looking for help extreme northwest ohio

hi i am new here and looking for advice. i live in extreme northwest ohio and am in my 50's. my goal is to get my 3 angus breeders 1 bull and 6 calves part of my farm to be as self sufficient and low maint. as possible for my retirement.

i am currently putting in high tension perimeter fence utilizing honey locust post cut from my woods. i have 3 -1.5 acre front open pastures with permanent water and am working on fencing and thinning an additional 10 + acres of woods. the wooded section is a long narrow strip about 3/4 of a mile long with a creek running the length of it thru the middle. my trees are kind of grouped in sections by type. The first 4or 5 acres is primarily black walnut followed by honey locus then maple. i currently have thinned about 4 or 5 acres and would like to plant grasses in it in the spring. i am currently leaning towards a mixture of neutral fescue and white clover but not sure as to when or how to plant. my local dept. of ag doesn't recognize silvopastures and wont even talk to me.

Is their anyone here in my same geographical area with experience in this field that can offer help or suggestions. my end goal is to not have to buy hay and become truly organic with a herd that has 3 breeders,1 bull and depending on the time of year 3 or 6 calves due to the 18 months it takes to grass feed a calf out.

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Comment by Brett Chedzoy on January 3, 2019 at 3:27pm

Jeff,

I'm not sure who the "local dept of ag" is in OH, but if you haven't done so already I suggest trying someone at Ohio State Extension to see what help you can find.  David Apsley (https://agnr.osu.edu/people/david-apsley) is their extension forester, but he may be able to put you in touch with a local ag extension expert.

You'll probably need to broadcast ("frost") seed the site if trees and other debris are in the way.  Good seed-soil contact is a must, so you may need to have your cattle "hoof in" the seed by grazing or feeding hay over the site.  

Comment by jeff eby on January 20, 2019 at 2:53pm

brett 

i have thinned the trees to a park like canopy and cut the stumps off flush on about 4 acres. i have cleaned up all the sticks and wood and burned the leaves. the ground has been drug to  loosen the soil for a seed bed and am planning on broadcast seeding and then coltipacking the seed after broadcasting. i also have got soil sample containers and insructions on how and where to take them from a local ag company so i can add what ever nutriants it need or change the ph. i have e-mailed a seed company for info on when and what is needed to seed a mixture of neutral fescue, orchard grass, and clover. but i would appriciate some advice on my seed mixture as to what percent of each seed type. i have a unit on my backhoe that is called a us forestry service model ratchet rake that has removed most all shallow roots and left a raked like soil surface.

Comment by jeff eby on January 20, 2019 at 3:05pm

i am planning on haveing an additional 4-5 acres ready by next fall to seed. and then clearing the fence rows on the remaining 3 sides so i can get morning and evening sun as i have tillable land on all four sides. with a small creek running thru the middle. my paddocks will all have year round water availible in each paddock. at the end of this project i hop to have 7  padocks about 1.5 acres each open field type and 4 or 5 silvopasture padocks of about 2 acres each. and then i will hopefully have figured out a rotational grazeing plan for about 1 bull,4 cows and 4 to 8 calves depending on time of year for butchering and sales.

Comment by Brett Chedzoy on January 20, 2019 at 3:27pm

Jeff,

This link will take you to a study done at the Center for Agroforestry on relative shade tolerance of some common forage species: https://www.aftaweb.org/latest-newsletter/temporate-agroforester/10...  

Many of the cool-season grasses like reed canary, fescue, bluegrass and orchardgrass have moderate shade tolerance, including some of the less-common legumes like kura clover.  

I've seen another study that showed significant variation in shade tolerance between commercial varieties of some of the species.  So if it were me buying the seed, I would look for mixes that were not only diverse in species and predominantly made up of those listed above - but mixes that also had multiple varieties of forage species.  

It sounds like you're doing good site prep and it's wise to have the soil tested beforehand to identify any limiting factors for good establishment, like pH, K or P.  

In this case, it's probably worth the time and expense to seed the site to help suppress the woody invasives and weeds that will also want to grow on the fresh soil.  But chances are that much of what you seed with will eventually disappear as only the best-suited species persist.  

Comment by jeff eby on January 20, 2019 at 6:24pm

brett

thank you for your response i will check this link out as i am at the point in this project i have to make a decision on what to try so i can get it ordered .

Comment by jeff eby on January 20, 2019 at 8:56pm

brett

thank you for your response i will check this link out as i am at the point in this project i have to make a decision on what to try so i can get it ordered .

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