Monday, May 12, 2008

Grazing Again

One of the first posts published in this blog showed the operation and described the benefits of spreading mule manure on pasture to naturally fertilize the soil. It has been about 6 weeks since that application and I thought it would be nice to show the current pasture condition. In that time we have had some good rains and warmer weather, that when combined with the fertilized soil, have allowed the pasture grass to grow up to a good grazing level.

We have sectioned our pasture into three grazing paddocks. Each paddock is approximately one-half acre in size. By allowing the animals to graze about 3 weeks in each paddock, we can achieve a six week rotation.

Here is a picture of one of the grazing paddocks as we were spreading the manure right at the end of March:

At that time, the animals were rotated to the neighboring paddock in which they grazed for about 3 weeks. They were then rotated to a third paddock at which time the second paddock received an application of manure. The animals then grazed in the third paddock for about 3 more weeks. During that 6 week timeframe, the pasture in the first paddock shown in the picture above was left alone to receive rainfall and sunshine which allowed the nutrients from the manure to enhance the fertility of the soil. The grass in the paddock responded nicely and is ready for grazing again as can be shown in the following pictures.

This three week rotation will continue as long as the weather cooperates. The variety of grasses that are planted in the pasture tend to grow best during the relatively cooler weather of the spring and early summer, and then again in the fall before the freezing weather sets in. However during the heat of July and August, the grass grows much slower such that we sometimes have to add a fourth paddock to the rotation.

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