Seeding New Pasture

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BertaBurtonLake, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone! I am new here as a poster, but have been reading this treasure trove of information for quite some time.

    I just tried twice to post a detailed message, but due to operator error (lol) was unable to do so properly, so I am going now with the "reader's digest version".

    We are going to be sowing a new pasture (created from land just cleared of timber) of about 3 acres which will be home to 5 hair sheep (coming in June) and a family milk cow, 2 draft horses, and a few pigs (coming sometime in the future). This pasture will be fenced and crossfenced for rotational grazing.

    My questions are these: Can we pasture all the animals together or should they be rotated through on after the other and in what order? What mix of grasses should we sow? I was thinking a mix of red clover, Ky bluegrass, orchard grass, meadow fescue, birdsfiit trefoil, timothy and alfalfa. Is this a good mix for our purposes? In what proportions should we sow the different seed?

    I am looking forward to hearing any suggestion and information from all of you knowledgeable folks. Thanks for this forum of wonderful people with such a depth and range of practical knowledge and experience. You all are awesome!

    ~Berta
     
  2. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    first off i think you are putting to many animals on 3 acers
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Leave the pigs where they are now, they will destroy a pasture. Plan on feeding about 75% puchased grain and feeds for that many animals - the count guarantees you a sand lot very quickly.
     
  4. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Well, we actually have 3 acres we are fencing in now which is already in pasture. As I said, I had a more detailed post which I tried to send twice but kept mucking it up.

    For brevity's sake, I only posted my questions regarding the NEW pasture. I was not asking about how many animals I could have, only what would be a good pasture mix to plant for the animals we are going to have.

    Thanks for the reply,

    ~Berta
     
  5. mikeg

    mikeg Active Member

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    Fresh pasture this time of year, yes I would stop at the sheep and see what you can get out of it. I would definatly cross fence or put electric up to divide it in half may be even quarter it. If the ground is disked up and ready to seed this time of year I would put in some blue and anual rye to get some coverage and then go in with a pasture mix in september with some clover added. keep the traffic off till it gets established and then add a cow. You def. don't want to put a couple of draft horses and pigs in there it just won't keep all of that stock.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I seriously doubt that you will be able to establish a pasture this time of year that will carry any livestock thru the summer and the grass survive. If it turns dry at all it will challenge the grass to have enough root to live till Fall. I would not use the pasture until Fall if it were mine. I would let it grow and become established without having to survive the stress of animal grazing.
     
  7. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    im sry i didnt meen to sound nasty i wasnt shure you knew i guess you do once again sry.
     
  8. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    I'm reading "All Flesh is Grass" by G. Logsdon right now. He talks extensively about the various mixtures currently in use - I highly recommend the book.

    Your mixture sounds like it could have too many varieties competing with one another.
    It might be better if you sow each of the paddocks with a different variety - for instance - one with a drought tolerant mixture for the drier months, one for cool weather varieties for later in the year, etc.
    He says he even maintains one paddocks with lots of wild herbs and weeds as the "medicinal" pasture.
     
  9. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use the left overs on the hayroom floor to seed with. Our hay is in the excellent range so it has alot of seed heads and green in color mostly. We have also just taken a bale out and scattered it when there wasnt much waste on the floor. It has worked very well for us.
     
  10. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Hi again..

    A little info about our endeavor by way of an introduction. We bought this 11 acres with a gorgeous post and beam stable (10 stalls incl a stallion stall, tack room, hayroom, water and electric) and an older but in decent shape doublewide. The entire property has woven wire perimeter fencing with a strand of electric at the top. We are lakefront on a 76 acre lake with a small year round creek running through the property. It just kinda fell into our laps 3 year ago June 25. We belive it was a real blessing. I had always wanted a place where I could do a self sustaining venture with garden, fruit trees, and limited livestock.

