Grazing pastures

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Grazing pastures

I have a small farm of 170 acres in the Inman Valley, South of Adelaide with 30 inches of rainfall. My pasture in one paddock is green but drying and about to seed. I rotational graze but the season has been excellent and my stock numbers have not been high enough to eat the extra pasture. Do I leave this paddock which has an abundance of rye, clover and phalaris to die or do I slash it down now before it seeds so some goodness goes back in to what has been a paddock of sorrel, cape weed and other weeds. I applied lime last year which has reduced the weed component significantly this year. If I leave it to die won't this paddock receive a setting of seed for futue years. I am confused and would like to talk with one of your consultants and read more about this?

Regards,
Geoff 

charlie's picture
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Joined: 31/05/2011 - 9:44am

If you have excess feed at the moment, I would leave the paddock to set seed. After the ryegrass and phalaris has finished seeding you could then slash it down to encourage breakdown of the organic material. The phalaris will not die as it is a perennial, the clover and ryegrass are both annuals and will die and both rely on seed set for next years recovery. 

Slashing the pasture post seeding will allow sunlight into the pasture base and encourage germination of sub and white clover next autumn.

As a general rule of thumb, tall, lax (occasional) grazed pastures tend to be grass dominant, whilst short, hard grazed pastures tend to be clover dominant.    

If you have phalaris dominant pastures, it is recommended that you allow the phalaris to flower and set seed once a year. During this process the plant will draw down nutrients and energy into its root system, building it up making the plant stronger and more resilient to drought, over grazing and insect attach.

If you would like more information or a farm inspection let me know and I will organise our South Australian small farm consultant to make contact with you.

barb's picture
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Joined: 23/11/2011 - 9:38am

Hi Geoff,

Here is an idea. If you don't have sufficient stock to utilise all of the available pasture, and depending on need in your area, it could be an opportunity to make a little extra cash by bailing and selling some of the excess. If you have a farm inspection by a consultant he will be able to give you an idea of how large a paddock to set aside. Pasture for hay is usuallly slashed and bailed for hay when the 'milk' starts to rise and the seed heads begin to form.

There is usually a need for hay by both large farmers and hobby farmers in winter when good quality pasture may not be as readily available. A friend of mine had the contractors bail 40acres of his pasture during summer before the pasture started to hay off. He didn't own the equipment needed but hired a contractor to do it and was charged $1.60 per small square bail by the contractor. He later sold the bales of hay during winter for $5.00 each, kept 100 bails for his own use and made quite a tidy profit. Caution  though, make sure that there are no noxious weeds in your pasture as other graziers won't thank you if suddenly there paddocks are full of weeds from your hay.

Barb

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