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Pasture or browse?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 22
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Hey everyone,

City slicker here buying 5 acres for a new home.  Would love to raise sheep, chickens and American guinea hogs on it.  Was hoping to get some guidance over whether the land is better browse for goats, or if sheep would eat all the tall growth down.  Lots of cacti im going to have to remove as well.  I'm thinking of just paying someone with a tractor to run through the whole thing to clear it out and reseed for pasture.  From what I've read sheep are easier, I like goats more.  Would be getting either for helping maintain the 5 acres and meat.
Any advice would be appreciated.

Pictures were taken after an unprecedented week of rain for north Texas, so it'll be soggy.  I wanted to check flooding
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gardener
Posts: 5096
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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To me that land looks like great Goat land, plenty of sticks and twiggy things for them to browse on for now, later you might want to switch should the goats eat all the browse bushes to death.
Sheep are grazers but they will browse some, just not as dedicated to browse as Goats are.

Our donkey is a mix feeder, she grazes but she also browses, she (just like goats) loves fruit tree new growth.

You might want to consider the expense of starting pasture from scratch as you mentioned, I'm doing two acres and the seed alone is a fair chunk of change (I've calculated that I will need approximately 300 dollars for all the seed).
If you add in fuel and maintenance of hiring out tilling, not to mention that the tilling will kill a lot of the already present soil microorganisms that will then need to be replaced, it is usually best to use animals to do all that sort of work.
I use pigs, but we do plan on getting 2 to 4 goats in the near future, they will browse down the 2-3 acres we want to work next and as they do they will trample, poop, pee and remove those undesirable understory items we want gone.
From there I will plant new shrubs, that are more to their liking and get those established before allowing the goats access to them (we buy larger, older specimens for this sort of pasture building).

I have always looked for ways to use animals instead of machinery, usually I find the right animals for the job at hand, once they have done their work I have the choice of butcher or sell.
Some animals we have will always be around, the goats we plan to get are withers but we might eventually get a breeding pair. We have a friend that has a goat milk set up and she is willing to sell us breeding stock, since we don't want to become competition.
We are now at the point with the hogs that we are going to sell one of our sows (currently pregnant) just to keep things manageable for us as we get older.

Redhawk
 
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For me, from what I see in the pictures, it's not a whole lot of browse for goats. I've seen them just on pasture but I would never willingly put them on just pasture for very long. I would say sheep, since sheep also browse a little. Uh, It's very helpful and rewarding to start just outside your living structure for your gardens. Chickens could help you with that or even hogs although I have no experience with the hogs. Geoff Lawton has some great videos that show how to start a food forest with chickens. Lot's of options. A lot of it preference really. But from the pictures.... and just sheep vs. goat. I would go sheep. People have been successful with smaller amounts of goats and a whole lot of browse for them to work on.....like "invasive"/pioneering bushes. I just don't see that amount in the pictures. You could plant some and/or spread the seeds of all the really pioneering and fairly edible/feed valuable shrubs and trees from the region on the land for future goats if that's really what you really wanted. That's the beauty of permaculture... with the techniques and methods you can pull out a ton of different uses or create a bunch of different dreams especially with enough time and motivation. I would definitely go the simplest most efficient and minimalist route as once you start a whole lot of things at once (which we all tend to try to do) it won't be too much to deter you and you'll see results and get the reward/yield from it plus motivation/experience of what works well. Also I would definitively use a paddock shift system with all those animals. Hope that helps a little!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2075
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Yep, that looks like goat land to me. At least for now.

My conversion strategy focuses on what is there now, and what I can get to eat that for me so I don't have to do it myself. As Redhawk mentioned, lots of browse on that land, there.

It depends largely on what you want to do, but I would see what is available in a dairy goat that forages well, as my particular interests lie in making cheese from goat milk, among various other things.

I would sit down and divide the land up into paddocks, at least on paper, and figure out how to fit 30 to 40 paddocks on it, even if I was using electronet fencing, or some giant, mobile animal tractor system. Based on that excercise, and the resultant paddock size, I would determine the healthy stocking rate for each type of animal I was using (because you see, I wouldn't just use one animal, I would use all of them, okay, maybe not all, but a number of them) and I would go from there.

