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A variety of different treatments possible with the Yeomans' Plow Non-Inversion Sub-Soiler

 
Instructor
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Here are a few examples, and 'before' and 'afters,' (mostly from clients in the dry southwest US)

-Owen
Filename: Yeoman-s-Keyline-Info.hi-Q.OH2.pdf
Description: Yeomans Sub-soiler - different Treatment options
File size: 6 megabytes
 
steward
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Awesome examples.

In one of the picture you see lots of water puddles. I assume that this is very temporary, but have you had any problems with water pooling in areas where there is lots of rainfalls?
 
Owen Hablutzel
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Hi Adrien,
good question! in the picture you mention with the 'puddling', if you look closely at that photo you can see that the picture was actually taken during a downpour rain event... so the water you see being held in the landscape by the keyline pattern cultivated ripline 'grooves' is actually water that is slowly soaking into the soil to be held and stored there... this of course leads to significant positive outcomes in terms of vegetation response, soil biota response, potentially carbon sequestration, and on down the line... So that picture is a demonstration of things functioning exactly as they should in a heavy rain event post plowing... that landowner had previously had the experience over a decade or so of losing any litter or mulch layer he was able to slowly build up over several years, anytime he had a strong rain like that one... because the water would just all runoff the property and carry the organic material off of the surface with it... so all the 'puddling' water would otherwise be running off the place, except for the keyline pattern is now holding it onsite in the pic....

And even in areas with higher regular rains, this pattern cultivation can help prevent some of the puddling issues because the pattern holds water where it falls, rather than allowing it to concentrate so heavily in low spots that would tend to puddle up easily otherwise...
 
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WOW!!
 
pollinator
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How often should keylining be done? I have always thought that it was a one time thing.
 
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I'm wondering too about Jen's question on frequency of plowing? Also how large of a machine is needed to pull a Yeoman plow through heavy clay soil with embedded rocks/underlying caliche?
Just trying to figure out the costs of this technique for my 7 acres of dairy pasture.
 
Owen Hablutzel
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Hi Jen and Adam...
regarding frequency of sub-soiler use... it is possible that it would be a one time thing... depending on how effective the result was, your goals, and the effectiveness of subsequent management... the overall context is your guide... many crop farmers, for example, using tractors for a variety of passes, use the yeomans plow along with the final pass to de-compact soils compacted by all the heavy machinery...

the typical way it has been presented is that it may take 2 or 3 passes in a pasture renovation scenario, with each subsequent pass ripping a bit deeper than the last, allowing life to slowly filter activity deeper into the profile, and generate topsoil out of the underlying subsoils... this might happen over 3 years, or could be shorter too... conditions, context and goals will be decisive.

If the plow is used as one tool to help break an ineffective water cycle, achieves a good response, and is then followed up with good planned grazing management, this might be the only time using it...

Yeomans would sometimes re-rip pastures that hadn't seen any plow use for over 10 years, and see some re-improvement (he was a relentless experimenter).


as far as tractor power to pull the yeomans plow... in general 15-20 horsepower are needed for every shank in the ground. In heavier soils with caliche or tough compaction, one is likely to need a full 20 horse per shank.
Where a tractor available doesn't have the 'oomph' one can always remove a shank and rip using one less...

The general costs are a couple of gallons diesel per acre, labor to drive the tractor, and any surveying costs for the topography used in analyzing how to best accomplish the keyline pattern cultivation on your specific ground.

 
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