Reviving neglected land


Livestock Farmer
North West

I thought I would try to pick some of your brains out there. At the end of the month (Feb) I'm taking on an approx 70 acre farm that has been left for around 3 years without any stock or anything on for that matter. The amount of docks, creeping buttercup, thistles and ragwort on the land is ridiculous! As is the thatch that is under it all! Fencing is nearly none existent with mostly being 2 or 3 strand of barb and a lot of rotten posts so some electric fencing has been implemented but more is needed.

I would love eventually to put in some high cover herbal leys or just some general species rich leys take on rotation grazing or potentially holistic grazing. current owned stock due to being a young farmer and starting from scratch myself is 4 heifers (to be Ai'd this June) and 30 sheep in lamb scanned at 193% (after all empty were taken out) and currently 7 ewe lambs to come into the flock next year.

My question would be.... Where would you all start?! like I said, only just starting out solo so I don't have a massive budget however any tips/tricks and ways of looking at it would me amazing and massively appreciated!

Thanks all

Highland Mule

Livestock Farmer
1. Train the stock to electric where you are now and so you don’t have to worry about them when you’re relying on it.
2. Mob graze, small areas and frequent moves. Get the animals to clear the ground for you.
3. Keep on top of animal welfare because (in the early days) you may get more attention with ground that looks bad.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either here or from your neighbours - we all started once.
think id cut and dump anything on the fields now
at least then you will have "some" grass come turnout time
plan to spray the worst bit first for weeds, be prepared to have to spray at least 2x for now
roundup the bits you will reseed, maybe even use spring barley first then back to grass
get a soil test done right through so you know where to put lime P and K etc
Decide which fields are worst, and plough one or two of them up ASAP. Plant 25kg spring barley and grass on them. Add 50 units N, let it grow on and then graze it down (mob stock) or cut it for silage. You could also swap the barley + grass for crop of kale then reseed behind the kale.

Soil test everything, add P and K and lime as needed.

Decide if any fields can be cleaned up with grassland herbicides to leave a reasonable sward or if they are a write off.

In the autumn you can also do the same and put on rape + turnips then reseed it next spring.


Mixed Farmer
I personally would be looking at mob stocking / high density grazing to clear the ground and get the nutrients back in the ground, there is some great threads on here about the subject and also look at Greg Judy's YouTube channel, fascinating stuff.

If you really want a quick fix over this season go the whole crop route, I broke 40 acres of a similar ground last year with spring barley that was meant to be whole crop but ended up going through the combine, only it is heavy ground I would have been tempted by some winter catch crops to get a good clean bed for grass this spring.


Livestock Farmer
Native cattle tight and mob graze to get through the thatch and encourage re-growth

Sheep across at critical points to try to get the ragwort rosettes , then face a few years pulling and alternate Spring and Autumn spraying if really bad

Get some Galloway cows and either chop them in after a few years or grade up to what you want (or just keep them)

BRB John

I'd asking around about borrowing a tractor and topper first and then spray once the weeds start growing in the spring.
And then I would focus on getting the land at least ring fenced if that's practical if not just fence the worse case scenario areas e.g next to main roads, rivers or housing.

And don't sell any hogs until you get your numbers upto at least 100.
Honestly I'd forget about the cattle just now sheep are far better at grassland restoration that cattle and will drain your profits rapidly until you have the infrastructure to support them.


What machinery or contractors do you have available? What do you WANT to do?

To train them to electric, put up one wire around the inside of your current sound fence, a little below knee height, close enough to the fence that they can't get between them. Keep it clean so it's hot and they'll learn very quickly to avoid the one wire, and not think of going through it.

Bucks Boy

Mixed Farmer
Took a farm on similar to this. I topped it all off with a mower. The Sward will be full of old rank grass and weeds. Nothing will want to eat and stock won’t do particularly well. I just let topped grass rot down and it was gone by the spring. Maybe a bit late now. This will give you a fresh regrowth. Probably don’t get anymore stock yet. Graze what you need and hay make the rest. You’ll then know if the grass is any good and what needs reseeding. Found electric fencing quickest and cheapest to start with. Also hedgerows probably need attention before any permanent fencing. I put wheat crops in some fields to clear weed burden first before reseeding.

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...