Kenny and I attended the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Field Day on Friday, June 1, 2018 in DeRidder. The overall topic was “Methods and Benefits of Native Plant Establishment”. The purpose was to educate landowners and professionals on the basics of native plant establishment. Several agencies were represented including NWTF, Roundstone, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, NRCS, Forever Quails, Louisiana Beekeepers Association, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, & IFCO.
Some of the topics discussed were:
- What are natives?
- History and Production of Natives
- Applications, Uses, and Benefits of Native Plants
- Proper Site Prep & Planting
- Equipment Overview
- Site Conditions
- Planting Demonstrations
- Program Opportunities with NRCS & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
We appreciated all the hard work that went into the field day. Everything was very organized, the sign in process was quick and easy, we learned a lot of information from the speakers, and the BBQ lunch was delicious!
We learned a lot about native plants. They have longer root systems than introduced plants. The native grasses are more beneficial for quail because they grow in bunches with bare dirt in between. They are slow growing and more drought tolerant (because of the root system). They respond well to prescribed burning whereas introduced plants will die off.
Wild Life and Fisheries told us about a 3 day training program available at LSU that you can complete to be a certified prescribed burner. They talked about the benefits of prescribed burning and the availability of 3 prescribed burn trailers in the state. The trailers contain everything you need to have a prescribed burn. You rent the trailer for $50 for the first day and $10 each additional day. There is a trailer available at the Lake Charles office.
We were able to examine a grain drill and learned how to calibrate it. We also discussed other planting and cultivating methods. Seed bed preparation was stressed throughout the program.