Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Revised Turkey Feeders

Several years ago when a flock of wild turkeys showed up at the golf course one morning we were all really excited.  An occasional single turkey had been seen on the golf course in the past but never a flock this size.

In an effort to try to entice them to stay and take up residency on the golf course we looked at our habitat and resources for them to thrive.  The habitat of the golf course is very adequate for their survival with several movement corridors, native grass corridors, and plenty of trees to roost in for the night.  The part we were missing was a good food source so we created some supplemental turkey feeders to provide them with shelled and cracked corn until we could install some food plots for them.

The original feeder design was a very simple trough style feeder.  The feed was stored in the upright portion of the feeder and fed into the trough by gravity as the feed was removed by the wildlife.  The feeders were successful in the beginning but they had a few downfalls that we needed to correct.  One downfall was the fact that they feed in the trough could get wet from irrigation or rainfall and had the possibility of spoiling and possibly making the wildlife ill.  Another downfall was created by our deer being smarter than we were in our design.  The deer were witnessed taking their front leg and knocking the trough off of the feeders which would release all the feed at one time. 

Mitch Sivley with a completed feeder tube
So we had to revisit the drawing board of our turkey feeders and we have come up with a different design that is working out great and is still inexpensive and easy to build.  The new design uses 4" PVC piping with the trough being replaced by one inch feeding holes.

One inch holes are drilled in the end cap which was glued to one end of the pipe.  We have made our feeders between four and five feet tall.  Holes are only drilled on one half of the feeder since the other side will be against the tree.

Any rough areas on the holes were filed down smooth as to not injure the wildlife while eating.

The other end of the tube is fitted with a screw on cap fitting which will keep the feed dry and will allow for easy removal to refill the feed.
Once completed the PVC piping is camouflaged with different colors of paint and leaf stencils to allow it to blend into the landscape.
Four finished wild turkey feeders ready for installation.  Total time on these feeders was about two hours and they are ready to be added to our wildlife conservation program.
A "new and improved" turkey feeder attached to a tree with plumbers tape.  The smaller holes and more upright design insures the feed will not be eaten at a rapid pace and will not be contaminated by rainfall or irrigation practices.  All in all the project has been a great success with the wild turkey staying at the golf course and being seen at all times of the day.
If you would like more information on this or any other project we are undertaking please let us know at paul.carter@tn.gov.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bent grass bowing to Bermuda on Tennessee golf course greens | Nooga.com

#18 green at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

Bent grass bowing to Bermuda on Tennessee golf course greens | Nooga.com

This is a recent article on Ultradwarf bermudagrass greens taking over the south recently run on www.nooga.com.  Very nice article and one that probably only four years ago would not have been even thought of.  When we chose to convert to Champion it was a matter of survival for both the greens and the golf course but golf courses are making the change now to provide better playing surfaces for thier members and guests. 

Times they are a changing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spraying bunker faces at Harrison Bay

I wanted to share with you a great way we have devised to apply fertilizers and chemicals to our bunker faces at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  With our limited staff we have always had to find interesting and time saving way to efficiently and effectively apply growth regulators and chemicals to our bunker faces without having to apply them with a hand gun or spray hawk.

What we did was to add an metal pipe on to the end of the right side boom.  We added a series of four nozzles spaced 20 inches apart to mirror the standard right side boom. 

In order to control the operation of this set of nozzles we placed a Banjo connector on the left side supply line and connected the extension to this line.
The extension allows us to spray narrow areas on bunker faces with the standard right boom control and when we need to reach out a little more we can activate the left side valve and apply our chemical or fertilizer in a controlled and calibrated way.  We have had great success with this addition and it has saved us countless hours and product by allowing us to spray quickly, accurately, and without fear of damaging the turfgrass from over spray or skipping an area by human application.
Here is a video of the "Bunker Boom" as we like to call it in action.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Latest and Greatest in Sprayer Technology

I got the opportunity today to demo the next greatest thing in chemical application and environmental protection.  What I am talking about is the Star Command Spray System from Smithco.  A couple of weeks ago I saw an advertisement on TurfNet for it and thought it was too good to be true, but it's not.  Jeff Wells with Ladd's brought the sprayer by today and I have not seen anything this promising in a long time.  If you haven't seen the new Star Command Spray System video then you need to watch it.

After watching the unit spraying and seeing the nozzles turn on and off individually and without having to control any particular nozzle I can easily see how this technology would save on chemical and fertilizer costs, save time, and insure the proper amount of product, at the proper rate, is being applied. 

The magic is in the GPS controlled Star Command module which allows the operator to spray at different speeds and different carrier volumes without having to change nozzles.  All settings are controlled from the command module which tracks the application area showing sprayed areas in one color and non-sprayed or "missed" areas in another.  Once the perimeter is logged into the computer the operator doesn't have to worry about turning nozzles on or off; it's done automatically.  Readouts can be sent to your computer or downloaded for time and product records and the drift control allows the operator to adjust the water volume on the fly to maintain an accurate spray pattern.  The GPS can turn nozzles on and off within one inch of the area and the program can save your different areas from application to application.

One of the best features of this technology is that it can be outfitted on any brand of sprayer which makes it even that much more appealing.  I'm not speaking about this unit to try to help sell any sprayers but rather how much safer it would be for the environment and the resources it could save.  If you get a chance, look at this new technology.  I think it could pay for itself in product and time savings very quickly.  Going to have to get one of these.