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Author Topic: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options  (Read 330 times)


  • Joined Mar 2020
Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« on: June 23, 2020, 06:20:12 pm »

I've just moved onto a small holding in Cumbria. We've got quite a bit of land, but it's clay, and in wet weather suffers a lot from poaching (we have quite a bit of rain in CUmbria). At the minute we lease the land to a local farmer who's cows just trash the field in when it rains in October until his limousins are put in sheds over winter.

I'm looking to get some Belted Galloways, along with sheep, to start a grazing mob with the aim to improve the land. My expectation is that come the winter the Belties will just trash the land, at least in the first couple of years. I'm looking for ideas to mitigate the damage. The 3 options I can think of are:

  • Just buy them as stores for the first couple of years, selling in the Autumn.
  • Put them in barns for a coupe of years, with my neighbours Limousins.
  • Just let what happens happen and hope the land will eventually recover



  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 07:57:56 pm »
Related but slightly off topic sorry... can I ask are you following Savory's holistic land management approach or have you found other good resources... I am super interested in this at the moment!


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 09:08:52 pm »
On wet clay land any cattle are going to poach it in winter.  I would go for option 1.


  • Joined Mar 2020
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 08:11:53 am »

Yes looking at a paddock/holistic grazing plan. But we'll see how it goes.

One other option I had thought of recently; find a field away from home that could be used for hay in summer and cattle storage in winter.


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 10:26:29 am »
Depending on how much land you have, could you fence off part of a field, or use a small field as a sacrifice area? I have Belted Galloways and Highlands and they live outside all year. If you feed hay over winter and move the hay rings about, then the puddled area will regrow grass in spring from the hay seeds that have dropped. When it's really wet and you can't get on to move the rings so it gets all boggy round them, I put some straw down so the cattle have somewhere dry to lie down. This rots down in spring and forms a nice compost. If a fairly large area ends up all rutted then I harrow it to level it out and form some sort of seed bed, and broadcast some grass seed and then roll it and it's usually all good and grassy again by hay time.
Buying in in Spring and selling in Autumn means you buy when prices are high and sell when they are low. A better plan might be to keep a few cows that calve in Spring so can take advantage of your spring and summer grass, then sell the calves in Autumn so you only have your stock cows to keep over winter. Also you are keeping a few animals for breeding that you get to know and form a relationship with. These are much easier to handle as they are used to you and you know them and you can get pleasure from your little herd instead of buying in a load of wild youngsters each year.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 10:28:16 am by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 01:59:16 pm »
I've recently found this wonderful thing on ebay, its perfect for housing small number of cattle during the winter, and its portable!
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.


  • Joined Mar 2020
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 05:52:46 pm »
Thanks everybody. Very helpful.

I have heard of people putting hay on the worst patches knowing they will get trashed. However the following year, after the cows have trampled in all the seeds and fertilised everywhere, that patch will be stronger.

Now my thought is to get experimental and risk the poorer pastures. If it's all being turned up and trashed then put them away in a shed.

Fortune favours the brave!

That Nissen hut does look nice though!

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Belted Galloway Poaching Winter Options
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 11:56:27 pm »
I've found that a field that has had cattle wintering in it, even the bits that look OK, will be 2 or 3 weeks behind in spring and seriously poached ground will be much later before it recovers.

I've also noticed that more poaching leads to more weeds (I have a few very neat circles of rushes where ring feeders were!)

Of course the impact will vary depending on your ground, climate etc.

My growing season might only be 20 weeks so the threat of losing 10-15% of my grazing is a strong driver towards wintering indoors.  If I had more land and/or a better growing season I probably would be more relaxed about it.


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