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Author Topic: Saving a field  (Read 6258 times)

Muc

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Co Clare, Ireland
Saving a field
« on: March 13, 2010, 10:30:29 am »
To my shame I let my three-acre field go wild. It now has a thatch of withered grass, probably scutch, although I did seed it.
What will it take to get it productive again, as I was hoping to graze a couple of cows on it this year. Will the new grass break through? Can cattle eat the withered stuff - it looks like hay to me.
My farming neighbour suggests spreading a nitrogen fertiliser called CAN and he says he might be able to 'top it' if he can borrow the machine.
I was thinking of a flame-thrower or a herd of buffalo.

lazybee

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010, 02:44:26 pm »
I have a 5 acre field in the same state. As this particular field isn't ajoining the rest of my land I lend it to an old farmer. To keep either his brood mare Percerons or sheep on it. We normally share the hay or I get whole lambs at cost. However last year he had a hip replacement with complications. So it wasn't cut for hay. It's a real mess now, I'm not really sure what to do with it either. All I have is a 1.2mtr rotary topper. I will give that a try. If that doesn't work I might have to ask my neighbour to borrow his all singing all dancing flail topper. Unless anyone on here has any other suggestions ???

garden cottage

  • Joined Sep 2008
  • forest of dean
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010, 09:33:06 pm »
would agree to use topper, keep going over it until the old dead grass is cut up small pieces, it then needs a damn good chain harrowing probably 2 or 3 times to get the old dead grass out and let new growth come through. we had exactly the same with a field i took on previously grazed by horses that were taken away due to cruelty. Its now very good grazing, once you get the circle of grazing ,animal manure, it will soon come back.

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 06:36:16 pm »
Well actually all you need to do is put some sheep on it! It may look a mess at the moment....mid March is a mess everywhere...the grass has not realy started growing and everywhere is grey or brown....
But if you have good fencing sheep will do wonders with their munching, mowing, fertilising and foot harrows......they are the ultimate tool in grazing restoration and conservation. By adding artificial fertiliser you will change the sward as it benefits the dominant species of grasses and by harrowing and topping you will use a lot of energy un necessarily.....and toppings need removing if not to act like a fertiliser!

Sheep are amazing and you can eat them at the end of the summer if needbe!!!!!
www.berry land cottage.co.uk
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

Muc

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Co Clare, Ireland
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 06:45:12 pm »
Thanks Woollyshepherd. I suspect from your name you might be ever-so-slightly biased in favour of sheep.
I know little about sheep but am told that they can climb over six-foot walls, swim rivers and dig tunnels. This field has broken-down dry stone walls and a few blackberry bushes.
I'll go with the harrowing for the moment and see what happens.

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 08:38:21 pm »
 ;D ;D Slightly biased but have qualifications in landscape conservation too! ;) i use sheep as conservation grazing tools as well as for other uses and OH is a qualified ecologist so we have more than a sheepy interest in them....as for escaping....depends very much on the breed...there are easy sheep, not so easy sheep and sheep for lunatics and long distance runners!!!!
www.berry land cottage.co.uk
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

MiriMaran

  • Joined Feb 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 09:11:14 pm »
A farmer once told me that sheep have only two aims in life
 1.  to escape

 2.  to die!

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010, 09:30:55 pm »
Oh, but they taste so gooooooood ;) ;) ;D ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Muc

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Co Clare, Ireland
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 09:43:02 pm »
Can sheep be confined with electric fences?
Can they share a field with cattle?
And how about a tethered goat that could be moved and could make circles in the thatch? Would this not be as effective as a harrow?

ballingall

  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Avonbridge, Falkirk
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 10:23:32 pm »
But would you be there during the day to move the goat? Or would the poor animal be left outside for 5-6 hours at a time with no access to a shelter if it rained for example? I don't really believe in or recommend tethering for goats.

Beth

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 10:46:59 pm »
Yes sheep can be confined with good well put up and thought out electric fencing that is well charged and working properly...and if they are a breed not prone to escaping such as a 'Down' breed

Do not ever tether goats....they die horribly from unattended tethering and need shelter at all times as they are not weatherproof!

Sheep, if well kept and properly managed do not spend time either dying nor escaping! However if not kept properly as with most livestock problems will occur!
www.berry land cottage.co.uk
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

Le Recoignot

  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 08:26:03 am »
try the ultimate 'tool' - Billy Goats.
Worth nothing but eat anything half a dozen should make huge in roads. Along with the grass they clear nettles and thistles etc. They can be obtained for next to nothing because they have little or no value (similar to male calves from dairy cows). Neither do they need shearing.


Muc

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Co Clare, Ireland
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 08:32:49 am »
More questions:
How come goats require shelter from the rain and sheep don't? I thought goats were hardier animals than sheep?
I agree as regards tethering but maybe a short holiday (supervised) and a change of diet might not be cruel? I know of someone who keeps a tethered goat and I might be able to borrow him.

dixie

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 09:30:32 am »
Hi I have sheep, and yes they are great at restoring ground! Mine have never escaped nor attempted to, they are very tame and come to call have never jumped a fence, swam a river nor ran faster than me without waiting for me to catch up ;D

lazybee

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: Saving a field
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2010, 10:35:02 am »
try the ultimate 'tool' - Billy Goats.
Worth nothing but eat anything half a dozen should make huge in roads. Along with the grass they clear nettles and thistles etc. They can be obtained for next to nothing because they have little or no value (similar to male calves from dairy cows). Neither do they need shearing.



I had goats before,and found them next to useless, as they don't crop the grass efficiently. They nibble a bit here nibble a bit there, eat the ivy off a tree, browse along the hedge etc. I think sheep after the topper could be the best bet for me. I'm just annoyed as I can forget about a hay crop from that field this year.

 

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