How to turn dry field into pasture?

Alaskan

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It's variable. Definitely not sand, but not always nice dirt. Very red in most parts but not where there's been lots of vegetation or composted manure. LOTS of rocks in the ground too.

Guess we probably should do some sort of survey throughout the property to take pics of the different dirt at different locations.
The local extension office will also have soil maps. Soil maps are a great resource since you can see what is supposed to be there, and what ballpark you are sitting in.

They will also have lists of the top desirable plants in each soil type... as well asthe most common invaders...

With that info you only have to memorize how to identify maybe 10 different plants, 20 tops... and you can then walk through the property and have a very good idea of what you are dealing with.

Also... remember that goats love eating bushes...

And. .. at some extension offices they will come out and help you figure out what kind of place you have, as well as a good course of action, all for free.

Some areas have programs where they will pay 1/2 the cost to seed a pasture, as long as you promise to not graze it for 9 months afterwards ... or whatever....

Anyway, definitely worth looking into.
 

misfitmorgan

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Anything that makes shade is good for starting a pasture as long as light is filtering down. Sounds like fall/winter is an excellent time for you to get a pasture establishing before the summer heat shows up.

Goats will eat poison ivy, and strip bushes/brush as high as they can reach. Goats and sheep both will trim your trees as high was they can reach too. So when you are ready to break into the new areas just put up good fences in smallish parcels and put the animals in, they will do 90% of the work to clear the land for you then you just need to plant a new seeding. If you need things rooted up put in pigs for a season. You can check on my journal for pictures of what our 7 goats did in a few weeks on a 3/4-1acre pasture, I can post them here as well if you would prefer. Plus you get the bonus of some fertilizer while the animals work.

Animals can do amazing things for your land and actually save you labor and money in that aspect.

Don;t forget to update us here or make a thread on creating your pasture. Pictures to look back on are amazing, because we often dont see or recognize change after it happens slowly.
 

Beekissed

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I'd roll out mulch round bales on that all year, rolling them out real thick, to create a layer of rotting mulch. This will help you start to conserve what moisture you do get and also to start building you some deeper topsoil over time. Come late winter, early spring, when it's rotted sufficiently enough to hold roots, I'd broadcast seed right into that mulch layer.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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I'll have to research to see if we can get mulch round bales and how much they'd cost. Plus it's a slope so we'd have to figure out how to unroll them carefully and not send the whole thing down the hill ito crash through the fence.

The area I want to concentrate on has a big leaf layer, lots of buckeye and oak leaves.
 

farmerjan

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The leaves will definitely help to break down if there is some sort of manure or something to help with the composting process. Just watch because oak is acidic... you might want to get the soil sampled to see what the PH is too.... might benefit from lime as much as anything...
ANY kind of organic matter you can add will help....Stay away from any walnut leaves though... they have a tannin that will prevent plants from growing....
 

Baymule

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Unroll cross wise to the slope, going across and not up and down.

I have planted clovers to fix nitrogen in the soil. I plant rye grass with the clovers and keep baking soda out for the sheep so they don’t bloat. I let them graze for a couple of months then mow it. The humus from the clover and rye grass has helped my poor soil. I’d probably have done better just mowing the whole pasture without grazing, but just couldn’t do that, I HAD to let them graze that beautiful grass! LOL
 

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