U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that a new Conservation Reserve Program, CP33, has been put into place to encourage the further development of ground-nesting bird habitat on established irrigated farmlands. This new program will focus on the corners of center-pivot irrigation systems which have historically been ineligible for CRP, as these acres were not connected with a linear strip of grassland. The purpose of this program is to convert pivot corners into grass buffers, in turn creating greater habitat for upland birds and other species. The goal of this program is to create up to 500,000 acres of habitat for dependent birds, such as quail, mourning dove, wild turkey, meadowlarks, bobolinks, and several sparrow species. The creation of this new program will help in the establishment of nesting and brood-rearing habitat, in turn leading to an approximate increase of bobwhite quail by over 1 million birds annually. Not only will this program hope to increase the bobwhite quail population but it will also benefit reptiles, amphibians, and other upland birds; some of which are under consideration for the endagered species list. Although this program is focused on increasing multiple wildlife habitats, it will also be beneficial to the field profile as well. By moving these corners into grasses it will help reduce soil erosion from wind and rain, increase soil/water quality, as well as improving the ecosystem of the farmland. The new program will include the establishment of native warm-season grasses, forbs, legumes, and wildflowers, as well as shrubs and tree species.

But what does this new program mean to landowners who enroll? This program provieds landowners the opportunity to move their costly corners into a source of income. Input costs for maintaining corners in regards to weed control, seed, fertilizer, etc will be replaced by establishing native grasses; of which 90% of the cost of grass establishment will be paid by the USDA. After establishment an annual per acre payment will be paid to the landowner, this varies from county to county. Therefore, these once uproductive, costly corners can now become profitable!

For more information on the new CP33 Program check out the FSA link below.

http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/newsReleases?mystate=tx&area=stnewsroom&subject=stnr&topic=landing&newstype=stnewsrel&type=detail&item=stnr_tx_20150126_rel_319.html

2010 Quick - Draw Studios Pictures 007_compressed

 

 

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettkerby” target=”_blank”]by Rhett K. Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]


If you are familiar with the Bobwhite quail, then you may also know Texas has faced a declining quail population, as well as many other states. This population decline correlates to the decrease in native habitat for quail. Bobwhite quail thrive on the nutritional value found when foraging on native seeds. Native plants are not only used as a source of food but also for nesting habitat, predator defense, and escapement. Native prairies are also needed to attract the insects for young chicks to feed on. Insects provide a large portion of the metabolic water required by quail of all ages.

 

In 2014, Texas lawmakers reserved $6 million for restoring native prairies and researching Bobwhite quail. However, there is one group who has already taken up the call for action to preserve the quail. Jim Willis, the founder of the Wildlife Habitat Federation (WHF), began the initiative to preserve Bobwhite quail when he began transitioning his overgrazed pastures into native grasslands in 2004. They started out with 200 acres and created what they call the Quail Corridor. This corridor spreads down to the Attawater Prairie Chicken Reserve and has helped the Bobwhite quail population restoration efforts. Jim Willis’ and the WHF’s dedication to restoring prairie lands has helped inspire others to join the same restoration and conservation initiative. Since 90% of Texas is privately owned, landowners are the key to helping restore these native prairies. Today Jim Willis and the WHF have helped to restore 40,000 acres of native prairies that were once introduced monoculture pastures. It is the goal of the WHF to help restore 200,000 acres of native prairies for Bobwhite quail habitat and population growth.

 

Bamert Seed Company has been partnering with Jim and the WHF since 2010. Our partnership and friendship with Jim and the WHF developed out of our shared goals to restore and conserve native prairies. Bamert Seed Company has helped Jim and the WHF develop planting strategies and native blend diversity. Throughout the years as WHF’s program has grown, so has our partnership. Bamert Seed Company supplies the seed for WHF’s initiative with blends that create diversity; as well as making available WHF locally harvested seed.

 

John F. Kennedy once said that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Jim Willis and the WHF have proven their leadership role in the preservation of the Bobwhite quail and their habitat.

