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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by A1 Grass, Sep 2, 2003.
They already have and he already is.....A moderator for this forum.
I talked with Groundskper the other night on AOL. He and Tims Turf have been trying to get me to post to this forum. I believe they might have warned you that I might pick it apart. In reality I think Organics can be of benefit. However Bridge products are where I draw the line Agronomic and economically.
Now I will agree the Carbohydrates in corn will increase micro population and in turn make nutrients more available to the plant. The Frugal Agronomist has suggested I do a cost comparison. 88lb divided by 40lb equals 2.2. $10.00 per 88lb divided by 2.2 equals $ 4.55 per K materials cost. Or $200.00 per acre is the material cost with out adding in labor or transportation. Even at Lescos HIGH prices I can fertilize an acre with a complete slow release containing minors and secondary elements as well as Pre-m for about $25.00
I would like to quote the Frugal Agronomist, Lawrence Stone.
I can see how this program works for you since you have a 5 ton truck and a fork lift.
I don't believe this forum is about cost per se,it is about an alternative to chemming ourselves to death.
It is for educational purposes.If you aren't interested thats fine others are.
Registered just two month and 446 posts. It appears you have a lot to say. If you don't like what I have to add then go to your profile and add me to your ignore list. I have been under the impression for the last several years this was a discussion forum.
In order to make any program work, cost becomes a factor. Agronomy is the oldest science known to man. It has evolved from organics to synthesis because of cost. It will do you or the environment no good unless everyone jumps on your band wagon. Your band wagon must be cost effective if it is to survive.
Now let us start over My name is Ric and I believe in the value of organic material in agronomy. However I am a firm believer in bridge products as opposed to pure. Pesticides have increased our life span and helped control disease. They are the reason the few feed the many. Our lives are better because of them. The next time you eat a piece of meat, know that you have consumed 46-0-0 a feed additive. Also be aware of the Chlordane that you are eating in your salad. Yes Sir COST is a very big factor. But let us work together to try and reduce the amount of pesticides in the world we live in.
Thankyou Ric. I have been biting my tongue.
Cracked corn is 10cents a pound(for ease of calculation). So at 10 lbs per thousand sq ft thats 1.00 per thousand. Depending on the amount you apply the cost will be different of course. So for ease of calculation lets call it 50.00 per acre.
i dont want to mow grass up to my knees every week, so i would tend towards the lower amount. Suppose i apply 10/thousand in spring and another 10/ thuosand in fall....thats 100.00 per acre for the whole season. I dont necessarily need to apply at that amount every season though. From my understanding the amount of fertilizer required in an organic lawn becomes less and less every season as the health of the soil improves. So over the long term the cost gets lower and lower. So over a few seasons maybe you only need to fertilize once in the fall and still maintain the health of the soil which in turn makes the turf healthy.
When will be the best time to apply this corn gluten meal? (will an early fall app work??)
I have been applying 5.2.4 Sustane for the 1st three applications and just getting the ordinary results, ie. maintaining PH, etc. I've noticed that the lawns were not as green as I would liked it to be.
Can I apply this corn gluten meal with the 5.2.4 Sustane as an early fall application??
You make some good points about rate-cost factors. You also bring up the residual factor of SOM. However rate and residual factors are heavy dependent on CEC, AEC, EC, Porosity, Infiltration and the inverse log of the hydrogen ion. And last but by far not least Microbial activity. C-3 turf requires much less nutrients than C-4 therefore morphology is a factor also.
The Fertile hard pan soil of Canada consists of smaller particles size than the calcareous soil of Florida. Therefore what works for you won't work for me. My rate would be more like 40 lb time 4 per year.
An other factor to consider is wild life. I can hear the phone ringing now. " I got a deer on my front yard." Or worst yet " There are birds all over my yard." Armadillo, Raccoons etc etc. You don't have Fire Ants and trust me you don't want them, But corn would bring them in droves here in the South.
Another factor I would love to know the answer to is Smell. Once again I can hear the phone ring now. " My yard smells like a still" Here in Florida we get 55 inches of rain in a normal year and we get in a 6 month period. 100% humidity and a 95 degree air temp means the verger is at 104 degrees minim. I can smell the methane gas now.
Please don't take my post the wrong way. I am looking for a cost effective way to add organic material to my yards. No I will more than likely never be a all organic guy.
Nothing I hate more than a server crash in the middle of my writing. I think I'm cooling off now.
You're plenty welcome here, Ric :blob3: And Dan you don't need to bite your tongue. I'm not going to bite mine. You guys know more about chemical turf management than I'll ever know. What I want to do is educate about organics and encourage you guys try some things out to see for yourself.
Economics is absolutely an important factor in all this. If you have a client (or potential) scratching at the door for a bid, you need to be able to give a good estimate or you're toast. I will give y'all the benefit of my economic analysis but first I want to say this...HOLEY CRIPES!! You can apply Lesco for $25/acre I'm stunned! How many times per year do you have to apply it?
Here's the economic analysis I use for corn meal. I like corn meal because it is available in bulk within 5 miles of nearly everyone in North America for about the cost of bagged dirt (well, not quite). I get mine for $6.50 per 50 pound bag. It goes on at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. So the cost is $6.50/5,000 or $0.0013 or $1.30 per thousand or $56.63/acre. But I buy retail. I've heard of people getting it in larger bulk for $5/cwt. So the cost goes to $0.0005/sqft or $21.73/acre. Multiply that by three for three applications per year and you get the annual cost for fertilizer. The next thing you need to factor in is the heavy weight of the organic product versus the light weight of the Lesco. You might need a new truck to handle your organics.
At this point it might be appropriate to mention the other costs and subtractions you need to make to compare sort of apples to apples. If you look at the overall costs per year for the client, keep these things in mind. With three applications of cornmeal, you won't need any fungicides. So however many different fungicides you keep for all the different diseases, you should not need any of them if you use corn meal. I use vinegar for an herbicide. My gallon cost $12 and I'm about to run out after 2 years (one yard). But with my maintenance program, my only weeds are in the driveway and some oxalis in the back.
I have my own compost pile (horse manure and oak leaves) but I don't use it routinely. My wife replenishes her pots with it every year after it matures. Compost is where the cost of organics really skyrockets. I just don't see a recurring need for the stuff.
Something else I like to factor in to my own decision to go organic is the hassle factor. Organics is no hassle. If I accidentally spill an entire bag of corn meal on the lawn, I vacuum up what I can and sweep in the rest. All you have to do is not smother the grass. No hassle.
If I get a fungus, I don't care which fungus it is because the effect of corn meal is to kill them all. But if I stay on a 90 day cycle for corn meal, I don't get fungus. No hassle.
If I miss a date for an app, or if the first freeze comes early, I'm okay with organics. Usually the application dates for organics are 3 weeks earlier than for synthetics anyway; but what if I miss altogether. Organics can be applied any day of the year, rain, snow, or shine. Maybe not snow. Something to keep in mind is that when the soil temp falls below 50 degrees F, the soil microbes cannot digest the protein. But the first freeze is always followed by a few warm days. If you get the organics on it will be sitting there ready when the weather warms up. No hassle.
Regarding picking this forum apart: feel free! I'm not trying to candy coat anything. I'm trying to educate so you can make educated decisions. I saw how some of the other organic threads were going in the rest of the Lawnsite forums and could see there was a lot of room for some education. In the next few days, I'm going to post a FAQ that explains HOW this stuff works. If you don't understand how it works you can't be very convincing when explaining it to the client. If I say something really stupid or impractical, please write in!
All I'm going to ask is you stay on topic and keep your punches above the belt. If you want a new topic opened, let's do it.
I'm not sure why the difference. Woodycrest uses the same application rate and schedule as I use. I use 10 pounds per 1,000 three times per year and I suggest 10-20 for those with the budget for the extra. Many people think that more is better. Organics gives them a chance to prove to themselves that they were right. I agree that soil is a factor, as you mention. My soil is crushed white limestone from the quarry about three blocks away. My soil depth is zero to 18 inches before you get to solid limestone. Up the road they have solid sandstone on top of clay. You can't change that and you can't change the fact that people want to use organic materials on their yard. The point is to know what you're dealing with and make the best estimates you can.
This is a consideration. Some of the potential organic clients will not have thought this through. If they have deer, the corn meal needs to be ground up pretty fine. Or they could use soymeal which might be less attractive to them. As for birds, they are wholeheartedly invited to my yard. I think I have more birds now that I'm organic, but I never really took a census. But the birds are free to come in and eat as much corn as they can find. As long as they're here, they can eat grubs, ticks, fleas, caterpillars, sow bugs, and grasshoppers. And they're also invited to take a dump on my lawn. As for fire ants, I don't have any. I do have squirrels, possums, rats, and roaches. But I don't seem to have any more or less now versus a few years ago. Again, my census numbers are pretty weak.
A still has considerable amounts of yeast added and it is cooked at 170 degrees. A little corn meal dusted on turf is unlikely to take on an odor other than corn. Now, if you're talking about using corn GLUTEN meal at 30-40 pounds per 1,000, now we're talking about potential "fragrance." Some folks tell me there is one. I'll find out in a few days.