Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010

Planting corn today. Every which way I look, I see work that needs to be done. Such is the problem in spring. Best to take a deep breath and continue to prioritize and move ahead.

One of the projects that needs attention is our "quail habitat plot". We have designated about two acres of one of our pastures to be used as a demonstration plot for quail habitat and grazing. We killed the sod last fall and now will drill in a number of plants that are conducive to quail and their brood hatching needs. I'm told that the first year it will just look like a weed patch. That should entertain the neighbors! Anyway, the goal after establishment it is to quickly graze it for short periods of time with cows or sheep, then get off of the ground for a long period letting the forbs and grasses regrow and continue to allow some habitat for wild quail.

At the turn of the century, I'm told that Iowa was covered with coveys of quail, especially southern Iowa. Modern row crop agriculture has all but destroyed most of the habitat needed for these little birds to survive. The Conservation Reserve Program served as somewhat of a "band-aide" for a period of years but since the government decided to promote ethanol as the new fuel for America, the amount of quail habitat has gone straight downhill. And a lot of topsoil has gone with it, a sad state of affairs.

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