Hi Owen, so excited to have the opportunity to ask you questions...
I recently acquired a parcel of land with some sloped pasture that I am interested in improving. I am debating whether or not keyline plowing is either 1) worth the effort/investment and 2) even possible, considering the slope involved. Here is the description: approximately 6 acres of open pasture on the south-facing backslope of a ridge, 20-40% convex slope. The soil is a sandy loam, getting gravelly deeper down, 12-14% clay and no impermeable layer for at least 2 meters. What effect would keyline ploughing have in this context? Are there other ways to achieve the same result?
To the second part of my question, how to do it or is it even possible? I can take the tractor around in wide circles without tipping, but running across the slope on contour seems questionable. The two options I have thought of are a large, wide tractor with dually tires or a small, two-wheel, walk-behind. The first option is likely out of my budget to rent or own, the second option might be doable, but probably will add a huge time investment, since it could only handle a single shank. I have more time than money right now, so I am mostly considering the latter option. I found a subsoiler/ripper implement for walk-behind tractors made by Aldo Biagioli.. here do you think this would be effective? It only goes 11" max depth. Any other ideas or thoughts on how to best improve this land? Ultimately I want to run a diversity of livestock there and plant some alley crop style polyculture of trees and shrubs. I would love to incorporate some keyline design elements, but I wonder if actually ploughing will be beneficial.
Maybe daikon radish, more for the organic matter than the tillage. It doesn't sound like you have a compaction or permeability problem.
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