John Rains wrote:So currently we have someone mowing it for hay for their animals, so the mowing is maintaining its current ecology.
John, while you may like the way that it looks and the fact that the haying stops succession from taking place, I'd recommend not making hay any longer. Taking hay off is removing the fertility that you're trying to accumulate. Run a marginal reaction test and you'll probably find that leaving the perennials in place will be more efficient than replacing them with annuals. I have a 3 acre section that I'm planning to garden in the future, so I'm in much the same position as you. They've been making hay from this paddock for years now and there's no topsoil left! The only grass in any quantity is Broom Sedge, which shouldn't be too hard to get rid of with the use of mob grazing. I'll be using the cattle to tromp in the seed that I spread, then harvest the resulting growth and spreading the fertilizer for me! So if I get this right, it won't be a money sink, it should at the very least pay for itself.
If you don't have animals and aren't willing/able to get them, do you have neighbors who do? Once you have fencing in place they'd love to let their animals graze your field at no cost to them. There's always a way (but maybe not always practical for everyone) to use animals to replace the machines we've come to rely on.
If you can't/won't get animals and fix the fencing, just bush hog it on a regular basis and I think you'll be surprised at how it improves.