Spring planting herbal ley

NewFarm

Member
I want to establish approximately 25acres of herbal ley this year.

Goals are to improve soil structure and fertility, and provide decent forage for sheep grazing.

Plan to plough to get a fresh start, Glypho is not an option.

After ploughing, plan to consolidate, and try to get a 3-4 weed flushes and mechanical kills before planting. Weed pressure is not terrible, but i do have some thistles.

I will put on some ground lime after ploughing.

Probably looking to plant early may (weather dependent). I may do half as spring and half as autumn down to spread my risk a little.

Does the above sound reasonable?

What is best practice once planted in terms of management?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
What's there now? If it's old pp, and/or couch, ploughing it under will likely are it look clean and will hinder it for a while, but it will come back through in the new ley. Glyphosate pre cultivation is really the most effective way of destroying the existing grass.

Why do you say glyphosate is not an option? Or are you signed up with the SA nazis?:scratchhead:

The other thing to consider, assuming it is currently in pp, is that there are several pests (especially Fritfly, wireworm and leatherjackets) formerly controlled by chlorpyrifos (Dursban), that can no longer be effectively controlled. It would be better if you could plant a break crop before sowing the new ley, such as a brassica forage crop. That wouldn't completely remove the threat, particularly from wireworm, but it would reduce it somewhat.
 

NewFarm

Member
Organic conversion (OF&G).

We have couch, black grass and meadow grass.

I was hoping to use a period of 3-4 years well managed grazing to help with cultural weed control.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Ouch. Blackgrass & meadowgrass should be controlled by ploughing down and grazing after, but couch will come back.:( no doubt some orgasmatrons will come along shortly and suggest leaving it fallow for a year and running over it with harrows every fortnight to drag the rhizomes out to dry, which is about the only other (less than effective) control method IIRC.
Alternatively, learn to live with leys containing plenty of couch.:(
 

NewFarm

Member
I would say we don't have lots of the above, but if i go looking I'll find some.
It was/is arable land so that weed pressure isn't terrible.
 

jemski

Member
Location
Dorset
Sorry to hijack, but I need to reseed after turnips. Would direct drilling be an option? Or will I get compaction issue? If I plough I will have a fat hen issue I think.... What's the best way to deal with it?
 

Great In Grass

Member
Location
Cornwall.
Watching with interesting. @Great In Grass is Autumn sowing an option for herbal ley?
Yes you can autumn sow by all means up to the end of August maybe into the first couple of weeks September if weather conditions look good. The new seedlings respond well to FYM prior to planting some of my customers will plant a green manure crop before an autumn sown crop. Because of the many different seed sizes (our most popular ley has 17 different species) I'd recommend to broadcast the seed.
 

Mutch

Member
Location
Dorset
Sorry to hijack, but I need to reseed after turnips. Would direct drilling be an option? Or will I get compaction issue? If I plough I will have a fat hen issue I think.... What's the best way to deal with it?
We DD grass/clover ley after swedes - great take with no massive weed issues, it was on free draining land so no compaction problems. If your worried dig a hole!
 

Kevtherev

Member
Location
Welshpool Powys
Sorry to hijack, but I need to reseed after turnips. Would direct drilling be an option? Or will I get compaction issue? If I plough I will have a fat hen issue I think.... What's the best way to deal with it?

Yes you could DD it in but you could also just cultivate the field with a heavy springtine and or power Harrow before broadcasting the seed and then rolling with ballast or a Cambridge
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Sorry to hijack, but I need to reseed after turnips. Would direct drilling be an option? Or will I get compaction issue? If I plough I will have a fat hen issue I think.... What's the best way to deal with it?

IMO, it would be a job to say without seeing the field. Sheep grazing roots will always cause a degree of surface compaction (cattle deeper), but how deep would be impossible to say without knowing the field. If only very light capping, then DD would work fine. If the top couple of inches is compacted, I'd be inclined to break it up first with a shallow cultivator, then drill into that. Certainly no need to do deep cultivation or inversion, unless there is deep compaction from before.
 

Tim May

Member
Location
Basingstoke
I'd be very careful how deep you drill this ley, I put it on with the tines of the drill as high out of the ground as I can get, and the air as high as I can get so that I get a good spread then I let the following harrows drag a bit of dirt about and roll with a heavy set of rollers. My experience of autumn sowing this mix is not good the herbs have never came, I've only done it once in the autumn though. I've also experiance fat hen, but you get a flush which is easily grazed, then it doesn't come back.
 

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