 

For more inforamation regarding Jim Willis’ progress in restoring native prairies please visit the recent Houston Chronical article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/science-environment/article/Prairie-landowners-replant-to-make-room-for-quail-5928426.php?t=cc33b2e5e6b82edad4&cmpid=email-desktop#/0

 

For more information regarding the Wildlife Habitat Federation, please visit their website at: www.whf-texas.org

 

 

 

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettkerby” target=”_blank”]by Rhett K. Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]


 

Have you ever driven by a roadside construction area and all there is bare ground? Maybe you have driven through oil country and saw a long wide stretch of bare ground where a pipeline has just been installed. Do you ever ask yourself “Why don’t they plant something on that?” Well, the truth is most companies who are involved in land disturbing practices actually do go back and reclaim the land.

Companies are using native grass seeding to help stabilize the soil, reduce erosion, and to have a natural look. Many companies are going back to the job sites and restoring the land with native grasses. Although a lush landscape is not instantaneous, most of, if not all reclamation projects are dryland planted and depend on Mother Nature to provide all the necessary rainfall for establishment and growth.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture definitely captured a successful reclamation project. Planted is a blend of Blue Grama, Sand Dropseed, Fourwing Saltbush, Mexican Hat, and Sideoats, located near the Las Cruces, New Mexico area.
Bamert Seed Company would like to help your company on your next project!

Bokich

 

 

[avatar user=”admin” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” /]


Native species are often the most trying species to establish. However, when done correctly establishment can be very successful and timely. The instructions below will offer you the best results possible for seeding and establishing native plant species. It is important to note that ground disturbance WILLpromote weed growth. Therefore it is imperative that proper precautions and treatments be understood and implemented to prevent and control weeds. Without a plan to address weed pressure, the likelihood of a successful native plant stand is minimal.

A THREE STEP PLANTING APPROACH

  • 1st Planting – COVER CROP: Planting a cover crop such as: wheat, rye, oats, sorghum or a blend of multiple species allows for a window of opportunity to eliminate future weed pressure. This is done so by allowing the bank of weed seeds in the soil to germinate and then apply appropriate herbicide(s) to terminate the weeds. The timing of the cover crop planting is based on the cover crop species being planted. Therefore, use species suitable to your desired planting window. It is recommended that all existing vegetation prior to the planting the cover crop. The goal of the cover crop is to provide standing residue to plant the native grasses into. Terminating the cover crop is recommended in non-droughty conditions. Terminate the cover crop with glyphosate when the cover crop is beginning to set seed. Alternatively, if planting a cover crop isn’t an option fallowing the area for one growing season prior to planting the native species is an option. Disking the area during the fallow period is recommended as long as the risk of erosion is not increased in doing so. The goal during the fallow period is to attempt to germinate as many weed seeds as possible then chemically terminating the weeds. By doing so, you reduce the weed seed bank present in the soil bed. This method allows for a “sterile” seed bed to be created and therefore reduce weedy competition. Once the “sterile” seed bed is created the native species may be planted.
  • 2nd Planting – GRASS: Upon terminating the cover crop, the grass species may be planted into the standing cover crop residue. Note: glyphosate may be sprayed to terminate any weeds present at this point. Grass species may be planted on irrigated sites when the soil temperature reaches 60°F. Dryland areas can be seeded from December through August. Successful dryland stands are possible with 2 or 3 timely rains. Thus, we suggest planting prior to your area’s most consistent rainfall period with suitable tempatures for seed germination. Planting the forbs/legumes at a later date allows for broadleaf weeds to be chemically controlled in the establishing grass. Reference the Post-Grass Planting Weed Control section below for weed control recommendations.
  • 3rd Planting – FORBS/LEGUMES: After the grass is successfully established and the weed pressure is controlled, the forbs/legumes may be planted. To offer the newly planted forbs/legumes the least amount of competition the newly seeded area needs to be shredded to a height of 4-6 inches. In most cases, the seeding rate of the forbs/legumes alone will be very light. Therefore, in order to aid in regulating the flow of the forbs/legumes a no-germ filler may be used to increase the overall seeding rate. Alternatively, the forb/legume rate may be increased to obtain a manageable seeding rate and the seed sown in strips throughout the grass stand. Reference the Post-Forb/Legume Planting Weed control section below for weed control recommendations.