Goats first, to clear the browse (alpacas before goats, as they will eat the tender bits off of the browse, ensuring more gets browsed, in toto). The specific succession would depend on the circumstances, but I would definitely seed that land behind the goats with mangelwurtzels and daikon radishes, along with a polycultural pasture mix that accommodates browsers and grazers, and run pigs when the tillage tubers were ready. I would definitely want to run my chickens over days-old grazings, to pick apart the droppings for larvae. I would want sheep, as my setup will include a fibre focus, and I would want guinea fowl to get what the chickens missed.

On 5 acres, with me, I would be considering a couple of jersey cows, on the smaller end of the breed, if possible.

But basically, browser focus first, adapting to a grazer or more versatile mixed use after.

-CK
 
Carson Albright
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thanks for all the advice!  Sounds like general consensus is it is better goat land for now, but would not last long enough for long term goat pasture.  I'm thinking of hiring someone to mow down most of it in that case, and trying to reseed this spring as I'm waiting for the house to be built.  Thanks for all the input!
 
Posts: 88
Location: BC Canada Zone 5&6
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Ex-city slicker here. We have almost 10 acres and have been building our homestead for the last 6 years.

I have done goats and pigs for the purpose of cleaning up the land. I will share my experience.

In year 2 we went to goats to clean up the land. Two times we tried goats and never again. First, time we tried free range.They must just know where the good stuff is because even though I had amazing things for the goats to eat they still did not stay where we wanted them. Actually, people hire goats to eat up and clear what I had on the land. Only they would always find my garden and somehow get in and destroy everything, same with my orchard. They destroyed two 3-4 year old trees. We tried tying them to stakes on a leash but no matter how deep the stake was they would get free. We finally put a fence around an area over half an acre and they would find the smallest hole and get out and head to my orchard and garden. We finally said enough with the goats. Finally, after getting things more in place including an electric wire near the bottom of one fenced area, we brought in pigs. The pigs would not root, well they started a bit of rooting when they were 8 months or so. Apparently, we feed them too well. I was not about to cut back on feed because I wanted to fatten them up. Either you need a breed that LOVES rooting regardless how they are fed or not much will get cleaned up. We finally opted to hire someone to clean up the land last year. About an acre got cleaned up. This year I start seeding plus we will hire for another acre to be cleaned up. Goats and pigs have waisted so much of our time.Thankfully we had meat when it was all done. Goats for the effort and cost of feed was not even worth the meat.

If you hire someone who knows what they are doing it is amazing how quickly an acre or 2 can be cleaned up. For us no more money than the actual cost of the 4 goats we bought over 2 years. The photo is 2 goats the first year, being watched over before we created an enclosure since the stakes did not work. We would let them out of a small enclosure in hopes they would clean things up. They mostly played with each other, us and the dog.

Once our land is producing good pasture we may bring in sheep.Otherwise, chickens and geese will be it for animals. Much good luck. Have fun and enjoy. Homesteading is such freedom if one does not overdo it.
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gardener
Posts: 1886
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Hey there, Carson,

I don't know if you already have experience with sheep, or goats, but I think it's worth mentioning that the biggest consideration in whether to have sheep or goats may be you and what kind of life you want.  You could make that  land good for either, however, sheep are not near the challenge that goats are, and IMO they  also don't  have near the character, the entertainment and companionship factors

I have dairy goats,so keep that bias in mind.  I would say a mix of animals would be better for the soil and pasture than only one species.  Sheep and goats maybe, with chickens turkeys guinea fowl,it kind of depends on what you like, want.

I don't know if you are familiar with the drawbacks to "set stocking", but the future of your soil will likely be better, happier, more productive, more fertile, if you do not just put the animals in the field and leave them.  With five acres,I think it would be possible to make several paddocks, or use portable fencing.  What I ended up doing at my place was having a goodly sized permanent enclosure, where they could be secure, and other enclosures I used portable electric fence to create,here and there and now and then depending on the conditions of the pasture at the time.  I sacrificed one area to benefit the rest of my place, and even at that, there were live roots in the soil in the "sacrifice" area.

When I am asking someone else to tend them while I am away from home,I don't want them to have to go chasing them down, finding them. I don't want to worry about them while I am gone, and I don't want the job to be too hard for the kindly farmsitter/friend.

