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Track hoes and fence rows
I drove yesterday from near Dayton , Ohio to Columbus , Indiana. About 150 miles more or less. Counted 14 track hoes in fields. Also saw numerous piles of brush and logs , where track hoes had already been. Mainly taking out fence rows and trees and brush , along waterways . Some small patches of woods taken too.
I know it is their land and livelihood and they do not have the land for us hunters . I service grain dryers and electric motors and the majority of my customers are farmers , so I get to talk to many farmers. When I mention this to some , many laugh as they , even being farmers themselves ,actually call it greed . Loss of habitat is worse, than many things us hunters complain about .
One place i hunt a fence row was removed and even the neighbor , a friend of mine ,said he does not see wildlife movement like he use too.
Just curious if many of you whitetail hunters , here in the Midwest are seeing the same ?
Not trying to start a debate or argument but curious .
Although destructive to wildlife, I would not call it greed. Since when are private landowners supposed to provide habitat for animals owned by the state and federal government, other than mandated by law and zoning ?
It happens everywhere. I live in North Dakota, grew up in Minnesota. I could understand more when commodity prices were high, but with the low prices now I can't understand taking out the tree rows. Heavy equipment is very expensive, and it will be a long time to realize a return on that investment. My parent's small farm in MN is a classic example. We are putting in a small amount of CRP, have done a lot to improve the woodland and bedding cover, and plant year round food plots. Neighbors, who have taken out their woodlots and fence rows, ask to hunt, and get angry when Dad says no. We own 46 acres, they own exponentially more. Last time I was home I asked one of the guys why he took out his habitat, and how it's tough on wildlife. He said "why should I care, I do my deer hunting in Montana." It's short-sighted, but the way of the modern world. I'm hoping the next Farm Bill allows for more provisions for habitat via CRP, but I'm not holding my breath. Without some sort of financial incentive to keep and maintain habitat, it will continue to disappear.
A lot of the fence rows being taken out are dead anyway. Fast growing trees that completed their life cycle. I hate seeing them go too.
Just to clarify, I too do not like this destructive practice but I am also a supporter of personal property rights and will not call the ranchers and farmers greedy. They are maximizing their production, something good for most businesses.
Missouribreaks, I did say it's their land and they DO NOT have it for us hunters . Also I did not say "greed" , but some farmers have said that to me about their fellow farmers . Just wanted to clarify . Don't want somebody to think it was me saying greed . Their land , their farm and their livelihood . Just curious if this is going on near others . Thank you
Although I would like to see the fence rows stay, there are many reasons to take them out. Trees and fallen limbs are hard on equipment and cabs. Taking out a fence row didn’t just gain a few acres, but helps the crop on each side 60-80-even 100 feet into the field, because the trees don’t take up the water from the crop. Taking out fencerows also stops roots from clogging field tile. Tree roots seek water and you wouldn’t believe how far away a single root will grow searching for that water. Those fencerows hold critters that damage their crops, get rid of the fence row....gets rid of those critters. Some of those critters also damage field tile. Farmers are workers, just cause they are not working ground or planting, doesn’t mean they aren’t working. If they have time/ equipment in their “downtime” they will do what they can to help them during their go time.
I totally understand WHY it is done . Not only is the land where the fence row is lost to production , but the shade the trees produce and the water being consumed by the trees , cause production loss on each side of the fence . I am a business person too and try to maximize all my efforts into profits . Just curious if this was going on in other areas .
As far as expense of equipment goes, most farmers own track hoes to fix field tile anyway, you can get a decent machine for a good price to help protect your $100,00, $200,00, $300,000 dole farm equipment.
HUGELY common around here. Breaks my heart a little bit. :)
My family is a farm family. I know a TON of farmers. Some of my best friends farm. They don't do it for the extra half acre or whatever that they get in production (although the trees hurt production even farther away from the row). The main reason they want to do it is to enlarge fields, decrease turn-arounds, and therefore, they can use bigger equipment and get a crop in and out quicker.
Even 10 years ago a lot of guys were still using 6 row planters. 10-15 foot drills. That is gone. Even my hunting buddy who "hobby" farms 300-400 acres has a 12 row Kinze planter and a 20 foot drill. And he's a small operator for around here.
The other thing is the size of the operations. At least in my area, less farmers, with more ground, and bigger operations. When my grandpa farmed, lots of guys just farmed 200-300 acres. Had small equipment, etc. Now, those farms are gone. They belong to the big farmers who are farming 2,000-10,000 or more acres. Those guys are running 24 row planters, and they hate to turn around . . . .
Low commodity prices is precisely why they are doing it. To get every bit of yield possible to offset cost involved. In today’s world wide markets, prices are very competitive. It takes efficiency to maximize yield in any times. But in competitive times, efficiency determines survival. Not just profit. Fence rows create obstacles, take up growing ground, etc. Water resources are expensive too. Drilling wells has tripled over the last decade alone. So, if they have water on their farms, they make it to where it can be utilized hassle free. Instead of drilling, carrying it, pumping it, etc. it’s a sign of competition. Not the opposite.
Clean farming practices has and will account for more extinct species then any other encroachment. But, if I were a farmer trying to make a living, I’d do the same as every one else around here. God Bless men.
It's happening where I live also(upstate NY),large mega-farms with huge equiptment and need the acreage and turn a round area.Sad but that's the way it is going. Bottom line;buy your own land and do as "you" please.
It goes on everywhere I have been
All kinds of practices contribute to habitat loss. When I was a kid, ETexas was mostly small farms. The practice of farming this field this year, and another the next contributed to good quail habitat. Slowly but surely farming gave way to beef cattle, and fields to pasture. Coastal bermuda, bahia grass, and pine trees replaced the row crops. The quail are non-existent here now. I too am a property rights supporter, but it still sucks any way you look at it.
Hunters who buy private land and improve it for wildlife are highly beneficial. Wish more hunters would invest into the resource.
Bake and WV Mountaineer summed it up well (small-farm raised fella here too)
For the most part, agri-culture has turned into agri-business. I also grew up on a small farm (200-300 acres) where we grew corn, beans, hay, etc., along with cattle and hogs. Most all of our neighbors were in the same scenario. Over time, more and more kids moved to the bigger towns to make more money than they could on the farm.
I saw a half mile of Creek that my cousins hunted go down to a dozer last month. I’ve got a pic of it on my phone somewhere.
Driving through Kansas this past November I couldn't believe how barren the land was. Miles and miles without a single tree. Entire sections without a single tree on either side.
Hunters should be buying up land and creating wildlife habitat. How come more do not invest into the situation? I know some do, but many do not.
Happening everywhere here in Southern Ontario Canada. Bush lots too getting mowed down. There was a flurry of this maybe 12 years ago and then it stopped... now its back with a vengeance! I call it 'the farmer tree allergy.
Several threads on this in the past. It seems to be a very common and widespread practice. In my area, the winter and spring dozers and hoes are about as certain as death and taxes.
Remember, there are some negative impacts that go along with the positives, even to the farmer. Ripping out fence rows allows increased damaging wind and in some instances, more excessive erosion. I'm not sure I buy the whole "critter damage" scenario. A typical fence row here wouldn't really hold so much game as to cause extensive damage to crops. Extensive damage is usually a result of larger tracts of adjacent wildlife habitat. Having said all this, I have an understanding of why it is done, but definitely think it is an over-used practice.
It happens for all of the reasons listed above. Plus, there is another reason.... Fence rows continually slowly get larger. Trees grow. The lower limbs keep the tractor away so then briars etc. spread farther out into the field. Eventually you have to go in and cut the trees back to reclaim your field. Most farmers then just elect to remove the whole fence row. Sucks but that's the way it is.
It does mess up the deer's patterns for a while, but eventually they get used to it. Many times a fence row is replaced by a water way. Deer soon learn to travel the water way which keeps them out of sight in some cases. Granted, its darn near impossible to bow hunt deer traveling a water way, but they are there. I've hunted on a farm with a few 1,000 acres of open fields separated by water ways. There will be nothing to be seen and then right at dusk you start seeing them pop up out of the water ways.
Hunting 5555, I have had some success ambushing deer using field drains (waterways) as travel lanes, by scouting the exit points well ahead of season, and using a couple of 100' long 4" diameter rolls of corrugated plastic drain pipe as a blind. The farmers are tickled if you let them have the rolls of drain "tile " after season.
