Josh Brueggen

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since Mar 03, 2015
I grew up on a small dirt farm in NE Missouri with 8 brothers and sisters. Grew up with well water, wood heat, livestock, and a large garden. We were poor, but we made a good go of it, and really didn't suffer from it (not sure we were aware of it) I am interested in alternative energy to be applied on a small farm scale to allow a small farmer to make a good living on a small farm and compete with the big agri-businesses so that my children can some day go back to the land I grew up loving.
Quad CIties Iowa/Illinois
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Recent posts by Josh Brueggen

I'm researching using a sudan grass mix cover crop to help build soil.  From what I have read it can produce 5+ tons of hay per acre with 2-3 cuttings after planting in the mid-late June timeframe.  Planting at a heavy rate will crowd out most weeds, and natural compounds from the roots will further inhibit weed growth.  Has anyone done this/tried this.  Supposedly the root mass will also penetrate 16+" breaking up subsoil and adding organic matter to the soil at the same time.  This seems to good to be true!  Any experiences or suggestions on similar methods are appreciated.

I am thinking to burn the field in spring, and cut hay around June 1 (next year) then seed a mix of sudan grass and summer pea or soybean to help fix nitrogen.  I would cut hay off the sudan grass 1-2X depending on growth and rainfall then leave it long for winter grazing.
11 months ago

Jordan Holland wrote:I read in the book "Iverch und Unter" the best time to mow perennial weeds is in July. The first half of the season, the roots feed the greens. Then when the days start shortening, the greens feed the roots. Mowing in July stresses the plant as much as possible by depleting it's roots' energy reserves and not allowing them to replenish properly. Makes sense to me, though I suspect some weeds may be too hearty to succumb in one application.



I am of the same understanding though it varies by variety.  canadian thistle, or which I have plenty in one area is mid-late June I have read.
11 months ago

Christopher Shepherd wrote:If it has alfalfa in it already the new seed will not germinate well.  We usually will grow corn, then sorghum and then back to alfalfa.  I would check the ph and adjust if needed.  Alfalfa seems to like a higher ph.  After mowing hay 2 weeks ago the dry ground only let the alfalfa come back with its deep roots.  We do get some winters here that it will pull the alfalfa out of the ground with freeze and thaw and kill it, so we leave it long in the fall.



location is SE missouri.  I drilled vernal alfalfa this spring after burning.  I was hoping it would establish before the broad leaves got ahead of it, but no luck.  I think I will try justmowins it a few tims this summer and see what happens.  At worst it should knock back the weeds and favor the grass getting hold.  I'm thinking to lay t down with a sickle bar and let it be.  the alfalfa is there and still short, hopefully the weeds will dry out before they smother the alfalfa....thoughts?
11 months ago

Bernard Welm wrote:I would suggest trying to talk to some neighbors. It sounds like you have most of the ability to cut and bail the hay your self. It still may be more profitable to talk with a neighbor and ask if you can borrow/rent their equipment rather then building something for your self. Especially if you just need to borrow a mower rather then a tractor and mower. That would very likely be the cheaper way to get the hay done.

I do not have any equipment but I am able to get neighbors to cut and bail my hay for about $1 per small bale. That is a LOT of small bales before reaching $2500.



Right now I have a neighbor who rolls it up on shares for $18 per round, but the local hay price is about $30-35 for rounds, so it is probably not even worth doing other than it helps knock the weeds back to cut it 1-2X per year.

long term the plan is to run cattle, and maybe cut enough hay off of a neighbor on shares for any hay needs I have.  I want to be bringing fertility onto the land, not shipping it off (one bale at a time) at below replacement costs.

11 months ago
grazing is the long term plan, but for now I lack the livestock.  The field is somewhat fenced, and I'll have to bulk those up eventually, so maybe start with that.  The big lack is a water source on the field, thats part of why I was thinking. to ut this field in hay for 5-7 years and develop pastures with access to water first.
11 months ago
Lots of good questions here.  I'll try and cover a few.

As for building and modifying equipment, older sickle mowers are cheap compared to newer mowers, like $2-300 vs 5000.  Similarily the side discharge rakes are cheap and simpley, though not as uch cheaper than with the mowers.  The rake modification would be a secondary goal for sure.  My thought on the front mount was that it would be a hard mount to the front axle with provsions to set the height, and probably an on-off control from the seat of the tractor.  For a baler, the 8N will not pull any baler I have ever heard of, I have an older CASE IH 2400 round baler and access to a larger tractor to pull it.  As for swathers (this is the same thing as a hay conditioner correct) those are not very widely used in this area, but hay is often round baled within 2 days of cutting, like cut Friday afternoon, rake and bale on Sunday.  Perhaps that is just because folks are primarily doing "cow hay" nd the rounds generally sit in the fields a few days, at least, more after baling so any risk of hot spots or bale fires is minmal compared to the better quality of hay gained by baling slightly green?
11 months ago
I just found this, and this is exactly what I am planning to build.  I was calling it an earth sheltered greenhouse, I have never heard the term Wofati before.  My modification would be a more traditional peaked roof with the southern half glazed, and the northern half under earth.  I was thinking that on the northern side there would be clerestory windows for venting, and the southern wall would be fully walk-out.  I am in the missouri Ozarks so I plan to use eastern red cedar logs "log cabin style" to form the stepped retaining walls.  I was also figuring to line the back side of the cedar walls with old worn out barn tin to keep dirt from washing between the logs.  I am hoping to achieve a totally passive freeze free greenhouse.  At worst I believe I will be able to raise hardy tems like lettuces and spinach etc through the winter.
11 months ago
 I have a small tractor (ford 8N) and a sickle bar mower (John Deere #5, 7') to cut about 80 acres.  I work full time and was thinking about a project to build a self powered sickle mower to mount to the front of the tractor to double the width per pass.  I was thinking a stand-alone motor from a riding lawnmower (~15Hp) could be mounted to power a seven foot sickle.  I'd like to solicit any thoughts about why this is a good or bad idea that anyone might have.  Similarly I have a side discharge hay rake, could a second rake be ganged with the first to make a wide pass.  The rakes would both be ground driven and are pretty light so the 8N should be able to pull them.  I have some budget, general mechanical abilities, and a will-try attitude.  Any Ideas or suggestions are welcome.
1 year ago
 I am attempting to establish Alfalfa in a pasture that has a serious weed problem.  The field is a pasture that was overgrazed and let the weeds get established and outcompete.  There is fescue established, but by June the broad leave weeds dominate.  The local farmers say nuke it with roundup and start from scratch, but my gut says this is the wrong play.  Any suggestions are welcome.  Do I just need to keep cutting it for a year so the weeds cannot reseed and the fescue and alfalfa can re-assert?  I'm not trying for pure Alfalfa, just to eliminate the broad leaf weeds and get a decent grass mix that can be grazed or hayed.
1 year ago
This wiring is actually exactly what you should see.  Each silver cord is what is commonly referred to as lamp cord, and feeds half of the fixture.  Each half in parallel.  There is an exception in the electric code allowing lamp cord to even though the lamp cord is a smaller wire than what would normally be protected by the breaker.  There should be a ground brought out of the fixture and connected to the copper ground wire hanging loose though.
1 year ago