Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: starting with sheep  (Read 10244 times)


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: starting with sheep
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2011, 01:35:09 pm »
Buffy, Grassland management is my speciality subject! Sheep do not need you to fertilise the grass, they are the perfect grass managers which is why they are used so much in conservation grazing where short species rich swards are either already there or are to be encouraged.
If land has been over grazed by horses sheep are the perfect antidote as they will eat down the sour areas and the action of their feet will act just like a chain harrow and roller! the same time they are mobile fertiliser producers, returning to the land the waste produce of what went in!
If you overstock, which I am afraid too many people do then and only then you will have problems. Keep a max of 4 ewes to the acre plus their lambs in summer and you will not go wrong. Cut nettles, which usually occur on poached horse ground and leave them to wilt in situ and the sheep will munch them too...v high in protein. Do not worry if grass gets a bit long in summer, it will be flat grazed by November.
Fence it very well and divide up into 3 or 4 paddocks/fields so you can rest and rotate....simple!
www.berry land

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: starting with sheep
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2011, 08:36:57 pm »
Thanks wooly shepherd,

  all the info that I have researched over the last year or so has suggested that sheep alone will improve the pasture but it just looks so poor compaired to others pasture ( is this just a case of the other mans grass is always greener? ;D)

the aim of the fertiliser in the form of organic matter was really to add body to a very light sandy soil to improve its ability to hold moisture in the dry weather. I suppose the sheep will do this over time.

Thanks for the advice about the sheep to pasture ratio. I have 6 acres of pasture available for grazing but feel that 6 sheep would probably be all that I could streatch to at the moment. I will look at dividing it up better as the existing fencing is rotten and falling down.



  • Joined Aug 2010
  • kent
  • observe react administer enjoy !!
    • photos
Re: starting with sheep
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2011, 09:06:32 pm »
Thats really good wooly shepard, and its good to hear what you said in your posting, I had luckily managed to get a grazing licence for 7.5 acres from the factory behind us because there land was becoming scrub land and was over knee high with all sorts of scruby long grass and small trees and shrubs popping up, they were worried that it was getting out of control,So I divided it up into 3 fields just over 2 acres a field and I have 20 ewes and a tup on it, I was worring that with the lambs if I were to get a possable additional 30-35 lambs that I might be over croweded but I think you have said it will be ok and hopefully over the next couple of years the soil will improve with the sheep poo :)

In the spring I will rotate them around the 3 fields and hopefully that will be best for the land.
Suffolk x romneys and Texel X with Romney Tup, Shetlands and Southdown Tup


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: starting with sheep
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 02:35:15 am »
While you might not need much fertiliser Buffy, you may find that particularly where the land has been grazed by horses, that it is very acidic and this would explain why the grass doesn't look good. You should be able to get it tested for free, and if the pH (a measure of acidity) is less than 6.5 then it is worth putting some lime on.
 In addition it is helpful to put a small ammount of fertiliser on in Spring. ( About mid March) This brings the grass on at atime when there isn't much. About 1 bag/acre is sufficient of something like a 20-20-8. This means:
  20 units nitrogen to encourage grass but not enough to smother other species.
  20 units phosphorous to replace that used by grazing animals in growth. It also greatly encourages clover.
  8 units potassium which is essential for plant growth. You don't need much on pasture as it is returned in urine.

Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


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