Thursday, October 21, 2010

grass and grazing

 This is the time of year that I start looking at the pastures; I'm looking for how much grass remains, and the shape the grass is in.  I don't want it too short, but I don't want to start feeding hay to the animals too soon either.  In the picture above, the sheep are shoulder deep in the grass. 
a little closer inspection shows that the grass is 11" tall still over the majority of the field, so in my mind it's in pretty good shape.  Reed canary grass, the species I have on my property, gets very stemmy; when an animal nips off the seed head the stalk will turn a bit brown, but the grass will sprout many new heads down the remaining stock length.  I've appreciated the canary grass for its ability to produce huge amounts of forage with very little care on my part.  Product of rich river-bottom soil and rotational grazing. 

When the grass stops growing I'll be moving the animals off their summer pasture and into a sacrifice paddock to preserve the sod for next year; next spring they'll go back out on it when it's lush and green. 

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