Goats are a lot of fun, but they are not for everyone.  They can be a challenge to keep fenced, or so I've heard,though I don't have  a lot of problems with mine.  Perhaps that's because of my culling practices.  If  I'm aggravated with the goats, and it is always the same one, up the tree,upside down in the feeder, pushing the fence, she has to go.  I consider her strengths and drawbacks, and try to think what kind of home would be best for her, and I tell the buyer how she gets on my nerves.... because I want her to have a good home.  I sold a doeling I wanted to keep, just because she was too big of a stinker for me to deal with, and the buyers love her,have a bigger place, named her Houdini, and laugh their heads off at all her escapades...

So, good luck, what ever you do, and have fun!

 
Carson Albright
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Hearing all your experience is heartening.  I closed on the  property today, so looks like I'll get to start the pasture renovation this weekend.
I love the idea of having goats because they seem like a hoot, but considering I would prefer something lower maintenance at first and something better suited for long term grazing I think I'm going with sheep.  I do plan on doing pasture rotation with chickens and pigs to keep the land well fertilized with a sacrifice area in the center.

Going out with a shovel, pitchfork and hopefully a pallet this weekend with the intention of removing a good portion of the cacti.  After I have all the cacti piled on the pallett I figured I would burn it all where I plan to garden for fertilizer.  Hoping to have it de-cactied and bush hogged by end of March so I can reseed and hopefully have a good pasture by 2019. Any tips for removing cacti from a pasture?
 
Posts: 214
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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Goats for initially clearing up the mess, sheep for maintaining it as pasture once it's been browsed down flat.

I would hire a flock of goats that have been trained for brush-clearing (goats can be trained about what they eat but it has to be done young). I've seen the difference. Pasture-raised goats by preference will eat the trees (and bark-strip the trees to the point that they die) and leave behind the nasty stuff. Brush-trained goats will go for thistles and spiny weeds and will leave the trees alone. I've seen 3 brush-trained goats mow down 3 acres of bull-thistles (dry, nasty, and 8 to 12 feet tall!) in just a few days. This way the trash gets converted into fertilizer, too.

Then I'd split the pasture into 2 or 3 paddocks and run a few sheep, just enough to regularly graze it down hard but not so much as to overgraze it. You'll probably find that it goes back to grass naturally and won't require tractoring or seeding at all. It will support maybe 5 or 6 sheep that way, which is plenty for a beginner. I'd start with 3, actually. You'll need to feed hay during the winter or dry season. You'll probably need to fertilize the pasture every few years (I once figured out re a friend's pasture that each lamb sold removed about 40 pounds of nitrogen, which explained why her grass had gotten poorly -- the manure from the number of sheep that much ground will support *full-time* just isn't enough).

Pigs are fairly destructive of both pasture and fences. If your fences won't keep in a bull and a sneaky dog, they won't keep in pigs.

I've see this at work in the desert:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

So long as the sheep came through (and these were big commercial flocks, up to 1500 sheep) and mowed everything down 2 or 3 times a year, we had grass and wildflowers. Once the sheep stopped coming, within 3 years it had all gone to weeds and dirt. Grass evolved to be grazed.
 
pollinator
Posts: 924
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Consider: clearing land with animals requires you being there as an operator just as with machinery. Just leaving them there to do their thing is like starting a machine, putting it in gear and then walking away; the outcome is not what you desire it is what they desire.
Goats are like back hoes, they work over the fence. Sheep are like bulldozers they work under the fence and pigs not only work under the fence they dig under the fence. Chickens are helicopter cultivators with pest management and crop removal capabilities.   Geese are grass powered fertilizer spreaders and ducks are liquid fertilizer generators.
Just as with machinery There is a learning cure to get them to operate as desired.  Without a plan the first thing that gets eaten is is what you planted to be permanent and the first thing that gets fertilized is your doorstep.
After 70 years experience what would I recommend?  Once you are on the land build a chicken tractor and get some retired laying hens to put in it. Build a simple outbuilding and buy a retired dairy goat that may be giving enough milk to feed an orphaned lamb or 2. Then learn to operate them for ground disturbance and vegetation utilization. Keep refining your plan until you can move them progressively and plant after them so that the land produces food for them and yourself.
P. S. Does the cactus contain enough moisture so that it can be mixed with your dry material to make compost? Ashes can be nutrient busters but incorporating it back into the land as organic material is generally of greater of greater value.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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hans,I love your analogies between animals and machinery and especially the idea that a person needs to learn how to "operate" goats and sheep.  The OP may be familiar with operating animals, but the people who refer to this thread in the future may not.

