View Full Version : Need Confidence w/SG plans.

02-16-2010, 10:19 AM
I asked for a little boost of confidence with my plan on my chest spreader thread and didn't get any:o Don't know if I should be concerned???:)

I have asked a ton of Switch Grass questions in the past year and I believe I have most of the info I need to go ahead with the planting when my seed arrives, and maintain it.

Our plan is to broadcast the seed into corn stubble with the chest spreader, when the snow gets down around an inch deep or less.

I have been assured that the seed will find it's way through the cobs, husks, and other debris left behind by the combine and give me a nice thick stand. The area that we are going to plant this year is going to be all of our screens that will go around the entire perimeter of the property and some to break up our larger food plots. Totaling about 5 acres, next year another 20 for bedding.

The only concern from our group is that when we are planting these screens at 8' wide, are the seeds going to find there way down to the soil, germinate under the debris and give us a nice thick stand at 8' wide??? Looks like and awful lot of debris.

Just need to verify that we do not have to change gears on our plans before we get started. Need a little boost of confidence guys/girls.:)

Thanks in advance for a new plan, or being able to sleep good at night!

02-16-2010, 12:04 PM
No expert but I have read that if you get 2 seeds to germinate and grow per square foot you have a good stand. When you see all the seed laying on the snow you will sleep at night. No way there is enough corn stubble left over to block that if you have good seed.

02-16-2010, 12:21 PM
I frostseeded switchgrass into a 5 acre corn stalk patch last winter. The corn was triple stack and had a ton of residue. I used a hand seeder set at 6#/acre. I had an excellent stand this year. Got about 4 ft tall and relatively thick. Only problem I ran into was foxtail pressure, even after 3# of atrazine. Hope this helps.

02-16-2010, 01:24 PM
My concern would be the eight foot width for screens. It may be enough, but I wanted to make sure so I am going with a 15 footer. Anyone have any screens that are less than 10feet wide? Is it sufficient?

02-16-2010, 02:22 PM
Good point. Thanks for bringing that up. I would like to make them wider but my concern is that if I make them larger than 8' then deer would bed in them???? This would totally defeat my purpose.

We are starting this year with just the screens , so what we figure that this is the minimum for a screen to cover our entrances and exits from our stands. I have seen some pictures of 8' screens and they SEEM thick enough, but these were just pictures, haven't seen it for myself.

Next year we will be planting our travel corridors connecting woodlots and cover, and making larger SG bedding areas. The corridors will be more like 15-20' wide because if deer choose to bed in them, it doesn't matter, just a bonus. We will do these in bean stubble. The beans will have been drilled into corn stubble, and sprayed for 2 years with the crops. This will give us easier seeding because I won't have to trip over all the corn stubble rows when I plant across the grain and fall on my butt:o

Any thoughts on the width?

02-16-2010, 03:15 PM
I've always heard 30 yards makes an excellent screen.

02-16-2010, 03:38 PM

I can't imagine a "screen" being 90' wide and deer not bedding down in it. IMO
I hate to make a nice bedroom and then have to walk right by it every time I want to hunt, defeats the purpose of a "screen" for human travel.

I do believe it would conceal you well though. But I am trying to conceal myself from bedded deer. I am trying to find that fine line with this screen, if it is too narrow, nothing to say that I can't add a few feet a couple years down the road. If they bed in it, I have to kill the stuff I planted, because it is being counter productive throwing away $. You get my point I hope. I hope 8' will do it, but I don't know, never seen it first hand, only in pictures.

We had a 10' wide screen of Sorghum last year and it was a very good screen, you could have done jumping jacks with deer 10 feet on the other side with no problem! If I can get 6' tall out of my CIR it should be enough, I'm thinking.

Just my thoughts though :) and hoping to get more from you guys/girls.

02-16-2010, 03:53 PM
Gottcha big eight...looking at sandbar's thread: http://forums.qdma.com/showthread.php?t=30736 and crazy ed's pics, although of a different variety of SG, I'm not that impressed with the standability of SG. If it were me I'd consider putting SG in but planting Pines or spruce on the edges/something more permanent. how long of a screen do you need?

02-16-2010, 04:13 PM

There lies the problem, We are Screening the perimeter of the whole property, which is almost a perfect square. It is about 500 yards on each edge, if you did 30 yards wide for a screen, each edge would have over 3 acres L X W.

So with 30 yard wide screens you would have 12 acres of SG in just Screens, and not expect deer to bed in them??? No Way!

We are still trying to row crop farm the middle for the next few years, if we did pine, spruce etc. It would shade out the edge of the plantings, and make the edges more acidic. Right now the Farmer has no problem letting us plant the edges of the field, because it is next to woods and fence rows with trees in them, the crops don't grow there good anyway. They just keep farming it to beat the brush back.

That is why we are trying to do the absolute minimum for a good screen. Hope this clears up our situation.

Is 8 ft that minimum that we are looking for?

We are doing a mix of:
6# Cave In Rock
2# Sunburst
2# BlackWell Per acre.

