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Keyline plowing with additions

 
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This article shows a compost tea dispenser attached to a keyline plow. Or at least it gets most of the way there, I cannot find the other instalment(s).
http://www.permacultureusa.org/2009/09/16/keyline-plowing-with-compost-tea-application/

Then today I came across this video showing not only a keyline plow with the compost tea attachment, but with a seeder as well.
It is shown with Spanish sub-titles but even for non-speakers the concept and implementation is clear enough I think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLe_klj8oSc

Are Keyline plows available in the US? And anyone in the US actually doing this combination work?
 
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Robin Hones wrote:
Are Keyline plows available in the US? And anyone in the US actually doing this combination work?



they're available. might be called "sub-soilers", though. used to break up plow pans, among other things. I haven't personally seen anybody combine them with seeding and compost tea, but it would surprise me if nobody had tried it here.
 
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the short answer to both questions is YES!

Noah Small is a Yeomans plow distributor, operation from California... a farmer too, and all-around great guy. Happy to put you in touch with him if you're interested in a plow purchase!

I manage an L43-10 Yeomans' plow out of New Mexico... if you know someone intersted in experimenting with any configuration 'super-plow' or otherwise (we have the shankpot seeders to go with as well), we can accomodate...

Owen
 
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I have been extremely interested in pursuing keyline more and more all the time and had considered the purchase of a plow. I would, of course, want to spread the knowledge and methodology, but wasn't sure about the demand for keyline. Is keyline of high enough demand to purchase and pay on a plow by consulting and applying keyline for others?
 
tel jetson
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Brent Rogers wrote:I have been extremely interested in pursuing keyline more and more all the time and had considered the purchase of a plow. I would, of course, want to spread the knowledge and methodology, but wasn't sure about the demand for keyline. Is keyline of high enough demand to purchase and pay on a plow by consulting and applying keyline for others?



a single-shank subsoiler that would attach to a standard three-point hitch utility bar can be had for a couple to a few hundred dollars, depending on where you source it. something like that could be a reasonable way to test the waters before you dive in for the bona fide Yeomans model. give you a chance to cut your teeth without breaking the bank.

assuming the tractor involved is stout enough, additional shanks could easily be added to the same utility bar to decrease the number of passes required. the compost tea and seeding apparatus could also be jury-rigged, but they would be rather more complicated.
 
Brent Rogers
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Maybe I phrased my question wrong...Can someone make a living consulting Keyline? Is the demand high enough yet? I live in Oregon and don't hear much about it but I know there are people out there interested. I was curious about some of the experiences of people who have done Keyline for a while. I have access to a sub-soiler, but am more interested in broad-acre development. I understand that a Wallace plow is the American counterpart to the Yeomans plow and can be less expensive, but am unsure of where I might start looking to find one. I have also heard that an old chisel plow does an alright job.
 
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tel jetson
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Brent Rogers wrote:Maybe I phrased my question wrong...Can someone make a living consulting Keyline?



I understood what you meant. just thought that an exploration of the answer could be less risky if you started with less expensive kit.
 
Owen Hablutzel
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G'day Brent,

From my experience, a healthy portion of my farm/ranch consulting involves keyline... not all of it is the sub-soiling component (which of course is one integrated piece of Keyline Design)... There are several folks with keyline plow businesses in the US that I'm aware of, and more starting up... and no doubt many i'm unaware of, to date. More and more Yeomans plows are purchased in this country every month...

My sense is that, whatever current demand may be for this service, the near future demand will only continue an increase... especially given the economic logic in the face of rapidly changing climatic, social, and financial climates that agricultural producers are increasingly having to deal with. In this quickly emerging context the more farm fertility can be created for minimal amounts of iron and oil the better off these folks will be. More and more are understanding this picture.

Demand is also not a given variable, and is subject to being increased by marketing your business, awareness raising, etc... you have agency in that scenario!

And if you are really keen on creating a livelihood that involves the sub-soiling component, don't waste time time with any but the Yeomans' plow. Something else that does an "alright job" is unlikely to generate your customers enthusiasm. You want the best, which gives the best results consistently, and these implements are still very inexpensive relative to most ag equipment... so no reason to settle for lesser versions!

