Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Grazing quesitons - To spray or not to spray or.... to eat  (Read 1961 times)

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Grazing quesitons - To spray or not to spray or.... to eat
« on: April 05, 2015, 12:26:14 am »
Rightio -
I've always been told hebrideans are a great breed for grazing, for want of other words, crap pasture an improving it....
I have a mix - the top of the hill is Great free draining, fertilize clover rich grass - with lots of thistles and docks....
The middle fields - Good grass clover (nothing wrong here - its sheep rocket fuel)
The bottom of the hill - Wet boggy buttercup and lots of rushes and generally bad grass.

I know the hebs nibble a bit of everything - I want them to eat the thistles, rushes and buttercups and docks down hard, - presumably My understanding is this benefits the sward and will encourage good grass growth in time....

So far they are not touching any of this....

So - Do i go ahead and spray the worst areas now and get it done,,,,

Confine the sheep to the worst pasture until its grazed bare - but I know they'le hammer the grass too much first...

Or am I missing something with my management of them,?

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Grazing quesitons - To spray or not to spray or.... to eat
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 08:14:10 am »
If you were offered a steak v a frozen burger you would eat the steak most of the time its the same with the grass and weeds .Hebs certaintly will eat the docks down ive seen them jump a poor fence to get the docks then jumped back in I think they pull up mineral / nutrients with their tap routes they will nibble thistles too but will not eradicate  woody established thistles as for buttercups we had them here first year we added a little fertilizer and over sowed the areas they had been in and now they are gone - not sure whether it was raising nutrient levels or grazing or both as for rushes they will nibble the top but again the thick stuff is not that appetising

I think theres probably various options depending

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Grazing quesitons - To spray or not to spray or.... to eat
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2015, 08:31:33 am »
On thickness of weed coverage I would leave the docks to the sheep if not to many.

The thistles I would take a hoe through them when they are emerging as rossettes - or spray the individuals - you can also cut them when bigger before they flower seed - creeping thistle is slightly different  and is generally in patchs so spray / cut
Rushes If you can cut with a mower or fingerblade or even something like an old allen scythe tractor that would help let the sheep get into it if your field is v boggy then you will always have some rushes but if you minimize them then theres more grazing - thebottom field sounds like it could do with some fertiliser and if its grazed hard down oversown with a pasture mix containing clover would definitely improve it.
The eradication of things using conservation grazing is all about the right grazing pressure /density of stock .so if you can make smaller areas within fields or put more stock in one field you would be able to do it with sheep alone however from your description it sounds like they might require assistance ; 0)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 09:54:03 am by Big Light »

 

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