Hayed Fields

Took a scouting ride into SW NE on Saturday to check out some of my opening day public ground haunts.
I was greatly disappointed as 7 of my favorite spots were hayed or tilled. Standing corn, sourgum, and milo everywhere but little to no cover. Seems that quite a few of the properties were not renewed as well. Guess I’m going to have to travel a bit further and hope there is more cover North and East.
 

hunter94

Well-known member
the promise of good NE walk in is a false one. very little of the ground can support upland bird populations.
when they hay it they put the screws to hunters, what's left is crap. they advertise a great story, but it is simply advertising.
i know, i hunted the ground the past 3-4 years, not enough ground, way over hunted.

i was raised in NE, it is now farmed fence row to fence row. the stubble program is useless, simply addd acres to access useless ground.
don't waste your time or money, go to Iowa or SD.
 

remy3424

Active member
That report sucks, unless it was 7 properties out of 100. In 3 and a half weeks, we should be reporting on Iowa birds. I hope you find better fields in your travels.
 

airmedic1

Member
Most of CRP fields that I hunt have been hayed or grazed down to the height of my lawn. Not sure it will ever come back for hunting.☹️ Tomorrow is opening day and it looks bleak.
 

McFarmer

Active member
Most of CRP fields that I hunt have been hayed or grazed down to the height of my lawn. Not sure it will ever come back for hunting.☹️ Tomorrow is opening day and it looks bleak.
It will be better next year. Ground that was cut for hay this year will be very good ground for nesting next year. It does reduce habit though, no doubt.
 

hunter94

Well-known member
It will be better next year. Ground that was cut for hay this year will be very good ground for nesting next year. It does reduce habit though, no doubt.
got to factor in that the carry over birds need somewhere to survive the winter. next year likely to be the same.
 

airmedic1

Member
I think that is the worst, no place to go to last the winter. Last year we had a snow that filled most of the wheat stubble and with no CPR left there wasn’t anything for them to nest in. That and the drought that we had has surely hurt the population.
 
I think that is the worst, no place to go to last the winter. Last year we had a snow that filled most of the wheat stubble and with no CPR left there wasn’t anything for them to nest in. That and the drought that we had has surely hurt the population.
I really think Pheasants Forever should step up in emergency years and pay farmers not to cut the CRP. I don't get it they have crop insurance but still need to cut all the CRP which is directly for habitat. This year is definitely worst I have seen in my 26 years hunting there.
 

McFarmer

Active member
I don‘t think crop insurance has much to do with haying CRP. I would also question that habitat is CRP’s primary purpose.
 
I don‘t think crop insurance has much to do with haying CRP. I would also question that habitat is CRP’s primary purpose.
So what is it's purpose there big guy? If they get crop insurance for of course crops that don't pan out what is the need to cut CRP and sell that also?
 
Your post came across as you know it all the way you wrote it. So if you know it all please explain? I have to assume you are saying all CRP is for is money for farmers and that is it.
 
Hey there Lefty what does that have to do with anything we are discussing? McFarmer originally agreed habitat yes would be hurt(reply#6) then he says well CRP is not habitat(reply#10). I am lost? I am a life member of Pheasants Forever just trying to understand his logic. Sorry I hurt his feelers but his post kinda didn't make sense to me.
 

Lefty76

Member
Buy some farm ground, and make it pencil out. I would guess that everyone on this board would like to hunt fields with tall grass, real life doesn't work like that. If you don't like what NE has to offer, stay home.
 

hunter94

Well-known member
Hey there Lefty what does that have to do with anything we are discussing? McFarmer originally agreed habitat yes would be hurt(reply#6) then he says well CRP is not habitat(reply#10). I am lost? I am a life member of Pheasants Forever just trying to understand his logic. Sorry I hurt his feelers but his post kinda didn't make sense to me.
PF helps a very limited amount of hunters, just not worth the effort or expense.
NE has been denuded of cover for years now, no surprise to me, advised early this year to avoid the heartache.
NR fee is ridiculous for what is even huntable. their marketing campaign is impressive, that's all you can say.
 

airmedic1

Member
I would agree the primary purpose of CRP is to take marginal, erodible land out of production to reduce erosion. That it provides cover for wildlife is a desirable secondary benefit. I thank landowners for putting their ground in the Nebraska CRP -MAP program so I can hunt it. What I don’t like is for them to receive the ~$6-$10 per acre after it has been grazed or hayed. Haying or grazing is their right, they own the ground but then getting paid for providing nothing doesn’t seem right. I think it’s mostly mismanagement on NE Game & Parks for letting it happen.
 

elkhunter

New member
I do not claim to know much about CRP haying But my understanding was that is a result of the drought. And authorized by the federal government in times of emergency. I think they are haying it because they feel they do not have enough feed to feed their cattle over the winter. I do live in Colorado and have hunted, Nebraska the last six years and have found plenty of birds even the last two years when it was slow I preseason scout, knock on doors and hunt hard.
 
Emergency haying/grazing of CRP is determined by the status of a county according to the National Drought Monitor. Here is the current map for Nebraska: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NE When a county reaches the status of "D2" severity, the Farm Service Administration opens enrolled CRP in the county for haying/grazing. 50% of the enrolled acreage may be hayed or 50% of the "carrying capacity" may be grazed outside of the "primary nesting season". In other words, they aren't supposed to take it all, but particularly with grazing, they often do. I don't think NRCS/FSA really monitors the emergency program that well. To me, as a hunter, the unfortunate interface is when CRP is enrolled in a state's walk-in program and the landowner then goes ahead and either hays or grazes the enrolled land. That is double dipping, but most states walk a fine line between enforcing their habitat suitability conditions for walk-in lands and getting landowners to enroll. I believe most states look the other way as long as it doesn't occur year after year. FSA also allows non-emergency haying (every third year) and grazing (every other year), so even in non-drought conditions we are still likely to see some CRP/walk-in areas hayed or grazed. Biologically, periodic haying/grazing is good for the habitat. Old, neglected fields tend to produce less and less suitable habitat for upland birds. The catch is, as one person noted, leaving enough to carry the bird population over winter, especially now, with farming practices running right up to the roads in many cases. Unfortunately, many landowners in the mid-west are non-resident to the lands they own. The bottom line is all they are interested in. I am still amazed that we see as many CRP acres enrolled in public access programs as we do. The fine line is hard to walk.
 
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