[permaculture] Pasture Renovation and Fertility

Ute Bohnsack sustag at eircom.net
Wed Aug 7 18:44:00 EDT 2002

Hi again, Frank,
you were right about my off the cuff remarks. I have no idea how much
labour would be involved or the size of the debris (well I do now...).
If you are on your own this would be a mega task. It just occured to me
that it might be an idea if you have to move the stuff anyway you might
as well put it to some use more or less in situ.
I have often been myself at a point of, oh wow that's a good idea, and
then realising all the BUTs. 
It's always easy to make suggestions, and much harder to do the actual
Taking on 450 acres on your own is some brave thing to do and you have
my sincere admiration. I only have 2.5 and often don't know where to

Another thing I meant to reply to from one of your posts a few days ago:
(this may or not be of any use, as it relates to the European
situation): Re paddocks and paddock sizes. I have an excellent German
organic farming handbook which puts it this way:
If paddocks are to rest for 30 days between grazing, and the cattle
spend 3 days in each paddock you will need 10 paddocks + 1 'current
paddock' + 2 reserve paddocks which can also be cut for hay or silage.
If a large paddock size is chosen, e.g. if each paddock is strip grazed,
and the cattle remain in each paddock for 5 days, you'll need less
paddocks: 30 days : 5 days/paddock = 6 paddocks + current paddock + 2
reserve paddocks = 9 in total. 
The average paddock size per LU (livestock unit (=1 suckler cow)) is
taken as 0.75 m2/day or 225 m2/3 days. The required grazing area is
calculated as
Required # of paddocks x size of paddocks, e.g.
13 paddocks x 225m2/LU = 3000 m2 (0.75 acres)/LU
This figure is rather high but it allows for grass conservation as well.

Perhaps such calculations may help you in figuring out how to partition
your fields. While grass yields and cattle breeds may be very different
where you are I guess the principle stays the same once you have some
baseline figures from your extension agents.
I have done this on an *extremely small* basis for my goats and it works
fine. Without paddocks and strip grazing I'd never be able to feed them
on the same ground otherwise.

(who will continue to follow this thread with great interest)

FranksFarm at aol.com wrote:
> Good day UTE, and all:)
> In a message dated 8/5/02 6:46:49 PM, sustag at eircom.net writes:
> << Have you considered piling all that stuff into 'deadwood windrows'? They
> can be used to create new hedgerows with all the benefits hedgerows
> give. Takes some years (birds roost, drop seed with faeces), but can
> also be speeded up by planting saplings in amongst the debris where they
> are sheltered from browsing cows.  >>
> UTE, I always read your posts with interest. The ideas that you mention above
> are in keeping with PC etc. And I'd like to have more trees in pasture etc.
> However there are major considerations that often seem to be omitted.
> First do you have any idea of the labor, and time involved in collecting and
> moving tons of such debris on over 2 miles of fence. I spent 3 full days
> gathering and burning some of this, and it does not look like I've done a
> thing! And some of the stuff is far too large/heavy to move without tractor.
> Somehow ideas like creating swales; moving dirt which seem so worthwhile
> require far more labor/time than the available labor(me) can supply:) Even
> with machinery if I had all the machinery I could use. he he
> I realize since most of the stuff is downed wood, often rotted and laden with
> fungi, critters,twigs, branches,downed trees,stumps etc that it is a valuable
> resource. But I don't know how to practically get it where needed. I even
> considered cutting up larger stuff but that would take days. Plus I have no
> need for firewood, and selling stuff that neighbors often get free is not
> likely.
> Renting a heavy duty shredder is also not kind to the pocketbook, and again
> requires too much labor in simply gathering it even if it were all somehow
> piled right next to the machine.
> I realize that your comments were just top of mind. But I find that often PC
> is laced with such seemingly good ideas. However, now that I've finally left
> the city to start life on the farm. I'm finding PC, sustainable ag far more
> difficult to APPLY on the farm than I'd imagined, especially without lots of
> help.
> There's only so much a man can do...and it's not the type of stuff you invite
> friends over to do! Besides I'm considered a "furiner( local speak for
> foreigner) down here, and don't have any kin, or folks I can count on.
> I've come to realize why so many farmers down here have big trucks, and lots
> of machinery. A trap that I'd hope to avoid. Tough getting around that though
> on a farm of size. Of course that was my choice...but somehow as a city
> fellow lots of acres don't make that much of an impression.
> And I need to make this farm, and acreage pay for itself. I opted to lead the
> simple life, spending little to stretch out limited income. So far I have
> spent a lot more than I anticipated. Could haunt me down the road.
> However, the place is relatively free and clear so my equity has gone up. The
> saving grace is that I can probably solve most needs by taking home equity if
> needed.
> Never a dull day though:) Sometimes I yearn for days where I can just get out
> in the woods for walks, observation etc.
> Got to go!  Thanks. Frank

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