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Fresh Cow Manure On Plot that Will Be Tilled  RSS feed

 
Josh Hawkins
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Hey everyone,

I am going to rent a 1/2 acre for vegetable growing, may be a future farm venture if things go well. I am in the process of getting it tilled.

My question is this: If there were a few cows on the plot off an on during the winter, will their fresh manure be a huge deal when mixed in with a tiller? I originally wanted to plow the plot and then rototill to help mix it up, but the man doing the tilling doesn't seem to think it matters (of course he uses round up too on his on farm, so I take advice with a grain of salt). I am worried about burning the plants up if tilled only.

Thoughts? Questions?

Thanks

Josh
 
Ted Moldovan
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Location: Western PA
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Only trouble with fresh manure is it getting on to the produce.

Now how long you need to be able to sell produce? Age of manure?

We used tea from manure for years, never hurt us. But if someone
that is not use to it or get raw manure on the food it can make them
sick.

How clean are the cattle are they caring any thing you don't want ??

 
Tyler Ludens
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The manure will be decomposed before any produce is ready to harvest, in my opinion, so no worries.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I don't have any worries about burning crops by tilling fresh cow manure into a field and then planting. We've done it that way in my community for 155 years.

When I got my first field, there was a dead spot in it where the animals had been fed. I presume due to herbicide residues on the feed. It took about 3 years to start producing normally.

Edited to echo what's mentioned later on... I'm definitely not recommending to till manure in and then harvesting greens from it immediately. Except for cooked greens only.



 
Josh Hawkins
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I won't harvest the produce until a month or so from now, I want to grow mix lettuce, Mizuna, and other fast growing crops, then of course the nightshades and such that won't be ready until July or so. So basically I won't to be able to harvest within a month if possible.


I have heard fresh cow manure burns the plants. Also since I will be growing mix lettuce and such, and if it only gets tilled (not plowed), then will I have to worry about disease or contamination? I assume roto-tilling will get 4 to 6 inches deep.

How fast does cow manure decompose once tilled?
 
John Saltveit
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The fast growing lettuces, etc. are where you have the problem. Fruit trees, artichokes, berries, etc. ok. I wouldnt' put the manure where I wanted to harvest lettuce in a month.
John S
PDX OR
 
Josh Hawkins
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I thought that would be the case with lettuces, but wanted more opinions. The cows haven't been on the plot for at least a month I believe, have to check about the exact time frame.

I've heard of farmers using manure from a barn in the spring for beans and corn, not quick greens.
Fish Emulsion is used on quick green crops, but I guess that is different.

And another question dealing with plowing:
If I need to pay someone to plow a 1/2 acre of easy access land, what are some expected ballpark figures or going rates. How much time should plowing a 1/2 acre of cow manure fertilized (if cow manure influences the level of difficulty of plowing or not) clay like soil on flat land take?

Thanks for the information everyone! First time using permies!
 
Marco Banks
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If you are tilling down 6 inches, the poo to soil ration would be less than 1 to 100. Unless those cows left a 2 inch unbroken layer of thousands of patties across the surface of the soil, you're really not talking about that much manure, in the grand scheme of things. The older patties will be filled with bugs and worms already, doing the important work of pre-digesting the nutrients that your plants will enjoy through the growing season.

I wouldn't worry about the bacteria in cow patties—it's nothing but goodness for your soil. And cow poop isn't anything close to chicken manure in terms of the potential of burning your plants. It's not very hot. In fact, you can plant seeds directly into it.

Were the cows pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and medications? The presence of those chemicals would be a bigger concern for me than the potential of too much nitrogen burning the plants.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Josh Hawkins wrote:If I need to pay someone to plow a 1/2 acre of easy access land, what are some expected ballpark figures or going rates. How much time should plowing a 1/2 acre of cow manure fertilized (if cow manure influences the level of difficulty of plowing or not) clay like soil on flat land take?


Depends...

Last time I rented a tractor to till a 1/2 acre field of lake bottom silt, it cost about $160, a day of my time, and a tank of fuel for the tractor and for the heavy duty truck needed to move it.

People tend to give me free will offerings of about $40 for tilling garden spots of about 1/25th of an acre or less. That doesn't cover depreciation on the tractor, but it's a nice gesture.

My tiller is 55 hp. And I use every bit of it when tilling up a field. I don't care anything at all about manure... I don't care about corn stalks, or small trees. Breaking up sod is tough!!! I'm reluctant to risk my equipment by tilling rocky ground. Heavy dry compact clay is trouble. Wet clay is even worse. If breaking up sod, I'd typically have to make multiple passes the first day, and for best results would come back two weeks later and do it again. I care about twine from hay bales!

How much do you want to pay your farmer? $50,000 per year? So that's $25 per hour... It might take 3 hours to do a really nice job breaking up sod in a half acre cow pasture. Add an hour to do system checks and get the tractor to the pasture, and an hour to take it home and refuel. Add an hour for gabbing with the land-steward about what needs doing. So it ends up being a 6 hour job for the farmer, which comes out to $150. Double that to pay for depreciation on the tractor, trailer, and truck, so we're sitting at around $300. (Prices may vary depending on location.)




 
Ted Moldovan
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Location: Western PA
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Josh Hawkins wrote:
And another question dealing with plowing:
If I need to pay someone to plow a 1/2 acre of easy access land, what are some expected ballpark figures or going rates. How much time should plowing a 1/2 acre of cow manure fertilized (if cow manure influences the level of difficulty of plowing or not) clay like soil on flat land take?

Thanks for the information everyone! First time using permies!


HI Josh

If the farmer is close. To mold board plow 1/2 acre, 6-8 " deep . Time is where the cost is, travel and getting hitched up plows ready. So it only going to take the farmer maybe an hour to plow, but maybe 2 hours to get ready to plow. Disking and harrowing will maybe be easier.

I would if I was plowing already ( hitched and plowing somewhere else) charge $50.00 to plow $50.00 to disk, you would have to be there to remove junk, rocks, if blackberries and small trees help unclog plows. Plus travel time and hauling. Time to plow 1/2 hour to an hour. Disking 1/2 hour. 75 horse tractor and 4 bottoms, 10 foot disk.

Larger jobs I charge per acre. $23.00 to plow. Disking first time $15.00 and second $10.00. Sometimes ground needs to dry up to finish disking. I no longer remove stones, roots, steel, blocks, wire, posts, tires and any other junk, owner (renter) has to be there. Every time I come off the tractor to move, unplug junk, Cost goes up. Cost will go down if you were planing on helping us, trade of labor for plowing, we do allot of small square bales. That cost would be gas money, plus a little for W&T (wear and tear).

Cost would go up if any apply. A wet field. Hard pan like a driveway. Huge amount of trash on or blow ground, trash would be roots and plant matter that will not plow down.

Normal is about 2.5 to 3 acres and hour to plow. There are many things that can change that. Disking is about 5 Mph and 10 ft. double so average 3 acres here. Finish disking is one pass. Harrowing I don't do too often any more.

Teddy
 
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