• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • thomas rubino
  • Bill Crim
  • Kim Goodwin
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Amit Enventres
  • Mike Jay
  • Dan Boone

distance between berms and swales  RSS feed

 
Posts: 21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey folks got a couple of questions:  1.  Can I get too wide in my spacing between berms and swales?  Looking at 104".  That distance will allow me to easily calculate grazing acres and would accomodate any equipment, but is that to wide to allow me to effectively manage my water?  Not sure of exact slope, but land is rolling hills.  Hope to establish berms and swales this fall/winter and plant native grasses late winter/early spring.  Will eventually be silvopasture with trees along the berms and swales.
2.  Tree fodder?  Anyone doing it either by 1. letting the ruminant animal harvest, or 2. harvesting and feeding to the animal, and if so, what species are you using?  I am in SW Arkansas zone 7b.
Thanks,
Andy
 
pollinator
Posts: 1607
115
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On question 2, it will happen on its own. The landscape changed when i added cows. I can now see through a tree area where before i couldnt. They'll eat leaves as hi as they can reach . They LOVE mustang grape leaves. The vines will be hanging out of their mouth like a noodle as they slowly bring it in, stem and all.

Same with my sheep except add non deciduous trees like ash juniper.

I occasionally snip branches the sheep cant reach and let it fall so they can eat the leaves. Its more an occasional snack but could be geared up to provide more of their nutrition.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2211
323
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am not really sure what you are asking on the first question, what the basic shape of the swale should be in terms of width? If so that is based on what you use for equipment to shape it. With me, I use a small bulldozer, so my width is around 8 feet, but if I shaped it using a tractor with a plow and grader blade, it would be around 6 feet. But if you mean the distance between the swales, then that depends on topography and no set distance.

As for the second question, Wayne is spot on, and I do the same thing for my sheep. They are great because they like browse, weeds and grass. But I think what you mean is using leaves for winter feed. There are some people doing just that, and one woman from Vermont is on here who had some success with it. I do not have enough information to say it works or does not. I am open-minded to it as I think it would be nice to develop some equipment to harvest leaves for winter feed as I absolutely hate the hay bale and the equipment costs associated with it, YET...I have no idea what the nutritional value of such a feed is. Me...I cannot seem to get my diet in line no matter how much my Dr nags, yet my sheep have a sheep nutritionist. I take livestock nutrition very seriously.
 
Andy Youngblood
Posts: 21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the input guys!
The measure I am looking for is the width of the alley.  Will be using a blade and/or one-way plow behind a tractor to create the berm.  (Would love to use a dozer, but this is what I have)
Actually am not looking to create and harvest tree hay, but am looking for species that can be coppiced or pollarded or just browsed by the animals.  Animals I am speaking of would be sheep and cattle.  Steve Gabriel in NY is doing work with black locust, mulberry, willow, and poplar in such a manner. 
 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
Posts: 1607
115
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's a good combo cuz sheep will eat stuff the cows won't
 
pollinator
Posts: 10116
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
280
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Andy Youngblood wrote: 2. harvesting and feeding to the animal, and if so, what species are you using?



I did this for my sheep, but it is very hard work (or it was for me a middle-aged lady).  I fed oak, hackberry, and elm.

 
gardener
Posts: 2279
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
266
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've never used this tool, but someone posted this on Permies a while back:  Swale Calculator
 
Posts: 1793
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
46
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would have swales every 50ft. (40ft-60ft)
Which would also be my spacing between my rows of silvo pasture trees. (Double rows of trees 4ft by 8ft)
I would make my swales no deeper than 2ft and about 8ft wide.


 
Posts: 141
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
24
cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:I've never used this tool, but someone posted this on Permies a while back:  Swale Calculator



That calculator is a good start. The critical components are: slope, area between swales and rainfall.

Get it wrong and there'll be too much water retention, creating all sorts of issues e.g. Swampy anaerobic conditions, land slip, etc.
 
Morning came much too soon and it brought along a friend named Margarita Hangover, and a tiny ad.
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!