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tools for pasture cropping

 
Posts: 284
Location: North East Scotland
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goat forest garden trees
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I'd like to experiment with pasture cropping, growing some alfalfa in among the grass in order to break up the compaction. The problem is that I don't have a tractor and my neighbours that do will not have the requisite attachments. Are there any person powered tools to assist?
 
steward
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1: sow seeds in pasture
2: put large animals in pasture

certainly not guaranteed to work, but it's cheap, quick, and easy.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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tel jetson wrote:1: sow seeds in pasture
2: put large animals in pasture

certainly not guaranteed to work, but it's cheap, quick, and easy.



Do you just mean chuck some seed about on top of the grass?
 
tel jetson
steward
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I do.

the critters will trample the seed into the dirt where it will germinate. it will have to compete with the existing pasture, so the germination and survival rate won't be as high as if the dirt was turned over, but there are a lot of advantages. the critters will graze the pasture relatively low, slowing its growth down and causing some roots to die. that, along with hooves tearing up the dirt a bit will give your alfalfa a fighting chance. the appropriate season is important, though.
 
steward
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The One straw revolution had some really interesting ideas on this.
 
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Location: Ohio, Zone 6a
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I just read a great book about small-scale grazing by Gene Logsdon called "All Flesh is Grass." In it he talks a lot about his experiences with sowing different forages (including alfalfa) just by broadcasting the seed by hand (or with one of those people-powered lawn seeders) right on top of the soil. No need for any heavy equipment at all. If you do have some animals on the land, their traffic will help the seed get good soil contact. Even if you don't have any animals, if you spread the seed in the fall, the snow / freeze / thaw cycles (depending on your climate) will help work it down through whatever thatch is there to get soil contact.
 
Mother Tree
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This video has some footage of sowing grain by hand broadcasting. The relevant segment starts at 6.19



And then at 8.09 they demonstrate using a branch of hawthorn as a horse-drawn harrow - continued at 10.27, 11.19
 
pollinator
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http://www.amazon.com/Earthway-2750-Hand-Operated-Spreader-Seeder/dp/B0009GZA6O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334756256&sr=8-2

This is what they used after hand throwing. A little faster, a little more consistent--not worth the money for a one-time use.

You can also use a regular lawn spreader, walk behind or pull-type. I overseeded 30+ acres with a riding lawnmower, and have run a hand spreader from the bed of a pickup while another drove (CAREFULLY).

A piece of cattle panel or chain link fence will make a WONDERFUL drag harrow.

You can improvise everything besides the seed. Propper attachments might be faster, but the old ways still work.
 
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