Starting over on a new block... advice for a keen beginner please!

Krispie45

Member
Mixed Farmer
We're located in NZ... in the South Island on the Canterbury Plains; a good 40cm of top soil then silt loam and rock under that (historically an old river bed). The land has been intensively grazed before we bought it; now we have 10 acres that we are not putting animals on in the foreseeable future. We want to regenerate the soil and ecology as much as possible... aside from tree planting which we've already done - what would everyone's advice be on dealing with the remaining bare land that's fenced into 4 paddocks? Let it fallow? Spring is in the air and the neighbours say that we should get grass up to knee height, it was sown in rye a couple of years back. Any advice / suggestions would be awesome.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Fallow is probably your best bet for a start. Maybe if you have a neighbour with stock you could let them have a field-day midsummer, the thing is that with only a small number of paddocks it gets really hard to do an effective rotational grazing.
Whereas mobbing it with someone else's herd means you get the impact and dung, and miss out the day-to-day hassle.


Where do you want it to be in 5, 10 years, what does that look like in your mind's eye?
 

Krispie45

Member
Mixed Farmer
Fallow is probably your best bet for a start. Maybe if you have a neighbour with stock you could let them have a field-day midsummer, the thing is that with only a small number of paddocks it gets really hard to do an effective rotational grazing.
Whereas mobbing it with someone else's herd means you get the impact and dung, and miss out the day-to-day hassle.


Where do you want it to be in 5, 10 years, what does that look like in your mind's eye?
Thanks Kiwi Pete, ultimately we’ll look to have a couple of sheep and perhaps a dairy cow along with some fouls for eggs / eating… but nothing crazy as there’s only 2 of us to feed. We’d like a decent fruit & nut area as well, but keen for the land to be healthy and working for us and the environment! The paddocks are around 2 acres in size so could be broken down into smaller ones if needed…..
 

Krispie45

Member
Mixed Farmer
Get something growing on it or it will fill with weeds that either are in the soil or blow in. Nature has an amazing way of taking over given the chance.
Thanks Flatlander, it’s got good grass cover at the moment; but yes we’re conscious of nearby gorse and broom that might want to take a foothold though.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Thanks Kiwi Pete, ultimately we’ll look to have a couple of sheep and perhaps a dairy cow along with some fouls for eggs / eating… but nothing crazy as there’s only 2 of us to feed. We’d like a decent fruit & nut area as well, but keen for the land to be healthy and working for us and the environment! The paddocks are around 2 acres in size so could be broken down into smaller ones if needed…..
Even down here (we're in the Catlins) it's really important to consider "your water", you'll probably have to rebuild quite a bit of water storage on your land, that was removed by intensive overgrazing


Trees are a great place to start, keeping that hot sun and nor'wester off the soil surface is number 1 priority,, capturing the dew at night is helpful but notsomuch if it's burnt off by 9am.

How long has the land been "idle" so far? It (pastures) love a rest but can get sluggish if undergrazed for too long, and you obviously don't want it breaking down into scrub and gorse etc
 

Krispie45

Member
Mixed Farmer
Even down here (we're in the Catlins) it's really important to consider "your water", you'll probably have to rebuild quite a bit of water storage on your land, that was removed by intensive overgrazing


Trees are a great place to start, keeping that hot sun and nor'wester off the soil surface is number 1 priority,, capturing the dew at night is helpful but notsomuch if it's burnt off by 9am.

How long has the land been "idle" so far? It (pastures) love a rest but can get sluggish if undergrazed for too long, and you obviously don't want it breaking down into scrub and gorse etc
Ah the Catlin’s, thats an awesome spot :) Thanks for your advice so far!

Yes we’re very conscious of the water situation; we’ve got a water race and bore; we’ve planted a good mixed shelter to shield the wind and heat off where we are building and near the house and amenity area; it’s the back paddocks that will need further care / thought . I’m a fan of wood lots etc and getting as many Trees as we can to shelter.

The land has only been idle since May this year…
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
What Pete said see if there is a neighbour that will lend you some stick for a few days to create the animal impact between long rest periods would probably be a good way to get started.
What trees have you planted out of interest?
Which part of the plains are you in? Father in law is just out of methven.
 

Krispie45

Member
Mixed Farmer
Thanks Flatlander, it’s got good grass cover at the moment; but yes we’re conscious of nearby gorse and broom that might want to take UN
What Pete said see if there is a neighbour that will lend you some stick for a few days to create the animal impact between long rest periods would probably be a good way to get started.
What trees have you planted out of interest?
Which part of the plains are you in? Father in law is just out of methven.
Cheers Samcowman, some good advice here for sure. We’ve planted a mix of trees; mainly natives, gums, alders… some ash species and tree lucerne so far. We’ll do some wattles and conifers as well most probably. We’re out in Cust, great wee spot!
 

CHAP Webinar - Innovative tools to overcome the challenges of Regen Ag

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Applying principles of regen ag can incur a range of on-farm challenges. Learn how innovative tools & machinery can help with these hurdles.

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