Dividing the Field

In the fall, when the field is cleared and ready for planting, I divide it into equal sections with stakes made of wooden lath.

This makes it easier to distribute the seeds evenly across the whole area. I paint the stakes with fluorescent paint to make them easier to see.

I try to make the sections half an acre or less in size.

Most of Western Prairie is rectangular, so this year I was able to measure the sections by counting steps. I made each section 6 steps wide and as long as the field is wide. The part of the field I’m planting is 19 acres, and I divided it into 64 sections. I can’t show all the section lines on this photo, but you can see how it works.

The sections aren’t exactly the same size, but they’re close enough.

I like to have narrow sections when I’m planting – I can walk down one side of the section, and up the other, throwing out seeds, and when I get back to the center, I’m done.

If the field is an irregular shape, like the Narrows Prairie, figuring out equal sized sections is more difficult. These divisions were a little larger than I like – they’re each about an acre. They were measured using landmarks that I could see on the ground and on an aerial photo, and by dividing lines in half. They look odd, but they were fairly easy to measure.