Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Green Pasture

Last week we hired a fellow who had more boy toys than my hubby to overseed our pasture. I was intrigued by the equipment, the process and the anticipated outcomes.

I had heard of seed drilling before, but was clueless as to how it is done. Luckily Mr. S. Driller was a friendly sort of fellow and took the time to describe the process and tell me how his equipment operates. His particular seed drill is fairly small; he explained that you can see drills operating in agricultural areas that are 4 or 5 times the size of his machine. His machine has three hoppers so you can plant three different types of seed, either one at a time or all three at the same time. We were planting a blend of grasses that make up a dry land prairie mixture.

The guys engaging in man talk.
Is that tractor envy I see on Hubby's face?

The first wheels of the drill, the ones with the "ripples", cut into the soil. The next discs are mounted on axles at angles. The seed drops into the wider area at the top and and as the discs rotate they deposit the seed in the cut groove as the discs come closer together at the bottom. As the drill moves along, there are wheels that roll over each groove, in effect shutting the cuts made by the first wheel and the planting wheels.  Thus, the newly planted seed does not blow away in our strong Colorado winds (today we had to put up with enjoyed average wind speeds of 25mph).

Colorado high plains soil is notoriously poor. There is very little organic matter in it and the soil is easily compacted. Seed drilling helps break up the soil and incorporates what few nutrients may be found, dried horse manure, for example. The machine acts like a core aerator introducing oxygen into the soil and breaking up suffocating mats of grass (in a Colorado pasture? Surely you jest Mr. S. Driller!)

"Who, me?" sayeth Mr. S. Driller, "speaketh an untruth?"
What do you think... can we believe this guy?

We are hoping that we will continue to have some rain to help the seed germinate and flourish.  However, Mr. S. Driller did caution that our pasture will not suddenly grow thick and lush  This year we can expect to see wimpy wispy blades of grass along the seeding paths. Over the following two years those plants will expand and thicken as long as we have adequate growing conditions and as long as the horses do not overgraze the land.

 This is one cool machine!
Don't you think?

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  1. I sure hope that works! Good Luck!

  2. I have to admit that I am mesmerized by large equipment. They are replacing the water mains near where I live and I love watching them pick up big pipes and move them or digging up the old stuff. Fascinating. Mr. S. Driller has some cool equipment. I have my fingers crossed that you get the result you are hoping for!

  3. tractor and a little scary machine. Looks like some kind of medieval torture machine.

    You're lucky if you're getting some good rain. We couldn't even think about planting a pasture, especially now with our severe drought. We'd have to spend gallons of money just to water a pasture several times a day.


  4. Here's hoping your seed grows! Those planters are pretty cool!


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