reclaiming old pasture

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by leigha, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    This 5 acre pasture has not been used for about three years. There are hollow stalks of something all over it about 6 feet tall. Then closer to the ground, there is very thick cover, almost like a bed of hay. Would you just bushhog it down gradually starting with a high setting. In doing so, I'm afraid we're going to run over the water source or maybe something else that's down in that thick bed. We eventually want goats on it. There are no small trees or thick brush just huge weeds I guess. It's fenced and cross-fenced but it's hard to see the fencelines.
     
  2. Browsercat

    Browsercat Well-Known Member

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    Chop it down to a dull roar and set some pigs on it?

    Those hollow stems don't sound good; if they look like bamboo, you might have a pernicious weed that is hard to get rid of.
     

  3. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    Thanks browsercat. The tall stalks look like wheat at the top.
     
  4. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    If you're going to have goats then that's your answer straight off. Goats enjoy browsing and thrive on it. You say it's fenced and cross-fenced, so you can manage the garazing well. Use the goats to get the pasture down to where you can see what's there, whether it's logs or stumps or working or abandoned machinery or rolls of old fencing wire or unused posts or whatever; then make the next decision.

    If you're not ready to go with dairy goats at first, buy some clean healthy boers and make money (and establish your agricultural status for tax purposes) from the word go.

    Incidentally, you didn't say where you are or what sort of climate you have, which makes things difficult. However, I can promise you that no wheat is anywhere near 6' tall. More like 2' or 3'. What you have is possibly some form of millet, or more likely grain sorghum.
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Have your local ag agent come out to do plant id for you.

    I would recommend bushhogging from the top down. For the first round don't lower the bushhog much and have at least one person walk in front of the tractor to make sure of what it will encounter. Then down to maybe halfway. Then down to ground level.

    If you wrap up a length of fencewire around the bushhog blade, you are probably going to have to go someplace and have it cut off.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  6. If your in my neck of the woods it sounds like you have a field of Johnson grass. If left uncut johnson grass can reach 8 - 10 ft. high. You don't want to let livestock eat large amounts of this while it is still green cause it swells causing severe bloating. Can kill a cow. However if you have livestock already in the field before spring growth starts again they will keep it ate down enough to where they want gorge theirselve to death on it.
     
  7. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your replies. I'm in North Alabama, zone 7. I like the Boer goat idea, anybody got any good info, sites, etc.?
     
  8. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Put the goats out to graze if your fences are good. They will eventually reveal to you what is there.
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    This brown plant with the hollow stems that looks like wheat is probably broomstraw/broomsedge. If it is then you will be needing lime as that is a typical acid plant here in the south that is used as an indicator for needing lime applied. When you get the Ph corrected the original pasture plants will rebound. Take a sample to the nearest farm store and ask them what it is and also ask is they have soil boxes for sending samples in for soil analysis. If they sell fertilizer/lime, this should be a freeby in order to attract your business
     
  10. Silvercreek Farmer

    Silvercreek Farmer Living the dream. Supporter

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    I believe in letting what grows grow for pasture. Remove poisonous plants, maybe make some small adjustments to nutrients to get things going, but nothing that has to be done year after year. Perhaps inoculate a species that I think may do well if it is not present. But this business of tilling an entire pasture, adding tons of lime and fertilizer, then buying a expensive pasture mix, all just to watch it die at the first sign of drought, is not for me. Always remember, what is growing there wild is what can survive best. Hopefully these are native species, and if that is the case they have millions of years of evolution under their belts to survice in your particular area. Other than that, build good fences, throw the hogs, goats, and chickens in there and let them go to town!
     
  11. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

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    We've found here in KY, with all this fescue, that mowing, mowing, mowing, will really green/thicken up your pastures and bring new life back to them. Just like mowing your yard, keeping your pastures mowed, down to 6 inches or so, will really put the nutrients back in the soil. The green blades you cut off are nitrogen, and feeds your soil. Plus mowing will keep the weeds from going to seed. Here, our only hope is keeping it mowed and from going to seed, and then adding better grass seed. Lime is cheap, and will over time, get rid of broomsage, and sweeten your soil.

    You'll probably need to bush hog your pasture several times, and then again after it dries, to break up all that grass mess. But if you keep mowing it, it will clean up. All that dead grass laying there will keep it too wet and not able to get sunshine.