Happy pastures

Wow what a day. My youngest is 3 today and we have had constant visitors. I have found a quick gap to write this blog before tea time.

Continuing on from yesterday, I once read a book about a top horse breeder in the UK that said a pasture is only good if it has 80 species in it. I don’t know about 80 but I definitely believe that there needs to be at least 20. Our Agronomists always wanted to spray spray spray so that there only ended up having the one rye grass species that we originally sowed. And maybe some clover. Often we would see our cows down on their knees reaching under the fence to graze the areas that weren’t sprayed and were abundant in grass species and “weeds”. The cows would also reach over or under the fence on their way to the dairy eating along channel banks that were a bit wild and woolly for the same reason. 

We considered ourselves excellent grass growers because we always had more grass than the others in the district. Our closest neighbour had unruly pastures and not much of them. He spent a pittance on his pastures, got minimal milk from his small framed, cross bred cows and for me the question was, not look how terrible his cows and farm are but if he puts in little and gets more than he puts in than he is doing something right in my world. After all isn’t that what we all want, more in comings than out goings?

The man who used to spray our pastures one day told me to do an experiment and not spray every paddock out as there is plenty of seed in the ground. Well, that worked a treat. No one could tell the difference after the first graze. Our nutritionist was flabbergasted at the amount of “weeds” in the pasture and wanted us to spray the pastures. I dug my heals in and took a risk and the paddock ended up superb. Lots of healthy grass, bugs and happy cows. My mum was too scared to allow me to do this to larger areas so I was always limited as to how far I could push my experiment regardless of the initial results. When you look at a clover plant or rye plant there are hundreds of seeds on each plant and if you allow a section or paddock to go to seed each year then imagine the amount of seed deposited for next season. Also the amount of organic matter that creates.

Another experiment I started but was over ruled on was to let the paddock go to seed, then spread seed with a fertiliser spreader then mulch the long grass over the top. The idea was to create organic matter on top of a seed bed. Also in the paddock beside it I was going to only mulch. And the other paddocks beside them were going to be worked up and seeded as was usual practice on that farm. I wanted to see the performance, side by side. This was on a different farm where there was an unknown history and heavy clay soils. I never got to see the results as the father came in and ploughed the paddocks up and sowed into the worked up ground.  

If you are wondering what is my fascination with diversity, I believe that different plants bring different minerals and vitamins, therefore creating a healthier cow and soils. Which transfers to a healthier product at the end re: milk and meat.

Ok I had better sign off for tonight and make something healthy for us to eat.

Again thanks for reading.         

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