And about ash, here is something that happened last spring:

My friends grass / pasture their cattle.  They do not burn, they are soil microbiology enthusiasts,and great covercroppers.  Their neighbor burns his fields.  Last spring, my friend was talking to his neighbor,and the neighbor said he was getting ready to burn his fields.  It was windy,and my friend said "don't burn me out", but the neighbor's fire did get away from him and burned several acres of my friends' field.

I was talking about the possibility of getting monetary compensation for the loss, but in the end, my friends decided they would observe that patch of pasture through the coming season.  Here is what they observed:  the plants grew there,and grew, but the cattle and goats would not / did not eat it.  There was always something "better" available.  We did not brix test it, but I think the burned area was not as fertile because the fire rendered the minerals in the ash unavailable, and the rest went in to the air (and into our lungs where it was trapped and we spit it out).

So, I am thinking burning is not such a good idea when one is wanting to build up the soil, and composting cacti even if you have to dry it first, would makea better soil amendment than the ash from burning them.  If it is possible to dessicate and compost cacti I do not know, as cacti are specialized  water conservers,and  sprout from fleshy blades/leaves.  

It would be an interesting experiment, composting cacti.  I'll give it a try if I come by a pile of cacti this season.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 2075
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Yeah, I gotta say I can't fathom the rationale behind burning cacti.

If they are there, dry enough to burn, you could chop them up and mulch with them. If wet, I don't know if cacti compost, but wouldn't their moisture be released into the soil wherever you buried them?

One of the really big, important, if you miss it you might well be missing the whole point parts of permaculture is the observation. I am unsure how much observation you've done, Carson, but you would learn more about how to best steward your land if you were to intensively browse a small herd of young goats across the brush. You could at least get some meat out of the deal, plus fertility from their droppings.

Contrast that with tire compaction, fuel or lubricant leaks, and potentially doing more damage than you'd thought possible because too much was done too quickly, or in the wrong way for the situation.

Remember the effect living trees and plants have on soil erosion as well, in both wet and dry conditions.

Also, try to identify specific species. You might want to hold on to specific species because they might raise the local water level, like sugar maple, or fix nitrogen, like any member of the Family Fabaceae, or by their placement, they might be wind breaks that cut wind erosion and dessication.

In any case, I urge caution, and incremental change. If getting an income stream is important, you can do that with goats as opposed to paying someone to rip everything down, but it would be work.

Have you thought of trying to find someone in the area with browse-trained goats who could do the job for you? That would be the best option, if you don't want to deal with goats yourself.

Let us know how it goes.

-CK
 
Thekla McDaniels
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A new piece of ground is always very exciting. I just wish I could find mine.  Congratulations Carson!

I had another thought about that darn cacti.  I can't remember if you said where you are located.My mind says Texas,but I have a feritile imagination,andcould have made that up.

Anyway,ifit gets hot where you are you could stack that pallet with cactus and cover it with a tarp to "cook" it.  It would not get rid of the spines, but it would retain the moisture and the nutrients, and if you then composted it you would not have cactus sprouting in your compost.  

And just a word of encouragement, it might take a few seasons to get the cactus population down to where you want it.

As for establishing pasture, you could cover crop it, and the key is diversity diversity diversity.  Diverse plants support diverse soil organisms.  Greater diversity in the soil gets higher brix, higher brix gets faster weight gain, higher milk yields, better nutrient density.  Get the grasses legumes and forbes (aka 'weeds').  The forbes in particular are highly nutritious, and when ruminants get a chance at forbes they eat them first!

Have fun, and as Chris said, keep us posted!
 
Posts: 100
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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I recommend checking out the YouTube videos about using mobbing pasture management techniques, which sort of makes your whole operation a mobile plan. The idea is to devise a plan that keeps your flock bunched up on small portions of your total pasture, so that you can manage the growth of the GRASSES BY USING THE NATURAL GRAZING PROPERTIES OF YOUR LIVESTOCK. The grasses are allowed to grow past the usual maturity, as is explained in the video. Using portable and easily moved solar-powered electric fences allow you to plan the movements of the flock over your entire property. This will spread the manure more evenly and will minimize problems with pathogens. This method will also encourage a variety of native grass species, and you will be honing your observation skills in the process. You will be adapting the pasture management to the size of your flock. I am not in good enough health to start on such a plan on my desert open range but were I younger and in better shape, I would be studying the use of these methods.

