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Author Topic: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!  (Read 882 times)

wildandwooly

  • Joined Feb 2021
Hi all. Advice please  :)
 
I've got a small not stock proof fenced paddock area, ( part of a separate acre field that is stock fenced + gated through to the other field) that I want to use for my Shetland sheep when I need to gather them together. It has a few rushes on it but I'm not bothered about that and I know the sheep will prob keep the docks down now I've taken the old dead tall stems off but it's badly poached from when the previous owner had 2 Shetland ponies on it. Any ideas as to how would be best to manage that area? The rest of that acre is fine.
 :hugsheep:

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2021, 08:35:31 am »
It will have been overgrazed as well as poached, and maybe this area doesn't drain very well? What is it like in winter?


Half an acre is quite big for a corral, you would still be doing a lot of (unsuccessful) chasing of sheep, and Shetlands can clear a fence/hurdle quite easily.


Sheep aren't overly keen on lots of docks, though Shetland will probably eat more of them than modern breeds. Goats will love them.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2021, 09:11:14 am »
Poached areas usually grow grass the next season (unless silage was fed on that ground) but the soil takes a while longer to recover so the area is usually less free-draining for several years.

Roll and scatter grass seed is our usual treatment.  You get a better sward quicker, and the growing grass helps the soil structure to recover as quickly as it can.

It's possible that it would help to plough before seeding but I've never tried that myself, and ploughing grassland seems to result in two years' worth of buried weed seeds getting to see the light of day...
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2021, 09:13:11 am »
And cutting (scythe, top, mow or strim) for the docks. Repeat at least every time they flower, before they seed.
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

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2021, 01:08:42 pm »
I suppose it's too small an area to mole plough, which would help drainage with minimum soil disruption.  Ideally you would want to increase the earthworm population of the poached ground, but they don't like acid, wet soil.  You would need to look up how to promote earthworms in your soil and rainfall type, which might include liming - easy to do by hand over such a small area.  You will be looking at a long term approach, seeing gradual results over 2 or 3 years, as Sally says, not an instant fix.
Oh no, I'm off to look up earthworm repopulation, can't resist  ::)


I'm back:  https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/40101965.pdf


This is a PDF of a PHD study into earthworms, from Stirling Uni.  On my rural broadband which functions at the speed of glaciers, it took a while to download, and I have only had time to skim through, but have pinned it for later study.  It seems to give info on just about everything you could need in an investigation into the understanding of earthworms.


From a general search, it seems that soil disturbance eg ploughing, will have a detrimental effect on the worms, and the supply of food for them (dead vegetation and leaves) will help their numbers.
So that might imply that it would be best to leave that patch ungrazed for this year to give the soil a while to start a natural recovery, perhaps spreading manure and compost on the surface.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 01:35:32 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

wildandwooly

  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Small paddock area maybe @ 1/2 an acre with a lot of docks!
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2021, 07:06:06 pm »
Thanks all  :thumbsup:

Think I'll leave it this year and see what happens. As I've cleared the old dead stuff lying on the top maybe the grass will grow through. If not I'll seed it next year. Agree think it's the longer term approach def not a quick fix!  It's not as if I'm desperate for that piece of land though luckily. It has been wetter than usual on the fields this last year and particularly on that bit.
And yes I know Shetlands are jumpers  :D - no pun intended  :roflanim:
And you've set me off now too looking up info on earthworms Fleecewife  ;D

 

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