seeding, pasture care and capacity of/for small acreage

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by angus, May 1, 2005.

  1. angus

    angus Somewhere in Oklahoma

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    Hello,

    I am very new to this idea but am considering buying some small acreage for homesteading.

    Questions:

    1) What kind of equipment do I need to maintain a small 5-10 acre pasture? Can I manually broadcast?
    2) Assuming good land that has plenty of moisture ( 40-45 inches rain per year ), how many head of cattle per acre is possible ( .5 or 1 ) ?

    Many Thanks In Advance for All Replies
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    You might want to talk to your local extension agent about stocking rates for your area. There are LOTS of variables, depending on location, soil, weather, temperatures, grass variety, etc.

    If you put in the right grass for your area, you will only have to plant once. But broadcasting won't work on most modern grass seeds. Seeds need to be in the soil, not on top.

    More info needed to answer your questions, too. Is there established grass, what kind, has it ever been fertilized? Do you have fences?

    Even with small acreage, you can do rotation grazing and have a higher stocking rate and healthier grass and cattle, but it is more labor intensive.

    Remember that you are at the beginning of the learning curve! :)
     

  3. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    You will need to mow, preferably with a bar so your hay will not be too chopped up. A small tractor would be handy but you could get by with regular lawn equipment.
    You will need to control "edges" because when you have a small property every inch counts, so you definitely don't want something too big.
    You will need some kind of means to rake your hay, so I would want a simple one for the tractor to pull. You can manage without a baler on that size if you don't mind doing some manual labor, just create your haystacks by hand.

    I have broadcast seeded 15 plus acres by hand, and it was enjoyable work.

    BTW, note to Rose - in the colder climates, if you seed in spring when the frost is just breaking up, the alternating freezing and thawing will cause the seed to make contact down in the soil.
    Also, if you seed and turn stock out on the area immediately, the stock will trample the seed into soil contact.
    There are a few other methods I've read about, but not tried - like coating the seeds with clay etc.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Here in zone 7, I can carry a cow calf pair (selling the calf at 450+lbs.) on 1 1/2 acres year around . Using rotational grazing, very little if any hay is required. I fed no hay during the winter of 04-05. You could buy a few round bales for emergency needs. The key is to get the pasture seeded, roots established, fenced and cross fenced PRIOR to stocking the pasture with animals. An ability to mechanically clip the pastures is really all the machinery you need to own. I could maintain 5 acres with a weedeater and a garden sprayer.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Here in Kansas, they mow yearly to kill any trees that have sprouted. Yearly mowing is necessary: anything else will make the pasture better but is not vital.
     
  6. angus

    angus Somewhere in Oklahoma

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    Thanks Everyone!! I love this site ... I stumbled across it a week ago and really enjoy it. It is great to know that there are other people actually doing what I have been thinking about doing ( homesteading ). I didn't even know there was a name for it. Just wanted to do something to change my lifestyle and learn to be more self-reliant.

    Anyway, I do have one other question regarding this thread:

    What about fertilizing, liming ( if needed ) etc on small acreage ... If you really had to do that I assume you would need a small tractor? If so what type of attachment would help you perform these tasks.

    Thanks Again So Very Much and God Bless !!
     
  7. BFFhiredman

    BFFhiredman Well-Known Member

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    Angus:

    We purchases a Herd seeder a year ago and have been very pleased. It can be used for seed, fertilzer, lime etc. It holds 700 lbs. of material and runs off of the tractor PTO.

    Here's the website for the company. The seeders are made in Logansport, IN.

    http://www.herdseeder.com/index.php
     
  8. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    Angus, run, don't walk, to get All Flesh is Grass by Gene Logsdon and Salad Bar Beef by Joel Salatin. Look for used on Amazon or Half.com.

    Follow up with other books by Logsdon: The Contrary Farmer,The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening, and Living at Nature's Pace.
    Then some of the other Salatin books. These will give you large pictures of what is possible. Follow several of the forums on this board.

    Get as much land as you can afford, but perhaps you'd best read the Logsdon books before you look too far.

    Where are you currently located?

    Welcome and Happy Farming!!
     
  9. pinemead

    pinemead Well-Known Member

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    Angus, I have a 3 ac hay field that I paid my neighbor a very small amount to reseed for me. He now cuts and bales it and we split the hay. Don't know if you know anyone in your area that could do that, but it's worth the look.