Fuzzy, Those are some fun hunts , when you do something to make it happen , like you did . I got amongst an irrigation reel and the wound up rolls of flexible irrigation pipe and did much the same . I can still see that doe running across the field and piling up. On another spot , they had logged off a planted pine patch and left the tops. About 10 acres . No woods or trees around . Farmer mentioned all the deer he was seeing , while chopping sileage . They got rained out so I went to the corner of the standing corn as they had about 20 rows chopped , between the pine tops and the corn . Got in about 15 yards , bent the tops down for two shooting lanes. Set on my stool . Before dark took a doe. Had like 11 or 12 more come out after that .
Every year on my 14 hrs drive Midwest...I see exactly what the op said..however I'm sure the men are making a living,,feeding family's,,,providing....makes a big buck seem not so important...............or more important!!!
It's a plague. I had to take mine to trial to save my hedgerow back in January. The Judge did not come to a decision and viewed the hedge himself after the trial. It's been over a month and still no ruling.
As mentioned above, I've seen thousands of acres of bush in Manitoba dozed for farm ground as well.
My grandmother grew up on a farm in the Dirty 30's, and before her death she would have a fit when she saw farmers taking out tree rows. My granddad planted many tree rows to keep the wind from blowing away their fields. I know some farmers use cover crops better now than then, but she would still have a fit about it when I took her on drives.
Very common here in Iowa also it is definitely deeply ingrained in the farmer mentality. The most common reason here is to build a new fence. Also the high grain prices of 2010-12 brought a lot of cattle farms into ag produduction. Looking at our old areail photos on line much of this areas was cleared back in the 30-50s and has been allowed to grow back maybe part of the cycle.
Here in central MT I spend and work many hours to get a shelter belt to grow. I'm not dependent on my farm to live and understand those trying to pay the mortgage. Grain was way down all fall and winter. Barely paid plant/harvest expenses.
They said the last dust bowl was bad.
Iowa is the most change state in the Union, the take down of woods, wetlands, sloughs and fences along with tilling has cause a great amount loss of habitat and wildlife. Just made a trip completely though Iowa and what I use to hunt back as a kid to about 15 yrs ago is gone. If it wasn't for turkeys there wouldn't be any upland game, Ia. use to hold the record for pheasants over S.D. at one time and I didn't see one ringneck going and coming back through Ia., sad commentary.
The change in the scale of Agriculture is part of the problem. To be competitive is to be fast, the guys that custom plant for me have to average about 100 acres a day as there is only about 30-45 total days a spring total minus the weather delays. The guys will custom farm for me but the farm must be adapted to minimize amount of times the planter must be folded up. They need a minimum of 50 feet to move between fields I have my own dozer so we can carefully accomadate there needs. I mitigate these areas by replacing the habitat lost with tall native grasses.
One of the biggest con on the taxpayers is the ethanol racket, the amount of land that is out into production for corn and the cost from producing, the pollution that is produce and the neg. benefits to the total fuel savings is very marginal, just a bad product for the so-called green energy. When the tankers fill up they are required to have some gasoline in the tank prior to loading, ATF does not want one to be high jack for 100% corn alcohol (moonshine).
Many farmers as well as lousy developers are destroying wildlife habitat at an alarming rate .... Ive seen way to may fence rows ripped up and woodlots destroyed... when is enough enough ?? .... this photo was on a propery I used to hunt where the SOB had 14 piles like this, he had destroyed over 23 acres and over a mile of fence rows/habitat ... I got in a YUUUge argument with the guy over this crap and I really wanted to beat him down.. really I did...... yea its his property, but when is enough enough... where does it stop ?? I'd rather see the wooldots, crp fields, wildlife and habitat than what these aholes do ..... BTW, that pile is about 20 ft high and there was 14 of 'em like that ..... imagine all the den trees and nesting ground this ass destroyed ... sickening ...
Access this link at ewg.org and you will quickly find out why they are doing this. In the last 21 years over $349 billion dollars (your tax dollars) have been paid to farmers in subsidies (corporate welfare). Use the search engine at this link and look at the subsidies your local farmer is getting. They are being paid to farm ground that should never be touched. I have 5 farmers within a 10 mile radius of my home that have raked in over a million dollars each in just the last 15 years.
