Help please - Anyone with experience of maintaining land?

angelfben

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Jul 12, 2004
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I have taken on 14.5 acres of land that has been empty for 2 years, it is very overgrown and weed ridden!

What is the best way to make this suitable for grazing again?

I've been warned against putting sheep on it as they can make the grazing 'too' lush due to the way they eat it right down and revive the grass.

Is it best to top it, then spray it? Or vice versa?

Also am I better off going round and pulling the ragwort before spraying, or can you rely on spraying to kill it completely?

Thanks :)
 

rtk

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Get a contractor to come and have a look. They can top it and collect the cuttings to stop it seeding again next year. I would spray it next year when the weeds start to grow.

I had my own land for years and found spraying worked best earlier in the year.

A good contractor will give you advice though, and it wouldn't hurt to dig out as much ragwort as possible before the contractor comes.
 

Harlequin32

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With regards to the ragwort- pull it all up and pref burn it, spraying will kill the plant but its still poisonous to horses even dead, so dont risk it!
 

Stormin

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Top it - no point in spraying adult plants as most effective when the plants are still growing (hence certain peak periods for herbicide usage).

If you have more land than horses, should be easy to treat several fields at a time whilst leaving the horses on the others.

I'd also avoid cross-grazing due to a potential worm risk ? (not sure your local farmer's going to worm his sheep/cattle as often as we worm our horses ?)
This is ONLY my opinion, do feel free to educate me ;) :D
 

angelfben

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Thanks :)

I'm not moving horses on to it for a couple of months yet, I want to get the grazing all in order first. :)

So... pull ragwort - top it - spray it.. can I ask a local farmer to spray it? Or do they not use appropriate chemicals for horses? :confused:

Sorry, I'm completely new to this.. been on livery for years and just bought my first yard :eek:
 

Stormin

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OK, been thinking about your land question all day ...
When I moved in here, the field hadn't been used for about a year (to my knowledge).
I put up an ad in the local paper offering the grass for hay for free. I had a few calls but basically made myself a farmer friend who baled up 13 humungous bales of hay and promptly left me half (which I wasn't counting on). He also came back just before the horses came home for a second cut with which he made haylage for his cows.

As for weeding goes :
I don't have ragwort (yes, very lucky on that score)
We treat the field with lime once a year, in the spring, as I have a big buttercup infestation.
We also split the field in half and spray selective for buttercups, also spring time.
The latest weed I'm having problems with is dock (I think it's from the hay) so I periodically go around the field, beheading the flowering parts to lessen the amount of seeds.
Nettles can be ripped up or just sprinkle with salt - they'll wilt and become black and all dry.

As for most herbicides, there are instructions on the label as to how much time the field shouldn't be grazed on. Mine says 7-10 days so I leave a few weeks.

I don't know what your long term plans are but are you planning on getting contractors in or by equipping yourself for DIY ?
If it can help , even I can drive a tractor (would be so much nicer with power assisted steering !!) ;)
 

angelfben

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Fab thanks :D

Long term I'm planning to get a little tractor and do the standard maintenance myself. I'm also hoping to get a 'handyman' in a couple of days a week to do the general maintenance, someone who is far more experienced in these things than me :eek:
 

Chip

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Grazing sheep will not make your grazing any richer than topping it. Infact sheep are better as they will also clear everything, rather than either leaving what is cut to rot, or having to go around again collecting it.

I'm really not sure what to make about the comment about cattle, sheep and cattle are both good for cross grazing with horses as they each have different worms, and cattle are certainly wormed regularly anyhow.
 

tamsinnx

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Sep 16, 2008
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OK, been thinking about your land question all day ...
When I moved in here, the field hadn't been used for about a year (to my knowledge).
I put up an ad in the local paper offering the grass for hay for free. I had a few calls but basically made myself a farmer friend who baled up 13 humungous bales of hay and promptly left me half (which I wasn't counting on). He also came back just before the horses came home for a second cut with which he made haylage for his cows.

As for weeding goes :
I don't have ragwort (yes, very lucky on that score)
We treat the field with lime once a year, in the spring, as I have a big buttercup infestation.
We also split the field in half and spray selective for buttercups, also spring time.
The latest weed I'm having problems with is dock (I think it's from the hay) so I periodically go around the field, beheading the flowering parts to lessen the amount of seeds.
Nettles can be ripped up or just sprinkle with salt - they'll wilt and become black and all dry.

As for most herbicides, there are instructions on the label as to how much time the field shouldn't be grazed on. Mine says 7-10 days so I leave a few weeks.

I don't know what your long term plans are but are you planning on getting contractors in or by equipping yourself for DIY ?
If it can help , even I can drive a tractor (would be so much nicer with power assisted steering !!) ;)

This seems the best bet to me, we looked into getting our own fields a while back, and reasearched it all (well dad did:D) and if it's long enough, then make it into hay/haylage. Obviously this needs to be after you've gotten rid of anything poisonous to horses
Hope this helps :) x
 
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