Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am trying to set my farm up to be as "easy to manage as possible". Now I am not afraid of work, but I figure I have a clean sheet here. Why not design it and invest in it now so that I can make it as simple to manage as possible. As in low stock levels for mud and manure management, automatic watering, shared shelter etc. So your help is much appreciated especially with those of you in northern climates and experience with winter and thawing seasons.

Our stocking is going to be as follows, and I know this changes constantly as people change their minds. Life changes etc. But I am giving you highest stocking levels I will ever be doing until a day where I am fully retired and by then I will change everything lol. But what we are planning on for no less than the next 15 years. 5 feeder calves, 2 horses, 1 donkey. Then some ducks, chickens and turkeys.

I have had other threads where I mentioned my land being quite sandy and that top soil would be on its way. Some of you thought I was nuts but for the record I am 1000 tri axels in now, another 1000 is expected this week if the weather holds up. So I will have a full 20 acres with minimum 12" of top soil. So the pastures will be seeded very soon. Sand will be non existent anymore. Unless we decide we must have a sacrifice area..... see below to my plan first.

With that stocking level I plan to have 5 paddocks (first question is this even necessary? could I do less?)

The way they currently lay out I have NE - 4.2acres, NW - 4.0 acres, W - 1.9 acres, SW - 3.0 acres and SE - 2.8 acres.

My plan is to graze the animals together at all times. And move them weekly (or as the grasses allow me to but assume weekly) My goal is to actually do it all winter as well every week. But during those months throw hay bale feeders out there. Being in Canada winter is long, 7-8 months. But by rotating them weekly I figure the winter damage wouldn't be too bad if any at all.

So my question is do you think this strategy will work in regards to mud and manure management? Should I scrap the smaller W pasture and absorb it into the two smaller ones making them bigger?

Do you think in the thawing months even with this stock level for 1 week I would be destroying my pastures? I am trying to avoid a 7 month long sacrifice area that would require a ton of manure clean up all winter. Although if this is the best practice to keep my other pastures together I may adjust and do just that.

I plan on having automatic water systems in corners that can be shared between paddocks, and making run in shelters that are also in these areas so they can be shared between paddocks.

Sorry for another crazy long post. But your help is much appreciated. I will be posting pictures of the sand before, to the pastures hopefully by this fall that will be decent. Then the construction of everything a long the way.

Thank you
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
I would love to refer you to the USDA people, but I see you're in Canada, so I don't know if USDA would be of any help to you. Perhaps there's an equivalent organization in Canada? Anyway, for what it's worth, the NRCS branch of USDA can offer a lot of advice regarding layout, fencing, soil, water access, pasture grasses, etc. So, here's their website in case it's helpful: Home | NRCS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,650 Posts
12" of top soil over that large of an area is an amazing amount of dirt.
I can't speak for your location, but our soil is considered "Sandy Loam". I have areas on our property where the soil is as black as coffee, and after a heavy rain will be covered with enough sand to look like a beach. The ground just pushes the sand to the top.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
12" of top soil over that large of an area is an amazing amount of dirt.
I can't speak for your location, but our soil is considered "Sandy Loam". I have areas on our property where the soil is as black as coffee, and after a heavy rain will be covered with enough sand to look like a beach. The ground just pushes the sand to the top.
yes about half my land is a nice sandy loam. Quite decent for growing there is actually a nice pasture right now on about 6 acres. But then I have like 5 or so that are more sandy then soil which is growing some junk currently. Then I have 4 or 5 that are literally Sahara Desert.

The sand doesn't push up, what happens is the top eventually turns into sand. Sand has an inability to hold water for plants to thrive. Without plants growing and nutrients coming in, the soil goes barren, or sand. My idea is to cover it all deep enough where I have a head start and can plant my pastures. The soil will be good enough to give me a huge boost. Then I will have animals grazing and re fertilizing the land. I may possibly re import ferts and nutrients via minerals for animals, hay etc. This way I should be able to stay on top of it and keep the soil rich with nutrients which essentially is all that "top soil" is.

And yes it has been quite the feat getting all that soil. People in previous threads didn't believe me when I said I was getting that much soil. In my area it really is not that uncommon to get that much top soil. It all comes with soil test and lab reports so your sure it is all clean and from a good source. Within 1-2 hours of us, there are so many new homes going up and whole new neighborhoods, that the top soil literally sits in mountains at the front of the site. They take a little for what they need for there finish (like 2" of soil for sod lol) then get rid of the rest.
 

·
Registered
Acta non verba
Joined
·
1,134 Posts
I would imagine with frost the sand will work its way back up eventually, and the smaller soil particles may settle some between the grains but I really hope it improves the soil for your area. I like your creative approach and hope you keep the forum posted on the endeavors you do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh yes I imagine eventually I'll have sand between the blades of grass. But at that point the negatives of sand will be gone. As in the deterioration of the land, blowing sand etc. The pasture grasses will hold it all together is the assumption. Let's see if science works here lol. But this is also my reasoning for a very light stocking level. I feel if I go too heavy. Then I am going to have too many bald spots, trampled down areas etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,045 Posts
With that few acres and rotating winter paddocks, the amount of organic matter present in your paddocks, and making sure ground is always covered with forage should virtually eliminate any worries about soil loss. Rotate them to your higher, well-drained pastures during the sloppy periods and lower areas when frozen. Eliminate hay rings altogether if possible and don't sweat "waste" hay...there is no such thing as it pertains to pasture management and soil health. The more paddocks the better, but make them modular. A hot perimeter fence that you can cross-fence with polywire gives you a lot of flexibility, and will maximize your forage regrowth potential. Once you have a bulletproof perimeter fence, you can tinker with pasture layout. I try not to make anything permanent (other than perimeter fence) before grazing for a year or two.

