Hi Folks! I am working on a self-sufficient homestead design for a client. The clients would like to raise goats and rabbits on their land. Their yard site is about 2 acres with the house right in the middle. The surrounding land is boreal forest. For their milk goat and rabbit set up I would like to incorporate a hay patch, to grow enough food to see their animals through our long cold winters (They are in zone 2). I am wondering if anyone has ideas on how to best grow hay, incorporating permaculture principles. The site of the hay will be on a slight south facing slope with very sharp drainage.
Can you get a tractor in there? How were they planning on harvesting the hay? We don't feed our goats or horses hay, we just don't overstock and manage the pasture. I have a great book about haymaking and why not to somewhere but I can't remember the name.
Make hay while the sun shines and then spend all winter feeding out.
The best way to make a flat pasture for cropping is to send in a tractor and plow then cultivate, level, roll and drill or something like that
Just remembered the book is called kicking the hay habit
A few well placed swales would be a good place to start...you could incorporate woody fodder crops for the goats into the swaleberm plantings along with some edibles for the human inhabitants. Just space the swales far enough apart to get the haying equipment through there and you should be fine. You would have to do some math to determine if the acreage would be enough to supply your winter requirements for hay (it may not even be worth it, could be better off buying in hay), but planting some of the hardy Russian strains of mulberry in the swale berm is where I would start along with something like pea shrub...I guess the possibilities are plentiful, but that's where I would start....