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Author Topic: Poached sacrifice field  (Read 537 times)

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Poached sacrifice field
« on: January 11, 2017, 01:45:27 pm »
Hi All

I have an area of my field that I sacrificed over winter for the horses.  It's our first year having them at home and it was always going to be "see what happens" kind of year.  The area that's been sacrificed is obviously a state.  They are only out an hour 4 times a week.  It's ankle (maybe more) deep in mud and of course there isn't a blade of grass to be seen.
At the moment, we don't have machinery at our disposal.
We've stopped putting the horses out for the next month or 2, so I intend to try and do what I can to get it at least flattened ready for drying out nice and "smooth".  Of course it is far too wet to roll (we don't have one anyway) so does anyone have any old fashioned frugal, smallholder methods that I could try to flatten out at least the gate area so it doesn't turn into a dangerous dry ground area come the summer?  I was thinking of using the next few days cold spell to my advantage and when it freezes over slightly, give it a good stomping!  Only it'd take a while :)
Thanks in advance, Tracy

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 02:33:00 pm »
What about spreading some composted muck on the field, plowing/harrowing and reseeding it? You might be able to get a contractor to do it for you.....
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 02:38:21 pm by waterbuffalofarmer »
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 02:36:37 pm »
Thanks for the reply.  We don't have a lot of space so would happily try to do this ourselves.  I have a tone of composted muck - this is something I hadn't even give thought too, now I wonder....

thank you! 

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2017, 02:38:48 pm »
Thanks for the reply.  We don't have a lot of space so would happily try to do this ourselves.  I have a tone of composted muck - this is something I hadn't even give thought too, now I wonder....

thank you!
Ur welcome @TracyC  :) Before you do anything though have a read of this.....
http://www.kentdowns.org.uk/uploads/documents/ManagingLandforHorses.pdf
It goes through what the best species of grass are for horses and how to manage the land they are on too, very interesting read :)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 02:41:33 pm by waterbuffalofarmer »
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 08:38:57 pm »
Thank you, much appreciated for the link - I will take a look.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 11:30:40 pm »
I have to say, this is one of the best thread titles ever  :coat:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 08:54:10 am »
It took me a moment to see what you meant, then I nearly spat my morning tea out!!!  Of course I was just in my zone LOL!

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 04:38:57 pm »
 Tracy - don't do anything with it till spring when it has dried out naturally. You can't work mud. You'll just make more of a mess of it,
life's too short to be boring.

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2017, 09:30:42 am »
This was my gut feeling thank you.
I do wonder if I should be trying to flatten some of the really lumpy bits when the ground freezes a bit? 

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2017, 09:56:34 am »
Nope do as Landroverroy says!

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 09:58:52 am »
I will definitely do as Landroverroy says :) just making sure I didn't miss anything.  Thanks!

paddy1200

  • Joined Dec 2013
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2017, 10:23:48 pm »
when the field becomes more 'workable' run over it with some harrows, that will help in the short term, but as landrover roy says, don't do anything till you can get equipment on it without causing further ruts/damage.

TracyC

  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 10:47:37 am »
We don't have machinery as such.....it'll be manual so we'll have to be inventive.  It's a very small area though, 1/3 acre so doable.  Roll on Spring!

ellied

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: Poached sacrifice field
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2017, 06:59:38 am »
Suggest you plan to make a hardcore (or concrete if you like) area away from the gates and feed hay on it, ideally in a ring feeder (sheep size or tombstone style ideally).  There will still be some pent up energy to use, especially if they're only out for an hour 4x weekly, I'd go for more personally as the work in spring won't be significantly different.  But they'll have something to focus on and healthy normal activity at that.  Otherwise they'll hooley and then stand at the gate bored because a trashed field has nothing in between for them.

I would use a builders bag to drag loose hay in to fill the feeder before turning out, it slides over mud and isn't heavy like a bale, but you could get a local farmer to deliver a whole bale direct to the feeder and cover it when they're not out.  Think about tractor access for full bales tho, maybe over a fence with a telehandler from the yard or a good hard track rather than through your muddy gateway..

The other alternative is to loose house the horses in a barn rather than individual stables - cattle court style but less head per pen obviously.  Roll out a bale of straw and deep litter it with new over the top, then get a neighbouring farmer to dig out in spring and stack a muckheap for you.  Rate here is about £25/hour for tractor work.

If you're not riding daily on roads I would also recommend removing shoes over winter and letting their feet harden off.  Less damage to root systems in the field means a quicker recovery and a mix of hardcore at the gate and at feeding area will improve the rest of the paddock's ability to recover quickly in spring.

I sometimes get a stubble field to graze/feed hay on over part or all of a winter which rests my grazing completely and is worth paying for.  Farmer tells me which is for spring sowing, I put them on, he supplies hay direct to his own field which saves him time/makes him money and suits us both until he needs to plough in Feb.  I pay the rate for sheep winter grazing.
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