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What to do with planted dry rye  RSS feed

 
Andre Lemos
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Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Hello,

i've bought a 7 ha farm where the previous owner let a shepherd plant rye on half of it. The rye is completely dried now so i'm considering the following options:

1) let the rye like this through the autumn and winter and plant a mix of seeds on the other half.
2) cut and drop the rye for mulch and plant a mix of seeds on the other half.
3) let the sheeps eat what they can and plant a mix of seeds all through the farm.

The soil is completely dry and without life. There's some cork trees scattered around and the slope is under 3%. My goal is to build a permaculture comercial farm.

What do you guys recommend?
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Wish you were close to me as I am looking for some rye to make skeps

Skeps such as these

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt934_55bl4&list=PLBDA9816A44EC5A77
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upbONroWPic

David
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Is the rye seed viable? If so, you should leave it stand until you want to plant (fall or spring), then chop & drop (or disk) it lightly into the soil and overseed with N crop as well (clover, vetch, bean, or pea).

If not, I would chop and drop and overseed the whole place with the mix you want. Or roll it. If you roll it and let the sheep trample it, it is easy and effective.
 
Andre Lemos
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Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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R Scott: If i chop and drop it, does the mix seed i throw to the ground manage to get in to the soil? Under the mulch?
How do i see if the rye see is viable?

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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If it naturally completed the life cycle and dried, it probably is. Just making sure someone didn't spray-kill it as a cover crop only. Check the seed heads for actually having a full seeds.

After you chop and drop, you should still have some ground visible. You can either seed heavy to account for lower germination, or use a roller (cultipacker or crimp roller behind a tractor or a lawn roller by hand) to get the seed in contact.
 
stephen sinnott
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what specifically do you want to plant on the land, grass? and what animals do you want to raise?

steve.
 
Andre Lemos
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Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Thanks R. Scott, i'm going to do that.

Stephen, this fall i'm going to plant legumes and plants and flowers, something like a mix to make biomass, install nitrogen, decompact the soil and atract polllinators.
 
stephen sinnott
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so you are just trying to build soil? you dont need a crop?
 
Andre Lemos
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Exactly Stephen. Just building soil.
Can i throw the seeds by hand? Everyone in the area use a tractor.
 
stephen sinnott
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carbon is the soil builder not nitrogen so i would either harvest the rye grain and use it as fodder (or sell it) then i would roll the rye straw onto the ground, this will result in a very thick mulch of high carbon material, my next step would be to choose a crop, either one solely for green manure or if it was me i would grow field peas or fava beans as a storable non gmo high protein feed for chickens, you will need a seed drill setup on a tractor to cut through the rye mulch and sow the seeds, if you were then to raise batches of meat or egg chickens and feed them a mix of sprouted beans and rye in chicken tractors out on your fields you would keep most of the nitrogen from those crops and still get a nice cash crop at the end, if this field is over an acre you will need to get this work done by machine and that will cost money so you realistically need to be making enough money from the field to pay for the tractor work at the very least and you will do a huge amount for your soils by doing this.

A lot of the talk on here ignores the financial cost of permaculture projects and so for these projects to be "perma" they need to more than pay for themselves.
 
Andre Lemos
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Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Stephen, thank you for your input. Will be taking that highly in to account.
I also agree 100% with you about most of the talk ignoring the financial part of permaculture projects.

Take care
 
stephen sinnott
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grass and cattle properly managed can create about 18mm of soil a year with a nice bit of profit in beef sales too, just something to bear in mind.

http://youtu.be/W6HGKSvjk5Q heres some inspiration.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Earlier you mentioned sheep: is the land fenced? My husband's uncle was a farmer, and after a crop was done he always turned his cattle out into the field for a few days. The cattle would eat anything tasty and leave manure. He got rid of a few weeds, the land got slightly richer, and the cattle liked it as well.
 
Andre Lemos
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Stephen and Terry, is it growing a crop and letting sheeps loose on it, properly, in Spring better than growing a crop and chop it and use it as a mulch?

The land is fenced yes, Terry.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Andre Lemos wrote:Stephen and Terry, is it growing a crop and letting sheeps loose on it, properly, in Spring better than growing a crop and chop it and use it as a mulch?

The land is fenced yes, Terry.
I do not know. Good farmers have done both.
 
stephen sinnott
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livestock will chop and mulch it for you, how much land is it?
 
Andre Lemos
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7 ha Stephen. Thanks for your input.
 
stephen sinnott
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http://youtu.be/rKjX3UdVDFU watch this video about no till and grazing, this guy is doing great soil building work and making money at the same time.
 
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