HOW TO SEED NATIVE PLANT SPECIES

DRILL SEEDING

  • Drill seeding into a cover crop is highly recommended. However, there are instance where a cover crop is not an option. When drill seeding in an area with no cover crop chemically terminate existing vegetation prior to planting the native species.
  • Allow time for weed to wither.
  • A drill capable of planting fescue or wheat can be used to plant Buffalograss, Switchgrass, and other slick-seed native species. Depth bands on the opening disks are required in order to maintain the required 1/4 to 1/2 inch seeding depth.
  • A native grass drill will be required for chaffy species such as: Big bluestem, Little bluestem, Blue grama, etc. Depth bands on the opening disks are required in order to maintain the required 1/4 to 1/2 inch seeding depth.
  • When planting all native all native plant species it is very important to place the seed under the soil surface to ensure adequate moisture and seed-to-soil contact for seedling germination.
  • Irrigate after planting if possible.

BROADCAST SEEDING

  • Broadcast seeding into a cover crop is highly recommended. However, there are instances where a cover crop is not feasible. When broadcast seeding in an area with no cover crop disk or till the soil 4 inches deep to loosen soil and to terminate existing weeds.
  • Spread seed with a fertilizer spreader, commercial air fertilizer truck, or by hand.
  • Disk, harrow, or aerate 1 to 2 inches deep at an appropriate speed to cover the seed with soil  1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
  • Pack the soil with a cultipacker or roller to ensure the seed is in good contact with the soil. Seed-to-soil contact is essential for germination and successful stand establishment.
  • Irrigate after planting if possible.

NOTE: Hydromulching may be used on sloped sites.

Visit our online How to Guide page for demonstration videos: How to Guide

HOW TO CONTROL WEEDS IN NATIVE PLANT STANDS

  • Pre-Planting Weed Control: Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide; therefore it will terminate the actively growing plants. Glyphosate can be used to control existing weeds before planting the grass and may eliminate the need for disking or tilling prior to planting. Glyphosate can also be used to terminate the cover crop.
  • Post-Grass Planting Weed Control: After the grass species have reached 4″ tall or 6 leaves (not including forbs/legumes) it presents an excellent window of broadleaf weed control. Chemicals such as: 2,4-D, Dicamba, or Banvel have the ability to control unwanted broadleaf weed species while your grass is establishing. Once the grass stand is established a pre-emergent herbicide such as trifuralin may be applied to prevent future broadleaf weed pressure. Follow label recommendations for chemical applications rates and methods.
  • Post-Forb/Legume Weed Control: After the forbs and/or legumes have been seeded there is no ability to chemically control weeds at this point without damaging the forbs and/or legumes. Your weed control abilities now shift to mechanical methods of weed control. For example: shredding, mowing, hoeing, and/or individual plant removal are the required methods for controlling weeds. Once the plants are established a pre-emergent herbicide such as trifuralin may be applied to prevent future broadleaf weed pressure. Follow label recommendations for chemical applications rates and methods.

HOW TO IRRIGATE NATIVE PLANT STANDS

After planting, begin irrigation by filling the soil profile to field capacity and depending on weather conditions, water once or twice a day to maintain adequate moisture for a three week period. After the seedlings have germinated and an acceptable seedling density has been achieved, water once or twice a week until the stand is fully established. At 65°F, most native species will germinate in 10-14 days.

HOW TO FERTILIZE NATIVE PLANT STANDS

Due to a potential increase in weed pressure we do notrecommend applying fertilizer at seeding. If a soil test has been conducted, apply post-establishment fertilizer at the recommended rate. If tests have not been conducted apply 2 pounds of nitrogen and 1 pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet at six to eight weeks of age.

 

PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO SEEDING AND ESTABLISHING NATIVE SPECIES

 

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]by Rhett Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]


PLS vs Bulk

 

Have you ever called or visited a website of a seed dealer and kept seeing these three little letters, PLS? Have you ever wondered what’s so important about PLS? Well let me explain.

