Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reestablishing an Old Pasture


What was wrong with the pasture? Raspberries, goldenrod and a serious water flow.
What is still wrong with the pasture? A serious water flow!

How I exterminated overgrowing nasties? Horses of course! Excellent browsers and stompers, severely helped my efforts.  I simply placed (2) 4yr+ green broke horses onto this 3/4 acre paddock and it turned to dust. The entire pasture was then raked by hand with help from friends and family of course! Reseeded, rained on, and even sprinkled by 4 lengths of hose and a rotary sprinkler.

The Research

Pastures: Going Organic By George L. Kuepper and Alice E. (2006) Beetz National Center for Appropriate Technology

A Brief Overview of Nutrient Cycling in Pastures By Alice E. Beetz, (2002) printable PDF version (11pg)

Establishing and Managing Horse Pastures printable PDF version (4pg) Jimmy C. et al., (2000) University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension

Paddock Design, Fencing and Water Systems for Controlled Grazing by Ron Morrow, revised by Alice Beetz,
updated and revised by Lee Rinehart, (2009) National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service printable PDF version (8pg)

ROTATIONAL GRAZING By Alice E. Beetz, (2004) National Center for Appropriate Technology printable PDF version (12pg)

Pasture, Rangeland and Grazing Management By Lee Rinehart, (2008)
printable PDF version (20pg)

Recommended Frost Seeding Rates by Species is included in the following table:

Forage Species Seeding Rate (lbs/acre)
Red clover 6 - 8
Ladino/white clover 2 - 3
Alsike clover 2 - 4
Annual Lespedeza 15 - 20
Birdsfoot Trefoil 4 - 6
Ryegrass 10 - 15
Orchardgrass 4 - 6

Frost-Seeding: Low-Tech Wonder or Wishful Thinking? by Tim Griffin University of Maine Cooperative Extension printable PDF version (2pg)

Improving Pasture by Frost Seeding Prepared by Stephen K. Barnhart, (2002) Iowa State University
printable PDF version (2pg)

These Steps to Reseeding Pasture are simple but thorough enough. Provided by the Colorado State Cooperative Extension courtesy of Kiowa Conservation District

Pasture Species: Forage Species Selection from RUTGERS New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Pasture Grass: The Healthy Choice from Your Guide to Equine Health Care

How is the pasture now?

Amazing! Tall grasses grows above knee height and are very palatable (according to my taste).

Completely reseeded with (2)25lb bags of Tractor supply Co. brand of "Multipurpose Mixture" I know, not the most organic approach but I was there to buy electric fence supplies and it was for sale!! The second reason to why I chose this particular mix was the inclusion of alfalfa. I like alfalfa. I meant to hay the pasture before winter for my rabbits but could not figure out the best mode of haying by hand. I really need to acquire a scythe.

Added a double stand of electric fence made from fiberglass posts and polywire. The moose and deer love to run into it and push the wire until the insulators slingshot off into the wetlands.

Farm Supply Store electric fence supplies. Has a unique fence building tool, in which you enter dimension, # of strands, etc. and is gives you a list of supplies needed. A good start if you've never installed electric fence.

Buck and Rail Fencing

 The option to use buck and rail fence is still at hand but will take quite a bit of time and trees. Trying to figure out the smallest angle at which I can create the frame of the buck while creating the tallest fence. Math for another day I suppose.

Photo by Peggy W

Wildland Urban Interface Project - Cattle Exclusion Fence Justin Maschhoff, James Dooley, and Jocko Burks, (2002) Forest Concepts, LLC          printable PDF version (5pg)

An Aspen restoration project to protect Harwood from big game using buck and pole fence.

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