I would boycott all farmers and ranchers, do not ask them for permission to hunt, those dirty SOB's.
I dont ask them for crap any longer ... I now hunt state land ...
Maybe more complaining hunters should invest into the resource , buy some land and protect some habitat. Improve it like some others on this forum do!!
I don't understand how people can bitch about what landowners do with their own land.
Its ridiculous what they are doing to the habitat. Just had a ditch " cleaned" on the north edge of my property here in Indiana last year. They took all the trees off of it on one side except for giant cottonwoods . This is supposed to help with drainage is what I was told but when I asked the county official who is in charge when it was getting dredged I was told they had no plans on doing it. And as a bonus they will now add ditch cleaning fee to my taxes. What did this help ? I really do not know. From everything I ever remember trees and brush hold back soil which keep ditches and waterways from filling in. Its so frustrating to see it happening everywhere here in Indiana at an alarming rate.
Well stated, Missouribreaks. (I cant believe I just typed that) ;-)
It’s their land. They can do with it what they want. I agree, it’s sad to see, but some farmers don’t view wildlife and their habitat the same as hunters.
Not sure why some of you guys don’t lease fencerows from farmers. Full of game and great for stands and blinds. Win-win.
Swampyyankee- attitudes like that are why prairie chickens and other species have gone extinct in certain areas. Landowners should have to abide by certain laws and many states enforce them. Loss of habit in the name of money is one of conservations biggest enemies
What laws are they breaking, Thornton? I could argue that many farmers are enhancing habit in the name of money through the payment they receive for taking land out of production (CRP, Wetlands Reserve, buffer strips, etc). Some of you guys want it both ways. Scream when they clear habitat, and then bitch if if the farmers are incentivized by the guvmint cheese to put habitat back in!
Many ranchers and farmers do create good habitat. This forum is full of hunters accusing ranchers and farmers of harbouring wildlife on private lands. We all know many game animals are where farmers have created food for them. I would not paint them all as bad, with a broad brush. Go hunting once in Montana and Wyoming and see where many of the deer thrive. Plenty on public land, but generally far more in the private lands. Same in much of the midwest. I do agree habitat is important and we should all do what we can to create more. Go buy some land and improve it, even three acres of good cover and nesting helps, do your part.
"Got into an argument with a farmer about his land" Really????? So let me get this straight, somebody changed something on their private property and you told him HE shouldn't do it?
What if someone came to you and said you shouldn't mow your lawn? It's better for the mice they say. For whatever reason they want to save the mice. You say screw it - I have no reason to want mice in my lawn!!! Exact same situation. Farmer doesn't necessarily care about deer and wildlife - you do! If you want him to make a change it's up for you to make it WORHTWHILE FOR HIM to make the change. If you don't back it with $ you have no reason whatsoever to oppose someone's viewpoint of what they do with their own property. If neighbour came to you and said, hey - don't now your lawn it's better for the mice! And you say: "Why should I want to do that?!" He says, I'll pay you $2,000 a year not to mow your lawn, to save those mice... now you're thinking about it.
While it really sucks to see habitat go, unless for some reason it becomes financially worth it for them to leave it, it will keep going away. Gov't subsidies or something, or hunters leasing those areas is basically what it would have to boil down to.
And then hunters buying land and managing it for hunting purposes is good to. But of course even those you get the Joe shmoe public land specialist will poo poo on these guys until all the bush is gone and then he'll turn around and wonder where it all went. I have literally read on these forums guys insulting people that buy land and manage it for themself. Really guys, really.
Good post APauls. Hunters sure complain a lot and some seem to have little respect for personal property rights, including those of farmers, ranchers and others managing private lands. Almost as if somehow entitled to what others own.
APauls- I know what you mean. I bought my farm for investment reasons for myself and my immediate family to hunt in peace. Then I'm said to be a jerk not to let everyone hunt. I paid the upfront cost of buying, paid for the many improvements and the yearly upkeep and taxes. If anyone wants to manage someone else's property they way they want it managed just buy it.