Pure live seed (PLS) % is important when defining an amount of an individual species to plant in order to achieve a desired or adequate stand. PLS % is a way of expressing the quality of the seed. PLS % is the amount of “live or viable” seed that you are considering. The PLS % of a seed species is determined by multiplying the purity by the germination percentage of a specific seed lot. When purchasing on a PLS pound basis it helps you to better compare lots of a specific species to another because you are guaranteed the same amount of viable seed even though different lots may be used. This is in comparison to a bulk pound. A bulk pound of seed is one that contains viable seed, inert matter, other crop seed, and weed seed. When purchasing on a bulk pound basis you are no longer guaranteed the same amount of viable seed. Purchasing on a PLS pound basis allows you to compare apples to apples and ensures the viability of your seed purchased.

It is important that when you are getting ready to purchase seed you understand not only the bulk contents but also the PLS % of the seed. This is to help the consumer know which portion of the seed is viable and will germinate and how much is inert material and/or “dead” seed. In layman’s terms when you purchase seed on a PLS pound basis you are buying the viable seed; but when you purchase on a bulk pound basis you are buying viable seed, inert material, and/or potentially dead seed. Let’s take a look at an example of a PLS versus Bulk purchase.

 

Example:

You want to purchase 30 pounds of Blue Grama, but you are unsure if you should purchase on a bulk pound or a PLS pound. You know that the price of Blue Grama on a bulk pound costs $23 per pound; and Blue Grama on a PLS pound costs $27 per pound. You know that the specific lot has a PLS of 59%.

Bulk Cost:

To find the cost of the seed on a bulk pound you multiple the cost by pounds, in this instance:

$23 x 30 bulk pounds = $690 total cost

You know that you will pay $690 of 30 bulk pounds of viable, inert material, and dead seed.

Next you want to know how many PLS pounds you would be receiving. Therefore you multiply the total bulk pounds by the PLS percent.

30 bulk pounds x 0.59 lot PLS = 17.7 total PLS pounds in your order.

PLS Cost:

To find the cost of the seed on a PLS pound basis you multiple the cost by PLS pounds, in this instance:

$27 x 30 PLS pounds = $810 total cost

You know that you will pay $810 of 30 pounds of viable seed.

Next you want to know how many bulk pounds you would be receiving. Therefore you divide the total PLS pounds by the PLS percent.

30 PLS pounds / 0.59 PLS% = 51 Bulk pounds

So even though the cost of buying on a PLS may seem higher you are receiving 30 PLS pounds of seed that are guaranteed to be viable and germinate. While if you purchase on a bulk pound you are only receiving 17.7 PLS pounds of seed that would be viable and germinate. Purchasing seed on a PLS pound basis is especially important when comparing lots with differing PLS%.

 

So when it comes to purchasing on a PLS versus a Bulk pound, don’t be scared or hesitant of the cost because when you buy on a PLS basis you are guaranteed viable seed.

 

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettkerby” target=”_blank”]by Rhett K. Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]




As everyone is preparing to plant their native grass seed, whether it be for CRP, Wildlife Enchancement, or for your yard the big question of HOW arises. But you need not worry Brett and Rhett have put together a video on the How To for broadcasting native grass seed. Follow the link below for the video.

http://youtu.be/pH5T7p7jpOw

[avatar user=”admin” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]by Gretchen Adams, M.S.[/avatar]



The key to great stands of native seeds is to buy high quality natives and to plant them correctly.  Whether you are planting for roadside vegetation, prairie restoration, conservation, erosion control, wildlife habitat or wildlife food plots, the methods you use to plant your native seed will determine the success rate of your native grass stand.

PLANTING WITH A DRILL IS ALWAYS BEST

1) Disk or rototill soil 4 inches deep to loosen soil and kill all existing weeds.

2) Allow time for weeds to die and then pack soil with a harrow or cultipacker.

3) Native seeds come in all shapes and sizes and depending on which ones you use determines what type of planter is necessary.

4) The seed should be placed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep because it is very important to place the seed under the surface to maintain good moisture during germination.

Variations to the instructions above need to evaluated and discussed, as different obstacles exist in every situation.

For more “How To” guides visit our website at www.bamertseed.com

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]by Rhett Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]