Pasture recovery

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Pasture recovery

ClaireF's picture
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Joined: 14/02/2017

Hi
wondering if you would have any tips on improving our pasture.
We are on 5 acres and like so many many others our paddocks have been hot badly by the drought this summer.
Our paddocks are north-west facing and sloping at a 20 degree angle and what grass is left is yellow and turned to a crisp by the sun.
We have one "sacrificial" paddock in which the horses are staying and we have them on hay. We tried to spare whatever grass is left in the other paddocks by keeping the horses out.

The soil is quite compacted as this was also used for horses before we moved in.

Would you have any tips on improving the grass in our pasture?
Would mulching help and would you recommend plowing at all?
I'm afraid of plowing due to the slope on our property that any fertile souls might wash down during the next rain
Thanks in advance for any suggestions
I'm completely new to this!

Cheers
Claire

comments

admin's picture
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Joined: 28/02/2011

Hi Claire,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the question.

You are doing a lot of things right by having a sacrifice paddock. In drought I often see farmers open all the gates in the hope that the livestock will get a bit of feed from one of the paddocks, in reality everything gets over grazed and pastures recovery slowly when rain does come.

Before you do anything I would suggest that you get a soil test 

http://farmstyle.com.au/book/soil-test-interpretation-results-fertiliser...

http://farmstyle.com.au/news/guide-soil-testing-small-farms

The results will provide you with the soil ph and other important information (macro and micro nutrients) which will help guide you in selecting the optimum pasture species. You may also be able to improve the existing pasture by rebalancing the soils nutrients.

If your paddocks are on a slope (even if they are not) I would not recommend ploughing. Using a chemical knockdown and direct drill is my preferred approach to establishing a pasture. 

With horses you want to keep away from pasture species that contain endophyte (tall fescue, perennial ryegrass) as these can cause health issues and select species that can handle grazing pressure.

I hope this information has been of assistance.

Charlie

ClaireF's picture
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Joined: 14/02/2017

Thank you so much Charlie!
That is very helpful

Cheers
Claire

barra's picture
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Joined: 07/11/2012

Hi, All your questions depend on rain.

B4 u can decide what to do you need to have a soil test.

Then its a matter of research for your soil type, and spending money.

Erosion control, try contour plowing, 

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