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Hey, yall! Well I finally got myself out of the city and into place with about 2 pastures. 1 is about 6 acres and the other is about 2 acres. The larger pasture has a lot of Burdock in it and I was wondering how to prepare this pasture for the pigs I would like in the spring. My first thought was to go around and burn them but not sure if they will grow back. I picked all the burr plants from around the house but there are a TON more in the pasture. Any help would be appreciated!
 

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Congratulations. May we start with the fences. What shape are they in? Will they hold the pigs.

What is in the plant diversity besides burdock. Do you have a way to mow the pastures now? It may be getting late to try spraying the broad leafs like burdock now. There may be some things that you can spray early in the spring when things are actively growing that do not have slaughter withdraw restrictions.
 

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I still haven't fully decided on what I will use for fencing but I have heard of several people using a yellow electric "tape", 2 or 3 strands. There is pretty much just long grass (that I can tell) in the field. Last year there were a couple cattle there and they lived off the pasture all summer but I still want to do something to it. I have read a few things on here from Highlands and will be doing rotational grazing but I still haven't found anything that is black and white about how to start a pasture.

I can borrow my buddy's tractor that has a brush hog to mow the pasture and did think about just mowing down the burdock but didnt want to spread the seeds. Also, there are so many of them I am looking for a more time effective way then pulling them. I did put out a craigslist ad for goats since they will eat anything :)
 

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When i first started farming this old farm which was over grown with brush and about every plant on earth. I bushhoged it all off. Plowed it up good in the fall and disc it. In the Spring i plowed it again and disc and planted part it in 5 different grass. Other plots of milo,peas, and wheat, etc. Good food for the pigs. I didn't have much trouble with weeds coming back. You could burn it however i don't like to do that cause when you plow and disc so much black dust all over. Just one big mess.
 

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Ok, so I should just be able to plow and disk it up now and in spring and that should be the biggest part of it? I know I will have to keep going out there and looking for the young plants to kill them but that is just the nature of the beast.

Since I live in a Zone 4 area, what should I plant in my pastures in what time of year? I have heard a lot about this rape plant. I plan on talking to the local brewery and getting their spent grains as feed and whey from the local cheese factories. What plants would compliment those as feed?
 

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Our pigs devour burdock so I would leave that in there for the pigs to eat. It's good food. Ours also eat thistles, and pretty much anything else. Goldenrod is low on their like list. Milkweed is at the bottom but they will trample it so that after pastures get rotational grazing for a while the good forages tend to dominate. This is a matter of timing of the grazing cycles, enough animals on pasture, small enough pastures and seeding behind the animals, with mob, storm and frost, with the things you want to have in the pasture in the future.

There are some good posts here:

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/li...53-pasturing-planting-rotational-grazing.html

-Walter
 

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Highlands, I read about the way you mob, storm, and frost seed. How do you disperse the seed? I was just going to get one of those grass seed spreaders and use that. Will that work? Also, what seeds do you plant during each of them? Are they different for each season or the same? Thanks!
 

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Hand broadcast. I can toss about a 60' arc and then I overlap. Took about two weeks to do 70 acres after we cut the overgrown fields back to the original stone walls. Since then we've just had to do occasional spot seeding. I don't do seasonal replanting. Too much like work.

I like things that are perennials or self-reseed. We use soft grasses, legumes, brassicas, millets, amaranth, chicory, plantain and other forages. Variety is good. I expect your climate in Wisconsin is similar to ours in Vermont.

-Walter
 

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Personally I think you would be better off leaving what is there then using the pigs to build the pasture behind them using rotational grazing. Especially if you do not have any equipment now. I would spend the effort getting the fencing up to par, shelters, water system, etc. If you till it up you are also going to lose some grazing time. Native grass existing pasture would be ready to start grazing around the same time you would be able to plant, then you will have to wait 6-8 weeks before grazing.
 

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Personally I think you would be better off leaving what is there then using the pigs to build the pasture behind them using rotational grazing. Especially if you do not have any equipment now. I would spend the effort getting the fencing up to par, shelters, water system, etc. If you till it up you are also going to lose some grazing time. Native grass existing pasture would be ready to start grazing around the same time you would be able to plant, then you will have to wait 6-8 weeks before grazing.
We are new to pigs so take my advice with a grain of salt ... but I also feel that having the fencing, shelters, etc. should be your first priority. We have a woven field fence around the perimeter with electric about a foot off the ground. The farm we got our pigs from used a similar set up like this. The piglets have tested the fence a couple of times and now they stay away.

We also use a 48" portable electric net that the pigs respect. We use the net for keeping them out of the pasture that is being re-planted.

Our agg extension offers fertilizer suggestions based on your desired crop (including establishing a new pasture) with the soil test. So I would get the soil tested now so you can be ready.
 

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If you do plow it, with a moldboard plow, and plow it deep, you should bury any weed seed deep enuf that it shouldn't come back. If you have mostly grass with a bunch of broadleaf weeds that you would like to eradicate then spray it down with 24d this spring, that should kill the broad leaves but not effect the grass. Then you can try to broadcast some different things in the bear spots where the weeds were thick. I am in illinois but a lot of the time around here pastures were in places not fit to till otherwise they would be in row crops. Our cattle pastures have probably never been tilled, at least not in my life time. You never know what you may find if you go into a pasture with a deep tillage tool. You may do more damage than good.
 
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