Graze lightly and move often.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alice In TX/MO

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,233 Posts
Hello everyone. I am trying to set my farm up to be as "easy to manage as possible". Now I am not afraid of work, but I figure I have a clean sheet here. Why not design it and invest in it now so that I can make it as simple to manage as possible. As in low stock levels for mud and manure management, automatic watering, shared shelter etc. So your help is much appreciated especially with those of you in northern climates and experience with winter and thawing seasons.

Our stocking is going to be as follows, and I know this changes constantly as people change their minds. Life changes etc. But I am giving you highest stocking levels I will ever be doing until a day where I am fully retired and by then I will change everything lol. But what we are planning on for no less than the next 15 years. 5 feeder calves, 2 horses, 1 donkey. Then some ducks, chickens and turkeys.

I have had other threads where I mentioned my land being quite sandy and that top soil would be on its way. Some of you thought I was nuts but for the record I am 1000 tri axels in now, another 1000 is expected this week if the weather holds up. So I will have a full 20 acres with minimum 12" of top soil. So the pastures will be seeded very soon. Sand will be non existent anymore. Unless we decide we must have a sacrifice area..... see below to my plan first.

With that stocking level I plan to have 5 paddocks (first question is this even necessary? could I do less?)

The way they currently lay out I have NE - 4.2acres, NW - 4.0 acres, W - 1.9 acres, SW - 3.0 acres and SE - 2.8 acres.

My plan is to graze the animals together at all times. And move them weekly (or as the grasses allow me to but assume weekly) My goal is to actually do it all winter as well every week. But during those months throw hay bale feeders out there. Being in Canada winter is long, 7-8 months. But by rotating them weekly I figure the winter damage wouldn't be too bad if any at all.

So my question is do you think this strategy will work in regards to mud and manure management? Should I scrap the smaller W pasture and absorb it into the two smaller ones making them bigger?

Do you think in the thawing months even with this stock level for 1 week I would be destroying my pastures? I am trying to avoid a 7 month long sacrifice area that would require a ton of manure clean up all winter. Although if this is the best practice to keep my other pastures together I may adjust and do just that.

I plan on having automatic water systems in corners that can be shared between paddocks, and making run in shelters that are also in these areas so they can be shared between paddocks.

Sorry for another crazy long post. But your help is much appreciated. I will be posting pictures of the sand before, to the pastures hopefully by this fall that will be decent. Then the construction of everything a long the way.

Thank you
Hello everyone. I am trying to set my farm up to be as "easy to manage as possible". Now I am not afraid of work, but I figure I have a clean sheet here. Why not design it and invest in it now so that I can make it as simple to manage as possible. As in low stock levels for mud and manure management, automatic watering, shared shelter etc. So your help is much appreciated especially with those of you in northern climates and experience with winter and thawing seasons.

Our stocking is going to be as follows, and I know this changes constantly as people change their minds. Life changes etc. But I am giving you highest stocking levels I will ever be doing until a day where I am fully retired and by then I will change everything lol. But what we are planning on for no less than the next 15 years. 5 feeder calves, 2 horses, 1 donkey. Then some ducks, chickens and turkeys.

I have had other threads where I mentioned my land being quite sandy and that top soil would be on its way. Some of you thought I was nuts but for the record I am 1000 tri axels in now, another 1000 is expected this week if the weather holds up. So I will have a full 20 acres with minimum 12" of top soil. So the pastures will be seeded very soon. Sand will be non existent anymore. Unless we decide we must have a sacrifice area..... see below to my plan first.

With that stocking level I plan to have 5 paddocks (first question is this even necessary? could I do less?)

The way they currently lay out I have NE - 4.2acres, NW - 4.0 acres, W - 1.9 acres, SW - 3.0 acres and SE - 2.8 acres.

My plan is to graze the animals together at all times. And move them weekly (or as the grasses allow me to but assume weekly) My goal is to actually do it all winter as well every week. But during those months throw hay bale feeders out there. Being in Canada winter is long, 7-8 months. But by rotating them weekly I figure the winter damage wouldn't be too bad if any at all.

So my question is do you think this strategy will work in regards to mud and manure management? Should I scrap the smaller W pasture and absorb it into the two smaller ones making them bigger?

Do you think in the thawing months even with this stock level for 1 week I would be destroying my pastures? I am trying to avoid a 7 month long sacrifice area that would require a ton of manure clean up all winter. Although if this is the best practice to keep my other pastures together I may adjust and do just that.

I plan on having automatic water systems in corners that can be shared between paddocks, and making run in shelters that are also in these areas so they can be shared between paddocks.

Sorry for another crazy long post. But your help is much appreciated. I will be posting pictures of the sand before, to the pastures hopefully by this fall that will be decent. Then the construction of everything a long the way.

Thank you
Did you win the lottery!?!? 2000 tri axles is costly...
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top