Sustainable Agriculture & Reduced inputs

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by Kevtherev, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Doc

    Doc Member

    I too listened whilst driving home. Thank you for the presentation.
    The standout point I hadn’t considered was basically that mowing stymies photosynthesis potential of a sward at the very time you want to maximise it. I will be setting the mower higher this year to leave aftermath greener with hopefully better growth for the second cut. I’ll also put some herbal ley (3kg/Ac) in with NPK to spread after a bit of a Harrow scratch as soon as it’s dry enough and see what takes as we’ve bugger all to crowd it here.
    holwellcourtfarm likes this.
  2. I was thinking similarly. Having moved to a 3M front mower last year it would be quite easy to cut at 200mm instead of 40mm and get less soil contamination as a result.

    I can hear dad now: "Look at all that grass you've wasted" :rolleyes:
    Doc likes this.
  3. Kevtherev

    Kevtherev Member

    Welshpool Powys

    Couple of pics from the Lucerne workshop I was at on Wednesday.
    An overlooked forage imo
    hendrebc and Doc like this.
  4. Barleycorn

    Barleycorn Member

    I was very surprised when she said that she did not worry about seed mixtures, and 'the right grasses grow'. I think that the right seed mix is fundamental in this sort of farming.
    Doc likes this.
  5. I suppose it depends how much hurry you're in. The diversity will come in time but it might take 10 years. Judicious overseeding could achieve the plant diversity in 2.

    That's what I'm hoping anyway. I'm only looking at 4 to 5 years before we sell up to head for New Zealand.
  6. Agrispeed

    Agrispeed Member

    I have two thoughts on this - The natural plants growing do tend to be naturally selected to perform well in that area, but with common sense you can hurry it along have a much more productive, if less naturally well suited ley. It depends on how important production is; I have a friend who barely does any reseeding, pointing out that its just throwing money at grasses which are eventually out competed. His stocking rate is very low (although he does get very good growth in both very dry and wet/cold periods) but his costs are also low (although I suspect they are not comparatively lower).

    I find the main thing in getting a mix that suits the particular area, especially in diverse mixes is that you can cut out a lot of the ones that are less competitive, and perversely usually the most expensive seeds - 0.5kg of the expensive seeds (which if they don't grow supply no benefit) can easy add 20% to the overall cost.

    Looking better than mine! Its growing but it doesn't look happy. I'm hoping it sorts itself out as it is fantastic feed and the cows do very well on it (and go mad for it too), there seems to be more and more trying it, many aren't organic either.
    Treg, hendrebc, Doc and 1 other person like this.
  7. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Alberta, Canada
    You live in the wrong country then. Alfalfa is probably the single most responsible plant for why native pasture has been cultivated up and seeded to tame hay here.

    It’s growing voluntarily in my front yard and ditch :ROFLMAO:
  8. I suspect I already know the answer :whistle: but what are your views on flat rolling of pasture (to smooth for mowing and push stones down out of the way)?

    I'm intending to mow much higher this year so don't see much point but dad's always had a thing about doing it, even on land only ever grazed.
  9. I never undestood that. Ok when everyone had a fingerbar mower (or a scythe) stones in the grass would ruin yor day but with modern mowers the stones dont do anything much to them and if they do a blade is cheap and easy to change. Some use the excuse that it helps the grass tiller. Everyone i know that uses that excuse either has sheep or get sheep to graze over winter and they make grass tiller all by itself so... why are they still rolling grass fields? Habit maybe :whistle:
    I know flat rollers have their uses but i dont often see the need for them for the reasons i see given for their use.
    Maybe someone cleverer than me will disagree but thats how i see it. Recreational compaction anyone :bag:
  10. Big_D

    Big_D Member

    S W Scotland
    Think it depends on your farm, think a lot of people do it to make their fields stripey! Used to do them all here now do round the outsider as we have dry stone walls and any rutted areas, definitely don't want soil contamination in your silage and don' want stones going through forager!
    CornishTone, Treg and hendrebc like this.
  11. So far you both sort of support what I'm thinking. I love the phrase "Recreational compaction" btw @hendrebc (y)

    Having pondered on @Sheila Cooke 's webinar from Thursday I'm planning to cut all our silage land higher this year, 4 inches or so, and let the machines roll the remaining grass down. That in itself should reduce soil contamination. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
  12. Got these courtesy of @Great In Grass this week to try. I'll throw it in a couple of acres of gravelly land in ryegrass monoculture at dad's after the first cut to see what happens.

    20180413_161843.jpg 10kg of Lucerne seed.
  13. I cut grassy leafy hay/silage at about that lwngth anyway i have for a while now. I did a cut of hay in a field in mid september about 6 years ago and shaved it off like everyone does. That field didnt really grow back till mid may. An old farmer told me i should have cut it longer it being so late so it could recover better so i do it every time now. The only time i sill shave it off is if its long old stemmy stuff that tends to die and just lie there not doing anything and rots in the ground. Not that thats a bad thing in itself but the lambs grazing the aftermath later dont do as well with a load of dead stems in the new lush grown grass.
    Doc and holwellcourtfarm like this.
  14. Great In Grass

    The higher you cut the faster the recovery.
  15. Henarar

    Henarar Member

    ZumerZet Somerset
    I never worry about cutting to low much better to leave some stubble, it means the tedder, rake and baler pickup can be set higher avoiding soil contamination and its better for the machinery than digging the ground
    the grass regrows quicker so you don't lose anything in fact I think you gain, very often particularly with a more mature crop that bottom few inches is not worth having anyway
    CornishTone, graham99, Doc and 3 others like this.
  16. Kevtherev

    Kevtherev Member

    Welshpool Powys
    Always leave a little stubble as grass recovers quicker if not cut to the bone.
    Especially important with red clover as the crown is easily damaged.
  17. Kevtherev

    Kevtherev Member

    Welshpool Powys
    What variety is it Holwell court?
  18. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Alberta, Canada
    Picked up some of the books recommended today. Lovely books about growing greenery on a far from green day


  19. davieh3350

    davieh3350 Member

    I never roll a hay field now. I lift stones when I'm out looking at stock the rest of the year. I never harrow a field either, i do dodge about knocking mole hills down with a mounted set if there's a lot of them though.
    Nothing makes me sadder than watching someone close to here driving about with a beautiful opico set of adjustable tine harrows... With them set on the least aggressive setting. He'd be better dragging a duvet cover about:(
  20. davieh3350

    davieh3350 Member

    Still hard out there. Have you had any warmth yet?

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