the lease. I would not be doing what I do here without that option to purchase. My landlords and I - I thought- shared a passion for converting land to non-chemical use. In short, it's been incredibly difficult to manage expectations of a non-farming landlord and I wish I owned the spot outright.
Greg Judy lives in a part of Missouri where a lot of St Louis money owns the majority of his surrounding land as a twice-a-year rural hunting escape. It makes perfect sense for him to lease land here (at sweetheart rental rates of little or no money - yes free). Greg is incredibly smart. Why buy land when you don't have to? Greg also owns a few farms as long-term bases of operations.
Unfortunately few areas of the country provide this sort of economic dysfunction. FORTUNATELY, your area of Virginia may be one of them.
Fernando Spalding wrote:Grant. On that Voices video you give us a feeling at the scale in which thing are being done in Versaland.
Can you talk a little about the project management preparation for the time when you were ready to plant all those trees?
What were the main steps and how long ahead of time did you start to prepare?
Thank you and regards.
There are three main factors:
1) Site Design
2) Order of Operations & Implementation
3) Sourcing Plant Material & Livestock
If you can think about these three things, the season you begin will dictate the rest. That's the simple answer.
Daniel Bowman wrote:Hi Grant, our chestnuts are getting ready to pop off and I am thinking there has to be a better way to get to the nut than what we've been doing. Are there any affordable commercial chestnut harvesting solutions available in the US or have you come up with any appropriate technology applications to harvesting chestnuts? We only have five mature trees, currently, but have high hopes for a thousand feet of alley plantings.
Additionally, any suggestions on weevil prevention?
This is a super important question - and not one most people think of!
There is a very specific function of cost of labor vs harvesting technology. Most chestnut growers in the US - even the ones you assume are super mechanized - end up using $50 nut wizards (hand held golf ball picker-upper tools) for their harvesting with low-cost (sub-$10/hr), child, or volunteer labor. The University of Missouri went as far as doing a time-in-motion study for the different harvesting methodologies, and found that the handheld harvesters did indeed win as long as labor was cheap and available.
There are various mechanical sweepers that have been developed (mostly for golf balls) with varied levels of success.
The newest, coolest, likely best technology for nut harvesting that works is vacuum harvesters. Most of these come from Italy, FACMA being one manufacturer.
Amanda Carranza-Ballew wrote:
For someone (like me) currently working very small scale, but with the goal of working large scale someday, what is one thing I need to make sure I understand and master over the next several years while I work towards the large-scale goal?
Thank you very much!!!
I would try and document your systems and processes as best you can. Workflows, systems, in-and-outflows and imagine how that might look at a larger scale, e.g. many nodes. It's really nice to experiment on a small or modest scale first to learn what really works.
My biggest growing pain has been maintaining large-scale plantings with a small-scale equipment set. Everything gets easier on a bigger scale in terms of unit/area of energy and time input, but it does require more overall investment.
So...if you can feed chickens with compost in an integrated awesome 1/2 acre system and it takes x/hours a week to do chores....how would that work if you had 40x the system (20 acres) How would our efficiencies improve? What sort of additional equipment would you need?
Alder Burns wrote:
Over a few years and perhaps a bit of recordkeeping, the most productive and profitable sectors of your farm should become obvious. Put more focus on these, but don't abandon everything else, in case one of the money-makers fails. Greenhouse crops produced out of season and anything to do with animals proved to be the key dollar-earners for me. In both cases you're leveraging some other factor in addition to your own labor to produce a yield.....
I second that. Highest profitability is leveraging non-input synergies. e.g. you're in town dropping off produce and chickens and return with restaurant compost and all the other growers discards to feed to your chickens. Hidden waste streams, blatantly obvious synergies, etc.
Rick Knoll wrote:Hello Grant. Thanks for the Chestnuts and Apples you sent me in the spring!! They were huge and doing great!! I only bought ten of each, planted near the house.
CHESTNUT AND APPLE TREES
Awesome! We're offering full height uncropped Antonovka apple trees and P.18 apple trees this year as well.
Rick Knoll wrote:I have 12 acres I would like to plant to LOTS more trees, fruit, nut, shelterbelts, native for wildlife. What's your best ideas for grants for trees? Is the NRCS a good way to go, or are their rules/guidelines a hassle?
