It has been a long wet winter and your livestock pastures and fencing will have taken a hit. Between now and the end of March is the time to give your horse, pony, cattle and sheep grazing a bit of tender, loving care.
The first thing to do is walk all your fence lines. Check all the fence wires, posts and, if using electric fencing, your grounding system. Make sure wire is not rusted, frayed or broken. Check that posts have not split or rotted in the wet weather and make sure all tension wires are holding up well.
The spring is a good time to make repairs as the ground will be soft so replacing posts is an easier task.
For any major repairs or if you have new pastures that need replacing, get in contact with Jamie Dodd on 07766815830.
At Dodd & Co we always work hard to make sure our pastures are in tip top condition. below are some of the measures you can take to ensure that your grass is lush and nutritious this spring, summer and early autumn.
Know your soil
Soil testing is important as it gives you a good idea of what fertilisation might be necessary. Getting the correct fertiliser, along with correct moisture levels, will optimise the growth and potential of grass. If you are working to reduce the amount of fertiliser you use, frost-seeding grass is a good idea. This involves broadcasting seeding grass on existing pasture when the ground is still frozen.
The cycle of thaw and freeze helps work the seed into the soil for germination. Allow six weeks to two months after germination before you start grazing it as this allows the roots to establish in the soil.
Manure management is another factor to consider. Uneven distribution of mature leads to uneven growth. To encourage more even grass growth, drag pastures as soon as the manure pats are not frozen. This helps break up the manure and it is absorbed back into the soil faster.
Weeds always present a headache for owners of livestock. Rotational grazing is one answer. If possible, rotate your grazing areas so the pasture gets rest time. This will maximise forage growth and encourage desirable plants and plant parts.
The benefits seen from implementing a rotational grazing programme include more forage, more plant diversity, greater control of grazing heights, and opportunities to extend the grazing season.