Spring is here and now is the time to consider giving your paddocks the attention they need. All too often the effects of over winter grazing are more than apparent with poached gateways, churned up fields, minimal grass and the wonder of how your paddocks may ever recover for the coming year. Here are a few helpful tips to get the most out of your pasture for grazing stock and satisfaction of knowing your grass is green and healthy.
Harrowing is one of the simplest but most effective tasks you can perform. It removes the dead and weak grass enabling light and air to penetrate the soil encouraging good spring growth. It will also have the benefit of levelling mole hills and unsightly poached areas created by animals walking fence lines, paddling gateways and winter feeding areas. If there are many droppings it is preferable to remove them prior to harrowing, however for lesser amounts the harrow will scatter the remnants and expose the parasite larvae to the sun and air which can help to kill them off.
Rolling with a heavy flat roller helps to level out uneven ground and is best done when the soil has begun to dry out but still soft enough for hoof marks and ruts to be rolled out. It will firm up the ground and reduces the risk of further damage. Crushing the grass crowns maximises growth by encouraging the plant to spread.
Fertilising is best done in the spring to provide all the essential nutrients for good strong plant growth. The level of application will vary depending on the requirement of the grass, for example whether it is for grazing or produce a crop of hay. For grazing, horses require good quality grass. It must be nutritionally well balanced and not overly rich in nitrogen. The first and most critical application is made in the spring and repeated when necessary depending on how heavily the area is grazed. A slow release, low nitrogen fertiliser is recommended so as not give horses an unnecessarily high level of protein.
Specialist paddock maintenance contractors can offer this at the same time as harrowing and rolling to reduce the cost.
Spring is also an excellent time to reseed gateways and areas that have become poached over the winter. Without reseeding the bare ground will soon become populated with weeds and a good quality grass sward is the best barrier to preventing this invasion.
For advice and information on how Shire Country Services can help with all of the above in a friendly and efficient manner please contact us to discuss your requirements.
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