NRCS EQIP for Trees
Here's a screenshot of a recent EQIP contract I have for some tree plantings. Species you may plant or availability of these programs is variable by region, but this is proof this is possible. $9,753 for trees. Up to you to keep them alive. My NRCS rep is awesome, and we're all learning about these programs together.
Rick Knoll wrote:
Also, any ideas for preventing my sheep from eating them [trees]? I have a three t post, shelter tube, woven wire contraption that works, but is time and material intensive. I tried Sepp's bone sauce, didn't have good bones so kind a worked for a little while. Got good marrow bones now, so gonna try it again. Any further suggestions? The sheep are generating the only profit on farm for the moment, so they can't go.
KEEPING SHEEP FROM EATING TREES
Lots of different ways to accomplish this, so I'll toss out some low-cost ways that work in different situations.
Pallets. Screw 3 or 4 used pallets together as a barricade around tree
Cost: $0.50 in screws and some of your time
Lifetime: 3-8 years
Con: tough to access tree without climbing
mulching is important for weed control (but that is true with ANY practice)
Tree Tube Cost: $1/ea for posterboard versatubes $5-6/ea for plastic tubex type.
Lifetime: 1-2 years
Pro: cheap, fast, improves growth rate
Con: a really enterprising sheep may rip them off, only way to find out is try it
does degrade in time, aesthetics of a white decomposing piece of cardboard in a field - better than a dead tree!
mulching is important for weed control (but that is true with ANY practice)
Zach Weiss did give me some SEPP-PREPARED [<---zomg!!] bone sauce, and it appears to work, but I couldn't imagine preparing enough for my giant orchard.
Thus I would like to know about what are the steps that you took in designing your property and what were your main considerations when implementing this design?
Main considerations - follow the Scale of Permanence and design top to bottom.
Owen Hablutzel put together a great graphic that explains this concept in a visual way
Daniel Kern wrote:Hi Grant Schultz!
I have talked with the local NRCS office and they are not helpful whatsoever. They say that since agroforestry is not a "priority" that there is no funding going towards that. In this area all the money goes to pasture improvements.
Daniel, you are raising pastured livestock in an agroforestry system, REMEMBER? So go back, and remind them of that. Your EQIP application is for PASTURE IMPROVEMENTS for LIVESTOCK!
If you need to get some livestock - go do that. You must already be grazing livestock to qualify. Some $15 goats from the auction or craigslist qualify, you can always upgrade.
3. Are you chopping their feed down and bringing it regularly? Are there strategies you're working on to keep forages at hog level?
Not chopping feed all that often, just when it's in a paddock above hog-level. Was less work to let pigs self-harvest. Utilizing giant ragweed or mulberry when it is considered a weed or in a long-rested pasture is another story - a quick chop and drop does wonders.
Luke Groce wrote:We are in our second year with pastured hogs. While we do feed non GMO ration, we are blessed to rent on ground with good forages and ample persimmon, hickory, and acorn; with some mullberry, walnut, and blackberry. Some questions for you, since I'm eager to learn how to do this better with rented ground constraints, but also on my future sivopasture/keylined/multispecies/... homestead:
4. How long will it take a hog in your system to be marketable size?
Todd McDonald wrote:Looking for land right now and came across a great tract bordered by national forest land on two sides. About 20% of the property is bottom land that is in flood plain of a major creek/small river. Currently this land is planted in row crops but having lived around here for so long I know its the kind of spot that floods every few years, parts of it probably flood every spring. Anyone have any experience applying perennial polycultures in a floodplain? Is this best left to grazing and annuals?
About 30 acres of my 145 acre farm is exactly as you describe. It flooded completely twice last year, and not at all this year. It was previously row-cropped, and the erosion is very apparent. I seeded the entire floodplain to pasture/hay mix. A polyculture orchard can get inundated in water and survive...but you have to get it there first. The big concern for tree or bush crops harvested for human consumption is the pathogen loads introduced when it does flood - the entire crop is immediately off-limits for at least 120 days. Grazing livestock there may be a different story. I think floodplains are best suited to grazing - with the clear establishment of adjacent high ground and escape routes for livestock in the event of flash flood.