Your property seems to have a lot of brush. You may plan on using goats at first to clear out the brush (they eat practically everything), Since you only have 5 acres, you'll want to carefully consider your zones when developing your grazing or browsing plans. You can adapt these methods to nearly any flock size since the key to the mobbing technique is syncing your herd size to the availability of mature forage over the seasons.

Here are some introductory videos:

Links on pasturing livestock management:

USING ANIMALS TO HEAL THE LAND: Greg Judy VABF 2011 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< This one is a good primer on the technique. I'm sure you can contact any of these people to get specific answers.
https://www.youtube.com/watchtime_continue=4522&v=W6HGKSvjk5Q

Raincrow Film LLC Occam's Grazer: An In-depth Introduction to Holistic Management
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtQBoMoqc9U

Ian Mitchell-Innes Interview on Holistic Management Planned Grazing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3r2cqNfkKs

Richard Perkins S4 ● E5 Is Regenerative Ag Profitable? Looking at Return on Investments ROI   <<<<<<< THIS ONE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR NEWBIES! It will get you thinking about keeping everything on a budget, and may save your lamb-chops (LOL!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A0uNUN9UG0

The topic title is "David Bamberger 50 yrs wasteland to lush oasis”.  You can use the following URL to read it, but you may need to register on the permies.com web site (it's free)
https://permies.com/t/76886/David-Bamberger-yrs-wastland-lush#634894
 
Mark Kissinger
Posts: 100
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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I posted a video about managing your Return on Investment, which will be very important for you as a newbie. It will be very tempting to go overboard on paying for a lot of services that your animals will provide for free. Unless you are blessed with an overabundance of money, you will probably want to build as you grow, and not try to make everything picture perfect before you really know what you are doing. Use ALL of your 12 permaculture planning techniques, and take your time and observe what happens.

The mobbing pasture technique can be started out with as little as one animal and a piece of rope (from Greg Judy's video). The idea is to carefully manage the plant forage using your livestock. Do not get too attached to your livestock.

AFTER ALL, You ARE just starting out, and you WILL end up finding out many new things as you learn about what you are doing.
 
Mark Kissinger
Posts: 100
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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Seeing your comments about removing the cacti, I am pretty sure that goats will have no problem eating them for free. You might consider deploying your goats where you are going to "plant" your house and garden first.

As a passing note to any permie's in the Kingman area, I own a 3.66 acre parcel of land off of Hwy 93 near Kingman, AZ that I would be willing to share with some people who have the resources of youth and strength to make a go of developing a sort of "Desert Research Center for Permaculture" on the property. Please contact me at mrkhermitcrabee at gmail dot com, or give me a call, anytime, Five20-Four31-Nine106. You must solve the "clues" to make the contact info work...

I also have read that goats are notorious for being able to get thru almost any fencing. You should attempt to find some local mentors to consult with concerning the various species you plan to employ. If you employ goats to act as your brush-hogs, you will also want to plan carefully for the types and locations of your more permanent fences.

The livestock will eventually reseed all of the necessary native grasses as they graze or browse. You will be well ahead to minimize any use of powered machinery. Greg Judy's video points out that all of his efforts only used, at most, an ATV to aid in deploying and moving his electric fences. The type of fencing you use will be dependent on the species and eating habits of your livestock mix. Don't buy any machinery for jobs that your animals can perform for you "for free"!

I can not over-emphasize the importance of starting small and growing outward from your Zone 0 and Zone 00 locations and work outward from those. Your Zone 5 areas can also be used as natural fencing for your larger scale paddocks. Put your earliest efforts into your Zone 0 site. This way, you can give yourself a chance and the time to really observe the lay of your new land over an entire year of seasonal changes.

You might want to map out the location of your seasonal streams, and potential locations for future ponds or other water features.

It costs a whole lot less to make multiple plans on paper than it will cost to discover the drawbacks of a plan AFTER you have invested time and money on implementing the wrong design. All the more reason to start small and grow into your new real estate.
 