02-16-2010, 04:34 PM
I can't speak from experience because these pictures are not from my farm, but they show a narrow strip of SG. Looks like it would be wide enough for a screen, but it may take a couple years.



Sorry, I don't know how to make the pictures bigger.

02-16-2010, 04:52 PM
Sounds good, maybe stick with CIR only...what's the purpose of the mix?

Sunburst just didn't impress me much with crazy ed's photos in the winter, SG went flat:


Would just letting the brush grow up for a year or two work bigeight? Then, you wouldn't have to put any money into a property you don't own if you're saying you're leasing it.

02-16-2010, 05:01 PM
That sunburst is not a mature stand either! It does make a difference. If you want pictures of first year CIR laying on the ground there are some in that same thread scrim linked. Just make sure you understand that whatever you plant it takes time to mature!!! A good estimate is 3 years, Especially with the corn debris.

I think your width of your screen at 8-15' will be fine. 30 yards is too much the deer will bed in it for sure. And I also think mixing varieties is a good idea. Diversity is not a bad thing by any means.

02-16-2010, 05:17 PM
I agree 30 yards is overkill and may invite deer to use it as a bedding area. I am going to use CIR and plant it thick, so no worries about it standing during season. I guess if eight feet isn't enough you could always add more if you allow for the room. I do know one "expert" that uses these screens that average 20' wide.:D

Scrimshaw, brush would have to be extremely thick to make a screen. There are very few places i've seen brush thick enough to screen a human moving. And, you would need a lot more than 15' of it!

02-16-2010, 05:22 PM
We went with that mix because CIR is a strong, tall SG and makes dense stands in THREE YEARS, not two. The CIR has bigger seed heads that collect snow and tends to make them weep with lots of heavy sticky snow, the Sunburst and Blackwell are a little shorter and stiffer and do not have the big seed heads to catch snow. Giving the CIR support when the snows come. Those bigger seed heads helps the CIR to self seed and become very dense compared to other varieties. SB and Blackwell will do about the same exact thing in this mix, I just went with more varieties so that If either the SB or BW didn't do well in our soils at least one of them would survive.

The Crazy Ed Sunburst plantings were very immature stands, can't really take anything from those pictures, but I do agree 100% with Crazy Eds dad, plant according to your latitude. I will be planting a 1 acre patch of Sunburst to check it out because I have read and heard that SB will stand up better than CIR and is better suited for my latitude. This will be a trial plot that may give us good information for future plantings. Side by side plantings that are MATURE, Sunburst is said to hold up better than CIR with studies showing that at harvest for bio fuel in the spring that CIR has a 33% break down of plant material and Sunburst only 22% which was the least amount of breakdown of any variety.

Sunburst Is very similar to CIR and is only 3$ a pound from Paul Kaste and Sons seeds in MN.


The brush that tends to grow near our field edges is very low growing briars, prickly ash, fescue and Foxtail that would not give us much more than 3 ft of cover even if it got really thick. Not to mention what that stuff would look like in December. I do like the idea of using what mother nature will give you for free. I just need to order better species from her.:)

02-16-2010, 08:00 PM
Sounds like you have it figured out! Let us know how it does and take pictures. Guess it's different where you live. Here in NC, if you let the edge grow for 3-5 years you get a thick mess of 10 foot tall pine, sweetgum and poplar that's thick enough you can't see through. But, it won't provide as quick of growth as SG will so I'm sure you're making the right call.

02-16-2010, 08:38 PM
Scrimsaw, You are exactly right, our area does not have a single Sweetgum, No poplars on that farm and only 1 evergreen that is growing by the road and it's a Red Cedar.

I really hope 8' is enough, that would maximize our Farmers land and cut down on our seed and maintenance of our SG. I don't have a clue, :o I have never planted SG before, all I am trying to do is as much research that I can to get a clue:) Only time will tell I guess?

02-17-2010, 11:37 AM
Only time will tell I guess?

Please keep us posted as you have a unique opportunity to try a couple different things with the mix of switch varieties, pure stands of SB and your screening areas.

As Ed points out these things take years to come to fruition but we're hoping you give us updates before then! ;) :D

Sure wish the snow would melt around here...I still have some switchgrass to frost seed and we have way too much snow for that! :rolleyes:

02-17-2010, 01:09 PM
I planted miles of 6ft. wide screens last year on 3 different farms. I went 6ft. since the drill I rented from the Branch County FSA planted that wide. You will no doubt have thick enough screens at 8ft. wide.(I have seen Tony L. screens at this width and you can't see through them) I also planted 6lbs CIR and 2lbs. Blackwell for the same reason as you pointed out. Can't really comment on the Sunburst variety.
Based on your posts, I think your farm is very close to mine(by the Sportsman Bar) but really can't offer to show you my screens as they only got 2-4 ft. tall last year. Would like to meet you sometime though, although very un-organized, there are some good things going on in that area with QDM.

02-17-2010, 01:40 PM
"the sportsman bar", we need one of those!