Congrats on the land Frank! Hope you enjoy it - now don't cut down those wind rows! ;)
Never have cut down a tree that I couldn't see grow back to the same size in my lifetime. All I do is plant food plots to draw the deer to my property. And that works wonders. The farm is there for my son, 2 older grandsons, and nephew who helps me all the time when I ask. Already ordered this year's seed and putting in a new food plot on the other side of the farm.
Clearing trees out isn’t always a bad thing. I cleared a 3/4 acre spot for a food plot last summer, that will benefit the deer and turkeys way more than those trees would. TSI and hinge cutting also improve habit.
Some of you have too many trees. Here in most parts of Kansas we don't have that many. If you doze a hedge placed 80 years ago by wise landowners to prevent erosion, then you're just plain ignorant. Erosion gets worse over time, and grass at the bottom of a big hill does little to combat it. And no, you will never live long enough to see an Osage orange or cottonwood grow as big as they are now.
They aren't breaking any rules I know of t-roy. I think there should be laws restricting burning pastures every year, and dozing trees that would cause massive erosion on a neighbor. They make laws for everything else to protect organisms as small as creek chub minnows and migrating songbirds.
This is not about deer and wildlife,read what happen in the 1930s with the dust bowl.
Concerned citizens should buy land and improve it, much better than cheering from the sidelines for others to do it for you.
Missouribreaks. I did exactly what you stated here for people to do. I couldn't find land with cover to buy near where I live . So I bought 45 acres and cabin in northern Michigan . I have made food plots, hindge cut for cover. Cut mature popple for regrowth. Bought ground in antler point restriction area. Third year took a 22 inch wide 10 point as he headed to a food plot. Problem is it takes money to do these things . I saved for years to make this happen. Life is good !!
CRP is a good program that seems to be going away unfortunately. If leaving the grass patches, fence rows and creeks weren't important and missed we wouldn't be reminiscing about them. Having old fence rows are a pain for the farmer as stated above which is why he should get something for keeping them. If their not "valuable" to the farmer they will make them so.
I think some forget the farmer is operating a business for profit.... to hopefully feed the family.
Big farms with big equipment need big areas to operate in. It boils down to what is best for them not what's best for you. No laws broken and I don't like it it's just too bad. I bought a farm in 1991 and in order to invest in the land and in the last 27 years to keep the land I had to make sacrifices. I had to forgo nice vacations, new cars and trucks. Did I suffer any, no not at all but the average guy will not do it that way. Either lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
It is interesting to see what everyones opinions are regarding our rights to do with property we own.Last year I posted a picture on an Alabama forum showing a feeder I had placed directly on my property line. The reason I did this was because my neighbor who had just raped, I mean clearcut, every inch of his 220 acres put up a box stand 15 feet from our shared line looking over, and down the line bordering, my 8-acre bean/corn plot.In Alabama it is illegal to hunt within 100 yards and within sight of a feeder. It legally shut down his ability to hunt that box.About 98% of the following posts lambasted me for interfering with his right to use his property as he pleased. He legally could put that box up, just as I could legally put that feeder in.But you would have thought, from the replys, I was out killing babies.Somehow, at least in their opinon, his rights to use his property as he chose, trumped mine. Now most of those posts were from folks who have probably never owned more than a residential lot in their lives, nor spent months every year and many $1,000's of dollars improving their deer/turkey habitat.It was an eye opener as to the feeble mind set of most of the population of today.
Many do not believe in the personal property rights of ranchers and farmers. You have to remember most of those negative guys own a postage stamp size lot, and despise people who own more land than them. Some could buy land to improve for wildlife, but they choose not to,.... go figure.
Ranchers in Kansas have done little to increase habitat for wildlife. I do not despise anyone who owns more land than me either. Funny thing is, these hedge rows they tear out hardly adds any extra grass for their grazing and the piles of dead trees kill more grass and it takes several years before they dry out enough to burn.
Thornton- Illinois trees must burn better because the guys here burn them while they are clearing. If all you complainers don’t like the fencerows being cleared, ask the farmer how much they would sell them for and buy it. Can you imagine how you would feel if some farmer told you he didn’t like what you were doing in your yard?