Managing the Edge

Moose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I've really got a bunch of projects I need to do to improve my place in Va but the edge is one of the things I need to work on. Not much cover between the fields and the woods. Very abrupt change. Looks more like a golf course with not much rough....

At the hunt club in Halifax a number of the properties will have improved edges between additional wider boarders on the ditches some will be 80 yards as well as field edges and the woods. Landowners are interested in improving things for quail so working with them and the farmers will hopefully help. In addition to helping the quail it should improve turkey nesting and poults survival as well as fawn survival. So I can see what is happening at the hunt club to help me learn what I need to do with my Va tract.

Other things on my list for Va are eliminating fescue and do some timber improvements.

 

para4514

Eight Pointer
Contributor
Great practice that most folks overlook, as it can get costly or labor intensive depending on the method you choose. If you can get edge work and road daylighting done during a commercial thinning it is making it easy. There is decent money available for this work with farm bill programs.
 

Aaron H

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Exciting to think how a bit of edge improvement can improve the hunts. I have a wealthy friend that owns 400 acres and leases 500 adjoining acres. He has done some really nice things around the fields and his deer kills have gotten better and better over the years. His has a sort of "star-step" design.... the fields that usually get plant in beans, then about a 10 yard border of clover, next the brushy stuff and then into the woods. I hunted it just part of one bow season and though I did not kill a buck I saw some right good ones. I'll never have such a place but sure would love to.
 

MJ74

Old Mossy Horns
I've really got a bunch of projects I need to do to improve my place in Va but the edge is one of the things I need to work on. Not much cover between the fields and the woods. Very abrupt change. Looks more like a golf course with not much rough....

At the hunt club in Halifax a number of the properties will have improved edges between additional wider boarders on the ditches some will be 80 yards as well as field edges and the woods. Landowners are interested in improving things for quail so working with them and the farmers will hopefully help. In addition to helping the quail it should improve turkey nesting and poults survival as well as fawn survival. So I can see what is happening at the hunt club to help me learn what I need to do with my Va tract.

Other things on my list for Va are eliminating fescue and do some timber improvements.

I don't think it will make much of a difference with the quail, but will probably help the turkeys.
 

ScottyB

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I’m pretty sure that most big field farmers do not want the ditches growing up- so they mow it to the ground- more sun - better crops- but we have noticed that our new farmer is letting the Crp grow- way better for the quail…. But the other farmer we lease from mows the crp almost every year! Broomstraw and such is great cover! I’m not educated on the requirements for maintaining CRP …. But I know the landowners get paid for it
 

para4514

Eight Pointer
Contributor
I’m pretty sure that most big field farmers do not want the ditches growing up- so they mow it to the ground- more sun - better crops- but we have noticed that our new farmer is letting the Crp grow- way better for the quail…. But the other farmer we lease from mows the crp almost every year! Broomstraw and such is great cover! I’m not educated on the requirements for maintaining CRP …. But I know the landowners get paid for it
CRP gets touted as a great program for wildlife, and in the mid-west it does some good. Here most is planted in loblolly pine and second most common is longleaf pine. Great for the landowner who gets paid an annual rental payment from the taxpayers while growing their timber crop, or while their longleaf get big enough to rake straw, but no so much for critters once the canopy closes and the groundcover gets shaded out. Where CRP acreage is not in trees, enforcement of contracts if vital to maintain the nesting, brooding, and fawning cover. Varies from county to county based on the elected county committee.
 

Moose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I don't think it will make much of a difference with the quail, but will probably help the turkeys.
Not sure why it won't help? There is a farm we have that the owner has been doing this for a number of years and they have quail. Plus he is pretty aggressive with the predator control.
Won't happen overnight but I suspect the quail that are already there will like the additional improvements and expand....
 

MJ74

Old Mossy Horns
Not sure why it won't help? There is a farm we have that the owner has been doing this for a number of years and they have quail. Plus he is pretty aggressive with the predator control.
Won't happen overnight but I suspect the quail that are already there will like the additional improvements and expand....
Hopefully it will.....we did it for years and even more habitat enhancements for quail and it did nothing.
If you already have quail there now it sure won't hurt to do it.
 

thelivecanary

Eight Pointer
My gramps had "soft" edges on all his crop fields and a dimpling of pines as it transitioned into the hardwoods, oak and hickory stands up in Michigan. It was great for attracting all manner of game and you could setup on any of those edges and see deer/turkey all year, consistently.

Also, in the winter the thicker pine stands were always places with deer beds, likely due to thermal breaks and warm air pockets.

Good spot to plant some christmas trees for future christmas cuttings! Two birds....one stone!
 

JONOV

Old Mossy Horns
I’m pretty sure that most big field farmers do not want the ditches growing up- so they mow it to the ground- more sun - better crops- but we have noticed that our new farmer is letting the Crp grow- way better for the quail…. But the other farmer we lease from mows the crp almost every year! Broomstraw and such is great cover! I’m not educated on the requirements for maintaining CRP …. But I know the landowners get paid for it
I'm not certain, but it doesn't seem we have the same CRP programs the way they do in the midwest. In North Dakota, fields enrolled in the program usually have signage indicating such, telling people not to drive through them. And you can't typically mow/hay them unless there's an emergency drought order.
 

para4514

Eight Pointer
Contributor
We have the same program here and opportunity to have CRP like they do in the mid-west, but most CRP in the southeast is not native grasses. When the program first started in 1985 the demand from landowners was to plant fescue and loblolly pine to take erodible fields out of production. They got a rental payment for growing the trees plus any revenue from future timber harvest once the contract was over. The fescue fields were allowed to be mowed each year and while it was not supposed to be many of the fields were likely hayed at least once a year. Still today loblolly pine plantations are being planted in the name of erosion control and carbon sequestration with CRP funds. In 1996 wildlife habitat was added as a "co-equal" purpose for CRP, but by then the pine and fescue mentality was too widespread in the southeast to alter. Some longleaf work with CRP in the state, but much of that is just getting rental payments until it is ready to be raked for pine straw. Still opportunities with CRP if someone wants to take a portion of a field out of production, but most do not. The other big difference here is that keeping trees out of a native grass field is more challenging and costly in the southeast than the midwest.

As far as maintaining the ditches offering to spot spray the tree saplings every year or so might convince the farm not to mow so frequently leaving something for the quail and rabbits..
 
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