"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Whats the problem that lime and gypsum is exacerbate? And how do you till in the compost when you aren't doing any tillage? Also if the indigenous biology knows how to deal with it why would add any in compost?
Good questions. I'm far from the expert that Elaine is, but;
In this context it's assumed that lime/gypsum will help clay based soils flocculate and improve structure - other people decide to lean on it to do other things, such as supply calcium into a system that sells calcium out the gate, or to "sweeten" soil that's being degraded by being hungry

Locally, you see a lot of this - clearing bush off land and then killing off the native biology/mycorrhizae by using tillage and brassicas (non-mycorrhizal hosts) and then rebooting the system with new grass species and fertiliser (because the mycorrizae are no longer there to feed the pasture, hence the bright yellow + p!ss patch appearance)

In this relatively inert substrate, it could be more beneficial to till in compost than simply leave it on the surface to blow away, anything that could have helped the process has largely been killed off anyway.

We just "sheet compost" by wasting a heap of grass early in the season and letting the soil do what soil does.
It's contextual, we have a much different context to if we were, say, trying to get plants reestablished on an old quarry or floodbank that is bare soil. That biology is going to starve quickly without a food source (plant exudates and litter) so compost is the quick way to deliver dinner.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Yes but my old girls only think of themselves and getting them to leave something for cattle would take some serious talking!!!!!!
Cattle are resilient and resourceful. Lambs are softcocks!
Regrowing grass is the only thing we need to protect, which is why I don't want to adopt the system I described above, "quality is king" falls over if your lambs are still hanging around in March and you have no feed.
I'd say about 35-40% of these lambs will be gone in the weaning draft, absolutely flying now. Best in the district is 42% fat off mum and I want to get close to that figure
 
How much are you leaving behind them, Dan?

It's good that you know your weights (and have data to bounce it off) because 'at least you know'

That's why we have so many cattle in with ours, in a nutshell we found the same thing a couple of years back when we had a lambing, they literally flew for a start and then hit the wall - we have a bit of a "gap" between when the grass is starting to lose quality and when the clover cranks up.
(Basically the last 4-5 weeks)
Not enough covers. The ewes were skimming the good stuff out and then standing around waiting to be moved. It was noticeable that the one bigger paddock we graze for 4 days the lambs looked good when we moved them off there each time. We've two paddocks we're managing differntally, they only get grazed for half as long and half as often., every 2nd rotation for half the time there area would need, it will be interesting to see how the respond.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Not enough covers. The ewes were skimming the good stuff out and then standing around waiting to be moved. It was noticeable that the one bigger paddock we graze for 4 days the lambs looked good when we moved them off there each time. We've two paddocks we're managing differntally, they only get grazed for half as long and half as often., every 2nd rotation for half the time there area would need, it will be interesting to see how the respond.
Interesting stuff! I think it's really crucial to do our own "probes" or "safe to fail experiments" or whatever you want to call it, and just play around with "it"
hence trying lambers with a few cattle, no cattle, a lot of cattle. 2 shifts a day, 2 shifts a week, just generally playing with things and trying to learn more.

I was a bit worried that our winter experiment was going to bugger the timothy in the sward and promote the earlier-seeding grasses (the sh!t grass) but it actually hasn't been the case.
20201224_153231.jpg

It was just timing, and it's all popping up now, but it looked like I had just done exactly the wrong thing and tried very very hard to do it 😳
 

GC74

Member
Try putting your hands in lime and wriggle them about for a bit , then don't wash them for a while. You will have your answer  (y) 
Hydrated lime is worse tho! I’ve spent lots of time reading reams skow Andersen and co so probably put more importance on have good levels of available ca.......looking at the “weeds” I have never quite achieved it........also know a guy who was into radionics as well and looking at those results and compare to what’s happening in the paddock it’s bang on the money!
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Hydrated lime is worse tho! I’ve spent lots of time reading reams skow Andersen and co so probably put more importance on have good levels of available ca.......looking at the “weeds” I have never quite achieved it........also know a guy who was into radionics as well and looking at those results and compare to what’s happening in the paddock it’s bang on the money!
It's a strange beast, Calcium. You'd think that there would be tons of available Ca given how much is applied but (as you said) the land tells a different story sometimes.
Maybe it's just "a biology problem" like all the other nutrient "deficiencies" really are.

Old mate at the beach has trouble on his sand country, pH 5 at the surface but if you dig a metre, it's pH 11 😳

and because it's super+lime, everytime, the grass roots are never going to go a metre. 6 inches maybe. Overgrazed

But the rushes and totara trees are loving life
 

GC74

Member
It's a strange beast, Calcium. You'd think that there would be tons of available Ca given how much is applied but (as you said) the land tells a different story sometimes.
Maybe it's just "a biology problem" like all the other nutrient "deficiencies" really are.

Old mate at the beach has trouble on his sand country, pH 5 at the surface but if you dig a metre, it's pH 11 😳

and because it's super+lime, everytime, the grass roots are never going to go a metre. 6 inches maybe. Overgrazed

But the rushes and totara trees are loving life
Available calcium is a biology problem....the issue is due the atomic weight of calcium it takes a lot of energy to make it available and will absorb all the biological “energy“ and things won’t grow (that’s reams).....I bet that paddock beside you fert store is like that simply because there’s too much there and none is available
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Available calcium is a biology problem....the issue is due the atomic weight of calcium it takes a lot of energy to make it available and will absorb all the biological “energy“ and things won’t grow (that’s reams).....I bet that paddock beside you fert store is like that simply because there’s too much there and none is available
I often think to pull a core and get it tested.

It will get heaps of super dust blown over it as well, but it always jumps to mind when people are wanting to get rid of daisies and buttercups and "old weed grasses" by putting lime on.

I just keep quiet though 🤷‍♂️ if people want lime on then I'll put lime on!
Their soils are wanting Carbon, so the carbonate has a good effect at high rates. (So does not taking all the cover away)
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
A mate of mine was showing me around his new shed, and we got talking about this way of farming. One comment from him was Don't tell me you're a hippy now! My reply, you'd be surprised how good hippies have it!
It's true, though.

The less I get in the way, the better things get in their own way.
Had 'a big push' yesterday, 2½ hours and that's it for the year 😀
 

The new Sustainable Farming Incentive

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The new Sustainable Farming Incentive

Written by Tom Lewis


Source: Natural England

At NFU21, The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...
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