Current as of 2020-06-28 17:43:18 +0000

Pasture Management

2020 04 01 16 29 01

As of mid 2020 we don’t really have “pasture”. The land has been neglected and a lot of plants that were certainly there in the past have been eliminated. But we do have seeds in the soil and with our current grazing management many plants are coming back.

Our grazing management has helped to produce more biomass than before. We’ve seen a lot more grass and a lot of flowers and also pretty tall brassicas. Also a lot of clover has shown up.

However, no grazing management will remove a few basic rules of nature. One of them is that not all plants can live at all temperatures and plants also need water. They also lead their lifes according to cycles. Through grazing management we may be able to keep grasses a bit longer in their vegetative cycle but eventually they will go to seed and then there is no coming back.

At the end of spring in 2019 and 2020 we’ve seen a lot seeds. But a lot of ants are stealing our seeds. We need to figure out a way to stop that. If the seeds were to germinate before the ants can feed on them, then we had more grass plants.

As the grass goes to seed shortly before summer heat starts there is no way it can germinate. It’s supposed to germinate in the coming fall or spring but not during summer. That won’t work, if the ants ate the seed.

Seeding

In order to fix the issue described above we need to seed when germination is likely.

We want to seed a large mix of cold season perennial grasses during fall 2020.

We want to seed a large mix of warm season perennial grasses during spring 2021.

As we don’t want to till and drill the seed into the soil we plan on mimicking nature by spreading out the seed before the cows enter a paddock and then let them trample it into the soil while they graze. We then manage their return so that the seed has time to germinate and the young plants can grow enough before the first grazing.

Paddock layout

Water retention and frequent animal movement are crucial elements for pasture management. To help with both we use different paddock layouts depending on the terrain.


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