Convert cropland to native pasture

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by Teamjefe, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Teamjefe

    Teamjefe Refuge Member

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    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Location:
    Edna, Texas
    We have a 200 acre crop field that is a marginal producer. Normally its planted in corn or cotton but does not have a very high yield. We have kicked the idea around of restoring it to native pasture but really do not know much about this. We would also attempt to reestablish the oak motts that used to exist before it was converted to farm land.

    Has anyone ever done a project like this? Are there resources available from the govt for a project like this?

    Any advice is appreciated. We are just beginning to scratch the surface on this.
     
  2. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Contact your local NRCS office. There is assistance available, but the details vary by state. I have found local NRCS to be difficult to get much real help from, but I know others who have had much better luck.
     
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  3. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Small Town USA
    I just got done drilling 15 acres back to native grass. There are programs like EQUIP out there. Personally I don’t like them having a say on what I do on my place. Our state has a habitat now initiative. The biologist gave me the seed (you are looking at $100 an acre to plant) and dropped off the drill. A different biologist was picking the drill up today and I showed him around. He wants to give me $175 an acre to cut down trees I was already planning to cut down. I don’t know if I will do it or not.
     
  4. mister gadwall

    mister gadwall Senior Refuge Member

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    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I only know what a biologist supervised "native grass" implementation did to an area of several hundred acres that had a few coveys of quail on it before the NG was put on all tillable ground there, replacing crops and pastures. Five years after the NG went in the BW quail were literally gone. I think the NG was too high and thick and became a predation death trap for the BW. If I was in charge I would have put NG in small plots or extended strips for escape cover and maintained it with periodic burning and kept some cropland BW feed source corn , milo, or preferably Bicolor Lespediza in the rest of it. FWIW
     
  5. WHUP ! Hen

    WHUP ! Hen Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Northeast Missouri
    I have had nothing but positive results with NRCS. They bent over backwards to assist us on our WRP project 10 years ago, maybe they have changed..
     
  6. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Arkansas
    I will give them the benefit of the doubt, since they were dealing with trying to figure out the new Farm Bill at the time and the local office that I dealt with had experienced some personnel turnover. Ultimately I got tired of fooling with them, plus I'm another of those who really doesn't like having the government tell me what to do! I would still recommend to anybody that they should start there.
     
  7. Farm4wildlife

    Farm4wildlife Refuge Member

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    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Location:
    Shenandoah valley
    I think the other suggestions of contacting your local nrcs is the first place to start. Other options are your area soil and water conservation district or your state game department. In our state we have state programs that they use on top of federal funding to help with establishment costs.

    I spend most of my spring establishing natives. Most of the work I do is centered around wildlife but do several fields a year for either hay or pasture.

    Not sure where you are located but University of Tennessee is doing a good bit of research on it. Might or might not apply to where you are located.
     
  8. Teamjefe

    Teamjefe Refuge Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Location:
    Edna, Texas
    We are located in the mid-coast region of Texas.

    Thanks for all the replies. It sounds like a trip to the NRCS dept is in order. Hopefully their backlog has slowed down some after Hurricane Harvey. Apparently over 1000 windmills went down in my county and they are trying to help those ranchers out first.
     

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