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A NEW DIRECTION FOR THE OLD RAM

Discussion in 'Everything Else Sheep' started by The Old Ram-Australia, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Nov 14, 2017
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    G'day BM,is it the case that you have to plant each year for summer pasture?In our district almost all of these sps would be regarded as perennial?Is the snow so deep that they do not survive over winter? I don't recall just how big your farm is ?Do you grow feed for over winter or do you have to purchase all your requirements?..T.O.R.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    We have 8 acres, about half wooded. The soil is sand, like beach sand without the ocean. We have worked to clear briars and brush. I have planted perennial grass seed, it came up, but the soil is so poor with no humus that the sand dried out and the seedlings died. The winter grasses grow well, but die in the heat. In the links below, I show how we are spreading wood chip mulch for humus on our sand. There is a gas pipeline right of way that goes the length of our property. It is seeded with the winter grasses now, but in early spring we're going to let the horses and sheep graze it down hard and spread the mulch. I intend on sprigging Bermuda grass as much as I can on the pipeline. We've planted Bermuda seed twice to only see the summer heat bake the sand and cook the roots.

    We don't get much snow, when it does snow, it's usually melted and gone in 3-4 days.

    We have dug Bahia and Bermuda grass (summer grass) off the side of the road and sprigged it. It will survive better than the summer grass seeds.

    Pasture #2
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/making-a-pasture.36612/

    Pasture #1
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/i-hate-green-briars.33715/
     
  3. Nov 14, 2017
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    G'day BM,you have a really interesting situation to deal with,firstly the use of "wood-chips" ,which in themselves only provide little nutrition to grasses(I would think?).The bacteria which break it down needs to be fed.How much wood chip is available?
    Do you stable your horses at night on straw bedding ?What about the sheep are they barned at night as well?
    Here is how I would approach your problem of the Summer dry,do you have an open fenced paddock of say "half an ac or so",if so I would create a series of furrows with say a plough across the prevailing slope,half fill it with wood chip,cover with partially decomposed well manured stable bedding,soil cover (thin) more wood chip.To my mind you need to hold the moisture "below" the surface ,the stable manure will provide the food supply for the decomposing bacteria,which will be a food and moisture source for the roots of the grasses as they grow ,the surface wood chip will help "cool" the surface until the grass is thick enough to hold surface moisture.
    I make "no guarantee" it will be the complete answer,but it is worth considering and perhaps others can add to the discussion...T.O.R..
     
  4. Nov 15, 2017 at 2:47 AM
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    BM, further to the above,I am curious what happens when the snow melts,is it absorbed into the sand or does it "run-off' and leave your place?T.O.R.
     
  5. Nov 15, 2017 at 7:00 AM
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    T.O.R.
    BM lives not too far North of me. Appreciable snowfall in SE Texas is very very rare. I had 1 day in which a couple of tiny flakes fell last winter..none at all the previous 3 winters.

    Agree, that the trick to get sandy 'soil' to retain moisture is to incorporate organic material INTO the soil and not just on top of it.
    Forests do a great job of creating rich composted soil from fallen vegetation, but it takes years and years for the decomposed layers to build up.
    I assume BM has had soil analysis done and knows what the pH is and is taking steps to make it right for the forages she seeks.
    E. Texas soils are notoriously low pH value (acidic) and it has to be corrected toward a more neutral base...usually with lime.
     
  6. Nov 15, 2017 at 8:28 AM
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    The wood chip mulch is already pretty much composted. We caught a high line crew cleaning the right of ways in our area and asked for the loads of wood chips. They were happy to bring us some and the crew foreman asked my husband if they could park their trucks here at night. They were here a couple of months and brought us near to 100 loads. It was combined twigs, chips, leaves and it worked up a heat with all the green in it. Steam rose off the piles.

    The barn is open, the horses come and go as they please. Straw is hard to come by in this area and most people use pine shavings. It might be hard to imagine, but pine trees are put through a large piece of equipment, and reduced to shavings. Pine trees are plentiful here. But since we have the wood chips, we spread them in the barn and let it mingle with the horse manure. Every few months we clean it out and spread it on the pipeline with the tractor bucket. Then we spread more wood chips in the barn.

    We got a LOT of loads of pine shaving from a nearby horse event center in the fall of 2015 and spread it in the garden and what is now pasture #2. The shavings were over a foot deep. We put pigs in the garden for the winter and ran the disc over the garden to smooth it out after we took them to slaughter. It's been 2 years and I still find pine shavings that haven't decomposed. In the picture, beyond the garden fence is pasture #2 and where the pine shavings are is now sporting a nice patch of Bermuda grass from sprigs I planted last fall.

    [​IMG]

    The sheep have an open 3 sided shelter they can get out of the rain or cold, but they mostly prefer to be in the open. They are currently in a dry lot with a round bale of hay, while the grasses grow. Our two Great Pyrenees keep them safe from predators.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 8:34 AM
  7. Nov 15, 2017 at 11:42 PM
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    G'day and thank you both for your reply's,our Granite based soils/sands usually run <5.5 and no amount of lime is likely to remedy the situation.(in-spite of years of trying by previous owners).We took the path of"least resistance" and rely mainly on the locally occurring Native sps along with the naturalized exotics and match our carrying capacity to match it.I would think with that much chip and the tannin in the Pine you would have a very acidic ground to work with.

    So here is how I would approach it,set aside a paddock and calculate Lime at 1 ton to the ac,spread it and "rotary hoe it as deep as the machine will allow,the idea being to get as much of the mulch and the Lime into the soil/sand itself.During the next "cool season" broadcast a mix of oats/winter wheat and see what happens.I would graze it once mid-season and let it run to,"head" and then broadcast the grass sps you want to encourage.Bearing in mind you are not going to get "much production" for maybe 2 years ,but if it is successful repeat the process gradually over the other suitable paddocks.What do you think GB ,is it worth a try?
    T.O.R.
     
  8. Nov 16, 2017 at 8:30 PM
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    We've consulted with our local fertilizer/lime man. Can't get a truck in here to spread it, too many trees in the wrong places LOL. We are going to get a load in the dump trailer and I guess I'll have to spread it with the tractor bucket or throw it out by hand. Oh well, we're used to hard work.
     
  9. Nov 17, 2017 at 5:25 PM
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    G'day BM,GB asked about your soil test if you had done one ,did it show Aluminum levels? Were they high,on our Granite's they tend to be.The Lime will certainly help in this regard as a high Al will lock up certain minerals and the plants will not be able to access them,just a thought.T.O.R.