Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?  (Read 8194 times)

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« on: August 23, 2011, 11:31:09 am »
I have a few fields on our headland that have now grown into mostly moss and extended grasses floundering within their own low lying dead horrible mass.

The sheep seem to like it - but its not ideal.  Is there anyway to make the fields luscious with grass again without the need for getting someone mad enough to plough my fields of rock and re-plant?

Some kind of extended harrowing plan and maybe some fertilizers or lime? or both?

And when should I be looking at doing this (if you have any ideas?)

Ta

Barry

Fronhaul

  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 07:49:20 am »
I would get a soil test done first.  Liming isn't that cheap and a few pounds on soil testing may save you hundreds.



jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 08:04:41 am »
We have inherited poor, rough grazing. Ours is wet and acidic and full of seaves (Juncus rushes).

So - our main tactic is drainage and mowing. Secondary tactics include harrowing, then seeding through with a specialist seed mixture with clover, and liming.

Mowing will help push the species back towards grasses that grow short and harrowing will rake out the moss. If you make 'holes' though, whatever fills them might not be what you want. Here it would be docken or seaves, hence us seeding.

Whether you need to drain, lime or whatever will depend upon the soil as Fron suggests so it would be worth talking to local farmers (who will know) or getting a test done.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 08:06:30 am by jaykay »

Dougal

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Port O' Menteith, Stirlingshire
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 12:56:26 pm »
Harrowing in fresh seed can help and the soil sampling is well worth looking into. Have you thought about a year or two of cattle running over the ground? They can really help sweeten ground for the graze the grass longer?
It's always worse for someone else, so get your moaning done before they start using up all the available symathy!

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 09:35:30 pm »
extended grasses floundering within their own low lying dead horrible mass.

That sounds more like it has been undergrazed.
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bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 08:25:21 am »
I cant graze to the bone on most my fields cos I dont have the fencing to do it at the moment, most my fields are a few fields in one with no fences between.  Ive done a few km of fencing outer boundaries but now need to start sectioning off internal fields so I can start a rotation and also section off fields for 'treatment' with ferts or whatever I need.

I have two poorly tractors at the moment so cant top anything - jaffa has a poorly front axle and big red has no pto :(


1st step then is to do some soils tests done I think and ask a neighbour whats best.

The best field I have is my campsite field but campers dont appreciate ram lambs running around their tents :) - I wish I could get all my fields looking like the campsite?

Baz



violet

  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2011, 01:43:40 pm »
Half of my croft it is only suited to grazing.

The first thing I did was get a soil test. Then I had it drained. I also did loads of asking around locally to get the history of the place and what it had been used for in the past. I now have at least a 50 year history.
 But I do believe that you should work with nature and let things turn around before you jump in and dump loads of lime on it ( as I was reccomended). I heard somewhere that sheep in europe are known as 'the golden hoof' because of their ability to regenerate ground ( I expect that's if they're being managed for this).
I seeded the bare area's along side the drains.
I had cows graze it for 6 months or so, as it hadn't been used for years and then the sheep arrived. Once they were all moved out onto the common grazing we harrowed and seeded ( we didn't roll though & that was probably a mistake if you can roll after seeding ). Feeding hay to stock is a great way of reseeding so if your doing this change where your feeding them frequently.
This year we harrowed & manured ( horse manure so no need for seed ) and it's looking great. The heather and moss has nearly all gone ( though with shetland sheep & highland cattle this isn't much of  problem). One problem is the bog asphodel as it seems to be thriving on the improved ground, so we will be liming - but need no where near as much as originally suggested.
Hope this may be of some help.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2011, 01:59:44 pm »
violet after seeding it is a must that you roll the field      roll and you tighten the soil and push the stones in this traps moisture for the seeds to germinate      don't roll the ground dries out and the seeds or seedlings do not grow         lime   the most you can spread at one time is 2 tons to the acre or at least that is all that should be spread at one time
also if you can take hay from a field it can reseed its self from the seeds that fall of the heads
any kind of dung will improve the grass  poultry waste you have to be carefull about the quantity as it can burn the grass out :farmer:

violet

  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2011, 04:44:45 pm »
violet after seeding it is a must that you roll the field   
any kind of dung will improve the grass  poultry waste you have to be carefull about the quantity as it can burn the grass out :farmer:

I know that NOW - I didn't then I had only been a horticulturist before and had never done grazing before - I'd assumed that all our rain would have had the same affect  :-[

The horse dung I get is good 'cos it has hay seeds in it ( that's where I got grazing advice from too!)  ;D :farmer: :wave:

Fronhaul

  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: 'Sheep sick' grassland and how to recitify it?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2011, 07:36:20 am »
We have some areas that are too sloping to roll safely but put the sheep to work treading the seed in on these.  That works too.

 

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