Gillian McKellar

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since May 03, 2018
Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Gillian McKellar

Thanks guys. Yeah, the farmer would like a contract that he can remove hay from the fields for the next 4-5 years to make the seeding worth his while. I’m going to see what I can do to get him to lower those years in exchange for lower rent or at least some kind of exit clause to let me get out earlier if I need to. To have him continually taking fertility from the fields is exactly what I don’t want.

There are a few neighbours who over look our fields, so part of our thinking is to keep them happy as well. Currently the fields are slowly being taken over by horsetail, wild parsnip and thistles which I don’t think is going to make me very popular this year. My hunch too was that once I got animals out there the native grasses would start to come back, but with all our building work this year and the next I don’t think we’ll be ready to get as many animals as it needs for another few years. This year we’re starting with Muscovy ducks and next year we’re planning pastured poultry and pigs. Starting small and building up!
9 months ago
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.
9 months ago