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Author Topic: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty  (Read 1988 times)

mmckenna72

  • Joined Feb 2018
How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« on: February 05, 2018, 11:48:42 am »
Hi,

I'm considering buying a smallholding, but all the land on the property is currently pasture. I want to check that it would be suitable for growing as well. is there anywhere I can pay for someone to survey the land?

thanks

westcoastcroft

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 02:00:35 pm »
No need really for a survey...
What do you want to grow and on what scale?
Where are you?

Dig a hole (or ideally a few) - assess topsoil depth and structure - see hand testing soil test sheet from the RSH which is attached.

Get an analysis done - take multiple samples using a large w shape across the land and mix them together - this will give you an idea of what major nutrients are present and the PH. usually about 20 per sample

Look around what is growing nearby, what is growing in the pasture and margins?

Go look when its been raining, is there standing water? will drainage be an issue?
conversly if growing on a large scale is watering going to be feasible?

How windy is it? if very windy is there space to plant shelter belts, hedges etc.







landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 10:32:44 pm »
You already have a crop growing there. It's called grass. Providing the pasture looks healthy, and not excessively rough looking or full of reeds, or waterlogged, then there's no reason why anything else shouldn't grow. Acidity is easily checked with a simple test, and remedied by the addition of lime. Any particular nutrients your chosen crop may require can be added. But one of the most naturally fertile soils is that which has been under permanent pasture.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

valmet10

  • Joined Mar 2016
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 03:14:24 pm »
also which ways the land facing can make a difference to amount of sunshine per day

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 09:00:39 pm »

You already have a crop growing there. It's called grass. Providing the pasture looks healthy, and not excessively rough looking or full of reeds, or waterlogged, then there's no reason why anything else shouldn't grow. Acidity is easily checked with a simple test, and remedied by the addition of lime. Any particular nutrients your chosen crop may require can be added. But one of the most naturally fertile soils is that which has been under permanent pasture.


Yeap, but consider location in UK, wind, water, drainage (incl drought), reeds, orientation, poaching, moss, horses, flooding....

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 01:00:11 pm »
The Macaulay institute mapped most of Scotland and graded individual fields.  Search for LCA (land capable for agriculture) maps.  The grade tells you what they asses the land as capable of and is the standard way of describing land quality (look at farms for sale and you will usually see the grade in the description of the land).

I assume England and Wales have similar systems ........

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: How can i assess pasture for growing suitablilty
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 03:21:59 pm »
Yes, agricultural land is classified in England and Wales too, and the classification will give you a good indication of its likely productivity for crops other than grass.

If it's just a veg plot for the house you want, you'll probably be fine almost anywhere (although some types of ground are better for some crops than other, of course), maybe with windbreaks, soil improvements, poly tunnel, etc.  But if your plan is to grow things to sell, then you probably do want to get the classifications and do a proper assessment.  For instance, our clay ground here in North Cornwall grows quite a bit of veg for the community (there are 30 of us here on 32 acres), but we've been advised that field crops, even for a bit of winter feed for the livestock, doesn't make much sense here.  The land grows good grass which grows good livestock, so we grow our own meat and milk, and crop our own hay for them for winter.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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