Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Thoughts on how to improve this field?  (Read 1748 times)

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« on: October 06, 2022, 12:54:04 pm »
One of our fields is a bit of a mess currently. We had ground source heating put in a year ago and, after flattening out the ridges left from that, it's a lumpy mess. We're on solid clay with a couple of inches of topsoil and it's only been grass since before we bought he place 9 years ago. We use it for the pigs in the summer and occasionally our two lawnmower sheep are in here.

I was thinking to plough it and rotorvate to try and get it a bit more level and then grow either some green manures or grass again. Longer term, we'll always have an area for pigs each year but we try and rotate that, we'd like to grow some fodder for them, perhaps some strips of bee friendly wildflowers/borage etc and strips of potatoes or sweetcorn, things that take up a lot of room in the allotment section.

Any ideas of how to manage this for the future for some growth and also biodiversity?

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2022, 02:13:47 pm »
That field looks in great shape- you should see the state of ours! I certainly wouldn't plough it because you will lose the topsoil into the clay. I'd just section some off for wildflowers and perhaps within that your veg. Wildflowers we have planted can't compete with grass (names are in French so I don't know what they are), so that and all the weeds had to be killed first. You will have to condition the soil for your veg perhaps and that could take some time. 5 years we've been digging clay and adding compost and we are still nowhere near.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2022, 02:17:33 pm »
Graze lightly for a few years.  Let the wildflowers you like set seed before grazing.

If it gets a bit overgrown with the wrong kind of plants, graze it hard in autumn with Fell ponies or similar.
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

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2022, 06:43:39 am »
Get some barn owl boxes up somewhere: that ground looks great for field voles!

Forestlens

  • Joined Jul 2020
  • North Devon
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2022, 05:23:42 pm »
Avoid ploughing unless youíre happy to not use the field for several months as the new sward establishes. As others have said it looks pretty good to me! If itís just the lumpiness that is the issue try a flat roll when ground conditions allow - itís often a fine line between too wet and too hard! It might roll now but itís usually done in the spring.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2022, 07:29:52 pm »
Thank you everyone. We have several acres of wildflower meadow we've planted on the farm, the entire 23 acres of fields and wood is about building wildlife habitat and diversity. We have one field we keep for hay and this one which is our smallholding field, there's about 3 acres of grass and the area we've turned into our allotment and a small orchard. Sounds like we shouldn't plough it and perhaps just rotorvate the areas we wish to plant in the spring and roll the rest.

We have barn owl boxes around the farm and have developed areas of long grasses specifically for that and now have regular barn owls coming to visit. We've planted over a thousand trees in the past couple of years and the grass around them is fabulous habitat for voles, I'll add a couple of photos of those areas.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2022, 07:56:25 am »
Avoid ploughing unless youíre happy to not use the field for several months as the new sward establishes. As others have said it looks pretty good to me! If itís just the lumpiness that is the issue try a flat roll when ground conditions allow - itís often a fine line between too wet and too hard! It might roll now but itís usually done in the spring.

We just had a neighbouring farmer tell us that rolling now would just make a hard pan that the winter rains would roll right off, and to wait until spring.
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

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2022, 09:34:44 am »
With regard to planting in heavy clay I thought I'd mention a product we tried in Spring on one small bed. I was sceptical when I saw what was labeled as 'soil conditioner' (not compost, so no nutritional value), but at Ä2.50 for a 30 litre bag worth a punt. Instructions say for very depleted solid clay to dig in one bag per square metre, so 5 years ago we should have bought 70 bags. For poor clumpy clay soil use 1 bag for 3 square metres. Opening the bag was a surprise. Mainly dark sludge which could be leaf mulch, plus rotted twigs and little clumps of what looked like chopped rope. I put 3 tomato plants in it, which have just come out with the best root system I have seen here so far. Digging the bed over and there are no clay lumps at all and little evidence of the bag contents. The soil is also still moist, despite no rain or watering for two weeks. Off to buy another 20 bags later this month which I will dig in over Winter.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2022, 02:18:21 pm »
I planted 3 apple trees years ago with my pigs in mind. What about a pollytunnel to grow veg all year round. Fruit bushes. You can always fence off with electric fencing. We run ours off 2 solar pannels on the shed roof does the fountain for the fish pond too. Rent out for a few months.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Thoughts on how to improve this field?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2022, 07:50:53 pm »
Sally, that's interesting, thanks for the info, will wait until spring for rolling then.

Chrismahon, that stuff sounds really interesting but we'd need huge amounts for the field. The allotment has raised beds for everything because of the solid clay.

Sabrina, we have an orchard of fruit trees and a big poly tunnel as one part of the allotment so we're covered there, obviously we think the same way :)

 

Do moles improve drainage

Started by juliem (8.6)

Replies: 5
Views: 1793
Last post March 11, 2018, 07:49:02 pm
by juliem
Would pigs improve this nettle and thistle desert? ????

Started by Mills (8.41)

Replies: 5
Views: 2051
Last post August 09, 2018, 04:22:26 pm
by honeyend
Planting a long, thin piece of woodland- general thoughts and density of holly?

Started by Fieldfare (5.97)

Replies: 6
Views: 2437
Last post March 17, 2017, 06:46:59 pm
by Fieldfare
Field Drains

Started by dt400 (5.73)

Replies: 18
Views: 16950
Last post March 24, 2022, 09:14:44 pm
by PipKelpy
Keeping a Car in the Field?

Started by edessex (5.73)

Replies: 25
Views: 10861
Last post March 25, 2013, 10:13:41 pm
by MAK

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS