low rainfall horse and sheep pasture

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by Flatland, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    any suggestions? We have ruby saltbush in one area which they both like but it can not be heavily grazed. I have some lucerne which they both love and it grows well here (350-400mm) so i am going to see if i can get it to spread. I also have some couch grass which seems to grow reasonably well and is good for holding the ground together with heavy traffic. i would like as much diversity as possible for obvious reasons and something that will produce shelter as well as fodder would be good
    I'm in Milang SA sandy soil hot dry summers mild winter most of the rain falls in winter
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    how large an area do you have? can you block it off in sections so that the grazing can be focused and then the animals are moved on to the next area?

    i think in such a hot dry area over grazing will be a major problem as you do need the ground covered by organic material to keep the moisture in there as much as possible.
     
  3. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    It's about 8 aces and I am rotational grazing it by using electric fence. I am trying to get as much OM onto and into the soil as I can. I am doing that in patches because I figure if I only have a small amount of OM to add it is better to do a small area fully than to spread it out over the whole area and it all be too thin to achieve anything
     
  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    yes, that's a good plan. if you want to increase your seeds you'll want to keep some areas ungrazed for a season or two. that will let you know what remains of more of the native species too. you might not have to bring in any other seeds. postage stamp diversity (3x3 meter areas at random locations) can provdie a lot to fill in surrounding areas, but they do have to be let alone long enough to get seeds to ripen.

    if you search the web you'll find all sorts of ways to encourage native grasses and plants. and if you dont' have any you might be able to find others to provde them for little to no cost.

    lucerne will be hard to grow if it keeps being grazed when it is starting out. you'll have to isolate it from grazing. it does get plenty of seeds on it if left to flower (2nd season) but the seeds will not sprout too closely to another plant because it self-inhibits. so it spaces itself out and other plants can be in the mix.

    i've used buckwheat as a nursery and OM crop here because it grows so quickly. i'm not sure if it is a problem for animals, but i'd guess not based upon how often it gets eaten here when i try to grow it. :)

    what are you doing for windbreaks and shade? those will help with your summer heat and soil moisture levels.

    and if you do have any areas that you keep the animals away from long enough perhaps you'll see some tree sprouts in those. a few chunks of bark or even some flat stones by those will help them a lot (to keep soil moisture higher).
     

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