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orchard + pasture?

 
Tony de Veyra
Posts: 18
Location: Pomona, CA
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I've got an 80'x140' space of empty, sandy loam soil that I would like to turn into an orchard. I wanted to ask the more experienced here if you can stack a pasture on top of an orchard by growing a perennial cover crop and grazing it via paddock shift.

Would full sized livestock work or should I stick to rabbits/chickens in a tractor? I've read that sheep can get along with trees well because they only browse what grows on the ground.
 
Heather Staas
Posts: 23
Location: Western MA, zone 5b
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Research your sheep types carefully, my katahdins will browse shrubs and small trees and strip bark. They stand on their hind legs to eat lower branches and leaves. They are good in OLD orchards, as long as I rotate them out often, but I would not put them with young or tender fruit trees. I think breeds differ pretty widely in how much browsing they will do. Mine do a LOT.
 
Tony de Veyra
Posts: 18
Location: Pomona, CA
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Also, since I will be working witb such a small area I think I will just get a couple sheep And put them on leash then move the tethers to rotate them around the orchard.
 
Benjamin Riniker
Posts: 8
Location: Dubuque IA USDA Zone 5a
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I back up Heather Staas, for the first few years you need use smaller animals while your system gets established. At http://www.permacultureorchard.com/ Stefan Sobkowiak talks out using chickens in his system. If you are looking for a larger animal think about turkey or goose.
 
Tony de Veyra
Posts: 18
Location: Pomona, CA
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I think it's just gonna be chickens n rabbits for me. I've heard that geese and turkeys are jerks.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I am working with some grazers on a restoration design, and we are leaning towards mixed flocks/herds (flerds?), using step in electric fencing and planting alternating alleys of pasture and woody plants, but letting fowl into the woody plantings to reduce weeds. We are going to overplant with short rotation nitrogen fixers and coppice plants and harvest in the woody alleys leaving longer term timber and nuts. Gordan & Neuman 1997 'Temperate Agroforestry Systems' shows pictures of systems where they start with tree and crop rows, and shift to animals once the trees are high. I have heard that the boring fluffy white sheep are easier on woody plantings.
 
Adam Klaus
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Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Paul Cereghino wrote:I have heard that the boring fluffy white sheep are easier on woody plantings.


Just my singular experience, but the boring white sheep that I tried to graze cooperatively in my young orchard were little arboreal terrorists. The electro-netting would hold them if it was cranking hot, but if it shorted out or lost charge, forget it. The sheeps would eat a young tree into a stub in the ground. I gave up. A combination of mowing and meat chickens works much better for me now.

I think that if your lanes were extremely wide, and you could setup really solid electronet enclosures in the lanes, that *could* work. The devil is in the details. Grasses will grow up into the electronet from the side without animals, and short out the fence. It will be a management intensive situation, even as far as management intensive grazing goes.

I always say this, but really, here I mean it more than usual-

good luck!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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