    The land is about 40% open the 60% wooded. There is a nice level spot which was a riding ring that we will build a house on at some future date.
    In the meantime, that riding ring and the adjacent grassy area (about 2.5 acres) will be fenced for the sheep (Katahdins- 4 ewes and a ram, 2 months old) which will the first part of June. The stable has an open corner stall which we will use for hay in the winter months and we will fence a small corral to include that corner and attach to the board fence paddock behind the stable. The grass in this entire area is very thick and green and I will pasture the sheep on it.

    The trees we just had cleared will be an additional pasture. It will probably take a year to get it in shape to recieve animals. I don't really know how long it will take to get the additional livestock, but it will be a gradual thing as we can save for it. Our philosophy is to avoid debt like the plague so we will do things a little at a time as we can afford it.

    The sale of the timber from the land we just cleared is going to finance the fencing of the riding ring area to the stable as described above, the purchase of the sheep, and preparing the cleared land as pasture. We will not be putting any animals on the "new" pasture for a year. I think we can sow it soon, though, as we can irrigate it from the creek to get the grasses established. The sheep will have about 2.5 acres on which to graze when they get here and I believe that is more than enough for them until we get the new pasture established. We will be using the step-in electric fencing to section off areas of that area so as to rotate grazing.

    Minnikin- I have that book on order from the local bookstore. It is supposed to be in this week and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    mpillow- I don't have any hay yet, so I will have to buy seed to sow the pasture with, but that is a great idea for the future.


    mtman- I am really sorry if I came off sounding beligerent to you. I did not mean to sound that way. I was just so frustrated that my original tries at posting the information in this post, which would have given you much better background information with which to answer my questions, had failed. Please forgive me if I sounded rude.

    agmantoo- Thank you for the valuable infomation. It confirmed my initial leanings that it would take some time to establish the new grass. There will be no animal load on it until next year and I think we can baby it along with irrigation this summer to increase the chances of it getting well established before animals are using it. After reading the expanded version of our plan, do you think this is reasonable?

    moopups- We don't have pigs yet, so leaving them were they are is not a problem..lol. I am still in the planning stage on how to do the pigs. I would like to breed Gloucestershire Old Spots, but have to save a while for them as they are at a premium, but there is a market for them as they are in trouble as a breed. Lots of folks want them, but there are not that many around. Also the gene pool is small (like all the GOS in the WORLD are from 4 boars and 15 sows), so breeding has to be done very carefully. I am not 100% sure I want to get into that, but am leaning towards it.

    Anyway, thanks to you all for the replies and suggestions. I hope I have not bored you to tears. I just wanted to explain a little better what our deal was.

    Warm regards to all,

    ~Berta
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I live in southern Minnesota, short growing season, wet springs, dry Augusts. So my comments will have that background - might not apply to you at all.

    As mentioned you need to take a full year to get that pasture established.

    Hogs are hard on fence & pasture - they like clovers & alfalfas for the protien, some but not so much grass.

    Cattle will bloat on too much clover/alfalfa. You can graze it at less than 50% of the stand with minimal risk, and can graze a pure stand but great risk, takes good management skills I won't get into here. Me, I would want a legume in the mix to supply N to the grasses......

    Are you figuring 4 paddocks from this new area? I would plant each one to something a little different. A warm season grass (these are _very_ hard to establish but once you do, will last forever, slow in spring but produce through the dry summer), and cool season grass area (this will produce a lot of hay early on, little in dry fall), and a couple of 'different' padocks with some of your unusual stuff. Might leave one for anual grasses/turnips etc., these produce more tonnage/ protien per year, but you need to replant every year. You can stockpile this area for winter grazing, let the critters stomp the heck out of it over winter wet spring, and then replant in mid spring.

    Just different ideas to get a ball rolling. :)

    I probably would not mix a whole bunch of things all together. Typically 4 different things at max in one field.

    You will need to mow it to control weeds the first year. Do _not_ let weeds go to seed.

    --->Paul