02-17-2010, 01:52 PM

Thanks for the reply and the boost that my screens will do the trick. That is very re-assuring.

My brother in law is moving closer to our farms this summer, so we will be more locally involved, trying harder to start co-ops and more involved in local QDM events in that area. Right now I live 2 hours away and they live 45 minutes away. All the grand parents live right by the farms so we have good lodging locally:p

I have seen the pictures of TL screens and that is why I don't want to go any wider than that. Everything that is wider than needed just may lead to deer bedding in it and I sure don't want that. We just want the screen and want to maximize the use of every foot of the property. Don't want to throw money into added SG seed, and maintainance if narrower will work just the same.

We are in a very big undertaking in property development and are only in the first 2 years of it. excited for the future. Doesn't look like much, but all things need time to grow and/or get thicker. We started with a blank slate field and a Mature forest, We will get there someday, maybe in a couple of years we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure going better having good information from the forum, not having to backtrack as much doing things wrong:) Saving $ in the process and hopefully end up with a better finish product.

Thanks for the reply

02-17-2010, 01:54 PM
"the sportsman bar", we need one of those!

Home of the infamous Walleye Sandwich. If anybody ever attends Tony Lapratts bootcamp, you will no doubt visit this place for lunch since it is about a mile from his bootcamp location. I highly suggest trying this sandwich out if given the chance, even if you are just passing through.

02-17-2010, 02:37 PM
Hopefully I can check those BOTH out someday.....the boot camp and the Walleye Sandwich:)

02-17-2010, 03:26 PM
I too highly recommend both!

JBGulf Shores
02-18-2010, 10:13 AM
Hey I had one of those too!
Walleye Sandwich...Good Stuff!

02-18-2010, 09:15 PM
I'm wanting to frost seed also in corn stuble. Should I disk as early as possible (march) lightly to break some openings to allow the seed to find some bare dirt? Sure seems like alot of debre to block broadcasted seeds. I share in Big Eights's inital apprehension. Everything I've seen so far had to do with broacasting on soy stuble. I want he thickest cover as possible -most seem to agree, Cave in Rock is it.

02-18-2010, 11:17 PM
I would not disk. That would bring new weed seeds to the surface to compete with your SG. A good number of the seeds at the surface already sprouted and were sprayed with the Round up Ready corn. So now your SG seed should have a good chance to out compete them, by JUST frost seeding and not disturbing the soil again. All IMO:)

02-19-2010, 09:24 AM
I would not disk. That would bring new weed seeds to the surface to compete with your SG. A good number of the seeds at the surface already sprouted and were sprayed with the Round up Ready corn. So now your SG seed should have a good chance to out compete them, by JUST frost seeding and not disturbing the soil again. All IMO:)

I agree...switch seed is very tiny and late winter rains and snows will easily wash seed down between stalks and debris and help it make soil contact. It would be nearly impossible to NOT have seed reach the soils surface.

One can shred the stalks to allow it to break down faster but snow cover sometimes makes doing that impossible.

Better to not disturb the soil surface unless one has an extremely rough surface such as plowed and never worked (rare...but I have seen that type of predicament) ;)

02-19-2010, 02:05 PM
I'm wanting to frost seed also in corn stuble. Should I disk as early as possible (march) lightly to break some openings to allow the seed to find some bare dirt? Sure seems like alot of debre to block broadcasted seeds. I share in Big Eights's inital apprehension. Everything I've seen so far had to do with broacasting on soy stuble. I want he thickest cover as possible -most seem to agree, Cave in Rock is it.

I am tackling the same CIR SG into Corn Stubble project next month and we are not discing for the same reasons BigEight suggests. We disked last year and weed competition was very heavy. I've read that 50-60% ground exposure should be sufficient for frost seeding. Even so, I'm going to broadcast at over 8 lbs and acre to be safe.

02-20-2010, 06:03 PM
Ok, I wont disk. I promise! I will broadcast the SG as soon as the snow start is to melt (we have a foot or more). I want to follow later this spring by chopping the old corn stalks up? will this help or not? -hopefully this wont bring the weeds out and may provide some cover for the broadcasted seeds? Thanks for the advise fellas!
I have about 5 acres. Soil and Water district has a 15' plains nt drill -but I think that it is way to heavy for my little 37 Hp tractor. I think pheasants forever will drill it for me but they typically cant get to it early -last time I had them plant for me they couldnt get to me till mid May.

02-20-2010, 08:36 PM
If it were me......and it is, because we are in the same exact boat:) I would just broadcast with a chest spreader, on top of the corn stubble the way it is after last falls harvest. Apparently we will get enough seed/soil contact the way it is right now. I have thought about it a 100 different ways and I think this is the way I read it, and everyone else does. Just broadcast it and quit over thinking it! (I already wasted my time over thinking it) If We/You chop up the corn stalks that are vertical right now and add them to the debris on the ground we/you would just be adding more trouble for seed to soil contact for our SG seeds or suffocating them.

Let us know how it goes, I am going to hopefully sow my seed next weekend, weather pending! GOOD LUCK!