Carson Albright
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone.  Purpose for burning the cacti is to remove needles, if I had a compost bin as big as a house, I would probably consider composting, but the 5 acres are totally infested.  Went out last weekend with a shovel and pitchfork for 5 hours and I successfully wore myself out, but did not make a dent.  Meeting 3 people today to get bids on their removal, common consensus seems to be to use a tractor to bulldoze them all in a pile.
Im taking your advice to heart, I'm thinking of starting with just a chicken tractor at first and moving slowly into sheep and then into guinea hogs.  I read an interesting article where someone used one goose to protect day ranging chicken from hawks.  Has anyone tried this? My neighbor has goats, so when I get the fence up I'm going to see if I can borrow them to browse the land.
Still planning on seeding the pasture to introduce diversity, this land has been unmanaged for 20 years (hence the cacti).
Plan of action for now seems to be, bulldoze cacti into a pile to remove, most likely Bush hog the land and reseed, wait for new growth while raising chickens, and get sheep when stable.
I attached some pictures of my "progress" from last weekend
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Mark Kissinger
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Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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Just a couple of quick notes:

When you dig out your cactus, be mindful not to scrape off your grasses, any more than absolutely necessary.

Be sure to leave enough plant litter to keep your ground and soil shaded. do a little research to find a variety of native grass seeds to use in your area. Once your livestock starts mobbing your mini-paddocks, they will reseed and fertilize for you!
 
Rez Zircon
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Oy, those are the big nasty ones... but the grass between actually looks pretty good. If you have to tractor it, try to just scrape of the cactus and not disturb the surface. I think I would still hire goats trained to eat cactus, if any are to be had, but hand-clearing that would be a full-time job.
 
Carson Albright
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Got all 3 bids, I'm thinking of actually going with the guy who recommended a root rake.  This will remove the roots as well as the cacti, making it less likely to return.  Downside is it will pretty much wipe out any current grass in the area along with it.  There is about 2 acres that are clear of cacti, so some of the grass will survive.  Im thinking this will help limit the years spent fighting cacti, and if I do plan to take it slow with the animals I can take a year or so to let the pasture develope while I start small with chickens.
Anyone have experience basically uprooting everything in 3 acres and reseeding from scratch?  I realize not ideal, but if I take it slow the new grass/cover crops will have time to get established before it's used as pasture
 
Mark Kissinger
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Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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Pasture grasses actually grow better when they are properly grazed. This is one reason to not worry so much about eliminating the cactus. If you graze with goats (I guess some are even trained to eat cactus), the animals will get rid of the cactus for you.

Animals are smart. They will avoid the cactus. As the grasses get denser, they will eventually choke out the cactus without you having to go through all that work and expense.

Be cautious of too much impatience: it can cost you in the long run.
 
Rez Zircon
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Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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Carson Albright wrote:Got all 3 bids, I'm thinking of actually going with the guy who recommended a root rake.  This will remove the roots as well as the cacti, making it less likely to return.  Downside is it will pretty much wipe out any current grass in the area along with it.



Root raking can be done pretty selectively, and yeah, probably worth it to be rid of the roots. In my experience if you have cactus at all, it'll overwhelm the grass, not the other way round. Talk to your extension agent about best pasture grass and seeding practices for your area, and what can be done to prevent weeds from popping up in the disturbed soil.
 
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Location: Baja Arizona
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Much of what permaculture is about is finding ways to cooperate with nature instead of viewing it as something to be conquered with technology and machinery.  Imposing machinery into this scenario will result in an infestation of weeds which will take many years to recover from.  As a fourth generation farmer I can tell you that all of the comments about using goats to bring the invasive woody perennials on your place under control is very good advice.  Ripping the roots of those perennials out with machinery will destroy many years of nature working hard on your behalf to sequester carbon deep into your soil.  As the goats turn the woody perennials into fertilizer for you, the plants will slowly begin to die off and the roots will begin to decompose and in doing so will provide very nice channels for rain water to penetrate deep into your soil.  And your talking about ripping all that out?  Why would you want to fork out money to destroy a good thing when you can turn what you have into money in the form of meat or dairy on the hoof?  Sorry for being blunt, I come from a long line of very practical farmers.
 
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