My understanding is that kudzu takes over idle land. I would say that you are very fortunate to have a place that appears to be free of persistent herbicides and soil made rich by kudzu.
From what little I know, it sounds like kudzu is a plant that is hated by people that wanted something else to magically happen in some spot while they sat in their rocking chair.
I seem to remember that kudzu takes a loooooong time to get established and then it grows like crazy. So all the stuff you see is old plants.
I also have some vague memories about how kudzu is really easy to control with animals. That kudzu is even kinda hard to keep going around animals.
I would personally avoid "farming" and instead do some gardening. Maybe choose a garden spot, put a fence around it and a fence around that. The center portion I would manually clear the kudzu, chopping it or otherwise smushing it to death, and plant my garden in there. The outer fenced area I would run chickens, goats, sheep or other plant-destroying animals. New areas like this could be developed over time until the entire property was developed and cleared.
very frustrating. I wouldn't be worried about having it on a large piece of land though. you are free to control it and I believe it to be totally doable. It grows SO FAST if you leave it though. what could be better for feeding livestock?
I'm not interested in having an ongoing fight with kudzu. The stuff can grow up to several feet a day in the summer and would need high maintenance control. You can't really sell kudzu here because hardly anyone would be interested in eating what they consider an invasive weed. I'm looking to raise food for market. So many places have some kudzu that I may have to consider a site that has and just do the work up front to get those roots out of the ground.
If I compost kudzu, will it growing back from the compost?
I've often thought of offering a kudzu removal service that would feed into a livestock operation as a permaculture-ish business.
It's one of the businesses my ag consulting firm is building into some of our clients' farms.
Benjamin Burchall wrote:In my search for property to farm, it's hard finding available land here that doesn't have kudzu on it. Sure goats would be instrumental in controlling it, but that would mean releasing goats into eas you are farming - not a good idea. Is there any way to really get rid of kudzu? Can you compost kudzu or would it grow out of the compost?
Kudzu Bug (Megacopta spp.) eats Kudzu, but also eats soy. It may be in your area already:http://www.kudzubug.org/distribution_map.cfm
There's a biocontrol for Kudzu bug: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauveria_bassiana
This is some established Kudzu near where I live. In fact this is extremely overgrown, out of control kudzu along the side of a highway...near Hardy, Arkansas...think Clash of the Ozarks and you are in the right vicinity.
I use it to feed my rabbits and apparently it is great animal fodder etc etc. The ground where this is at has amazing soil. The kudzu actually puts nitrogen into the soil, keeps erosion down etc but as you can see it is all up and down everything for miles here. The kudzu pictures I took are on a very steep mountain. Originally when it was planted back in the 1930's farmers were paid to put it in. The soil was extremely used up in the South and the kudzu stopped erosion and fixed the soil with Nitrogen. I have found several books on the topic. The kudzu would be planted between rows of other crops with a 15 foot spacing then tilled in etc. Problem being it grows up trees, steep hillsides not suitable to traditional farming etc. I have a strange fascination for the plant and would love to have a piece of property away from my house that has kudzu on it mainly for harvesting etc.
You can still bale it from what I have read but you have to cut it low and bale it high. I believe this refers to the round balers that make the large round bales of whatever. I am not a farmer by trade so I am still learning some of this stuff and collecting equipment as I go. Farmers have used it to feed cows, pigs, chickens (mine don't like it), goats, rabbits etc. It is completely edible (I would recommend the small new shoots) and tastes sort of like turnip greens or spinach greens to me. I have tried slightly larger leaves and they are a bit fibrous to put it mildly.
It does not require any watering or fertilizer although fertilizer is recommended if you are trying to get it established. Also if you are hell bent on removal there was a young kid who injected helium into the ground around kudzu...basically made a nozzle and a metal tube he could drive into the ground and turned on the gas. Apparently it wiped out the kudzu where this was done. From a permaculture standpoint it is a pretty cool plant. If it is near enough and you are diligent in harvesting you can easily feed just this to rabbits. Our rabbits love kudzu, sort of like a birthday present for them when I get it.
That being said having it on your property could end up being a monoculture as it is super fast growing and extremely aggressive covering everything in its path. I have experimented in containers with it taking cuttings and rooting them. The roots are very aggressive in plantings filling up peat pods quickly. I have found it is not super easy to get it going but I have also not tried letting it go to ground so to speak in order to control it.
So that being said it is not as crazy eyed as it is made out but I am not sure I would plant it on property. If I had existing property with it I would use it for sure probably by overgrazing it with goats or other animals. You can kill it by continually cutting it but the big problems there are it likes to go up steep hillsides and trees. Not sure if you have ever tried taking a tractor on a 45 degree slope but not my idea of a fun time. In places like Georgia it was reported that green snakes would get into the kudzu and bite cattle when they were grazing on it. Not sure what a green snake is but apparently it was not good. They would use hogs to root out the roots and tear up the kudzu but of course hogs have there own brand of fun. The hogs would also eat any snakes found etc.
In any case my 2 cents on kudzu. Fun plant but is for sure a challenge to manage.