Probably the most expensive mistake I’ve made since I began farming has been overgrazing my pastures. When we moved to this place, the height of the grass in the fields consumed my children when they ran down to the creek. Not anymore….
Granted, it is winter but still, even at the peak of the season for forage, my fields are sorely lacking. I ran too many goats on these fields and I didn’t realize they were pulling up roots. I didn’t do any rotational grazing either – hadn’t even heard of the technique.
When I realized what was happening to my food supply for the animals, we sold most of the goats and I started to institute a rough plan for rotational grazing.
Unfortunately, with so little vegetation in the fields, a lot of the top soil washed down the hill leaving very large bare spots. Recently, I bought old round bales of hay – this one in the picture was $15.
I unrolled the bales and by hand, covered as much of the bottom pasture as I could. The bale is Rye grass and my hope is that it will reseed and the mulch hay will hold it in place and as it composts, feed the new seed. I’ll also buy more seed and throw it into the hay.
I’ve also put up electric fences to keep the animals off of the new seedlings. Since it’s winter, I have to hand feed them anyway so I might as well take advantage of their confinement.
So far the plan is working well and with the spring rains in the forecast, it’s looking promising.
Of course, my Guineas think I’ve gone to all this trouble just for them!
I do run all my animals together
which also helps with parasite control.
This is one of the quadrants that we hand sowed in the fall. I find Edward (the cow) longingly looking over the electric fence at the lush green new shoots!
My hope is that all this hard work and patience will pay off.
My first words of wisdom to those who tell me they want to run livestock on their farm – take very good care of your fields!!