Late last fall we took ownership of 56 acres of mixed marsh, forest and fields. After a very long winter we’re finally making progress with some building work, garden beds, ducks, etc. We’re doing everything on a minimal budget and limited machinery. There’s absolutely nothing on the property so we have our work cut out for us this year!
For at least the past decade the 25 acres of fields have been rented to a local farmer who grew corn and soy beans with minimal input. One day we’d like to pasture mixed animals like cows, pigs and birds but that feels like a bit too much to handle this year with everything else.
So finally my question is this: do we get a local farmer to seed the fields with hay? He wants 4-5 years contract but I’m thinking by next year we’ll already want to start getting animals out on at least some of that pasture. Having him seed it for us seems like a decent way to get things converted to pasture though. He would also pay us rent. Alternatively, could we seed that much acreage by hand and not even get him involved? I’m worried he won’t do enough to add fertility back to the soil over those years and that I might want that pasture sooner. Or just let the fields regrow naturally this year and spend that time observing ready to make amendments the following year.