Hope to see you at the Keyline course in Oregon at the end of the month! We will cover in detail the whole Keyline farm/ranch planning system, including a plow demo, etc... See the promotion at the top of the page for a free ticket chance!
 
Brent Rogers
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Thanks Owen!

I guess I was really looking for affirmation there. I couldn't agree more with what you wrote. I feel that it is necessary now and will be increasingly essential to have skilled people with keyline ability to aid in restoration of our damaged planet. When I think of keyline, I think of the whole top-down system of design, but I think that the plow is a great way to drive the wedge, so to speak. I think people can be overwhelmed by all the complexities and changes that often need to be made to implement a highly effective keyline strategy. It is the part that draws me in though. I have found that keyline design stands out when speaking of Permaculture. I believe every great Permaculture system begins with a brilliant keyline design. I read the pdf that has the estimated costs...amazing! For the cost, effectiveness, and ability to see results quickly, I think keyline can't be beat! It seems like a great starting point at which to convince skeptics of Permaculture. I have read lots about other plows being able to keyline plow, but it is nice to hear that Yeomans' is truly the best and most reliable. The Yeomans name is definitely synonymous with keyline design.
 
Brent Rogers
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Another aspect of the plowing that interests me is inter-row use in vineyards. The area I live in is slowly becoming the next Napa Valley and I think it would be great to make a positive mark on what I consider to be a tragedy. Do you have any experience with keyline and Permaculture in vineyards? I all goes well you will see me at the Keyline course. I honestly can't think of the last time I was this excited! Your timing could not have been better. I have been waiting for a keyline oriented Permaculture course that also deals with holistic management and viola! I found your post on Permies.com and now I'm just waiting for registration stuff. I would be lying if I said that some of these posts weren't attached to a little hope of a free ticket. Either way I will be there and I am really looking forward to it!
 
Owen Hablutzel
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G'day Brent,

Great to hear the timing is good for you, and we will see you in Oregon! And your enthusiasm is inspiring...
You are right that the Yeomans' plow is the best known part of Keyline, and often what draws folks into an interest... some clientele are only interested in that aspect, and that's fine. Healing the water cycle and building soil fertility for relatively little expense are hard to argue with!

Haven't yet had the opportunity to specifically use the Yeomans' plow in a vineyard scenario, though have heard of increased yields back east in this situation. Brian Bankston has done some vineyard work with his Keyline plow, as well as Darren Doherty, if I'm not mistaken. This fall I may have an opportunity to design a 'keyline vineyard' from the ground up... this would be ideal, since laying out the rows on keylines facilitates the whole program in the best way possible... helps not only with water harvesting and soil building, but also drains air and ventilates better, etc... Looking forward to that job!

Noah Small, the Yeomans' plow distributor in California, is able to custom order plow widths so that they can fit between existing rows of just about any crop or width! This means if one would like to, they can keyline plow in any cropping situation...
 
Brent Rogers
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Owen,

I hope we all get to hear about your Fall vineyard experience afterwards. It sounds like the way to start a vineyard, if you must do so. The watering aspect is great and since grape plants only need a small amount of irrigation for a year or two (then the tap root takes over), then that extra water must make the fruit excellent. The air draining and ventilation is the part that I would like to hear more about. Everyone here sprays mass amounts of chemicals, to keep down powdery mildew mostly.
 
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I am a newcomer to permaculture (last 8 months) as I am transitioning to a new life/lifestyle and was fortunate enough to see Sepp Holzer in Detroit. I have followed Paul's postings and information and was interested I. The Oregon course also. I have just a small site at present and don't know if this applies at all on this scale (1.5 acre) but I am looking for land and wanting to develop a site incorporating the appropriate tools. So I will be adding information about this tool and technique for future reference. Thanks for the great input, threads etc.
 
Owen Hablutzel
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Welcome Julie! Thanks for the comments and for your enthusiasm for doing this sort of work! Sounds like you are well on your way!
Keyline Design as a farm planning process will definitely apply to your 1.5 acre scale, even if the process was originally developed on broader acreage... the Yeomans' plow could also be used on that scale, but you would need to decide if the costs for that area were worth the returns you expect, in terms of your specific goals for your place...
 
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