What do I do with this field?

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
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#1
This is the half of ales rested section that I think is getting out of hand! It's full of ragwort which I'm trying to clear a fence posts worth each day, but even if I manage that there is still 17 more days worth to do. I'm only giving ale a small strip each day because of the sheer volume of grass Screenshot_2018-06-14-09-58-26.png but I'm aware it's still growing and some of it is already waist height! Do I need to get it topped or mown?

It's only happened because we had such a wet spring and I couldn't put him on there soon enough. Any advice?
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#2
This is the half of ales rested section that I think is getting out of hand! It's full of ragwort which I'm trying to clear a fence posts worth each day, but even if I manage that there is still 17 more days worth to do. I'm only giving ale a small strip each day because of the sheer volume of grass View attachment 93849 but I'm aware it's still growing and some of it is already waist height! Do I need to get it topped or mown?

It's only happened because we had such a wet spring and I couldn't put him on there soon enough. Any advice?
How big is the field? I would be tempted to get it topped, that is a huge amount of grass!
 
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Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
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Suffolk, UK
#3
The sugars are all going into seed production, once those seeds have dropped (loads of mine are dropping now) you have very fibrous, lower nutritional value feed, I have loads at shoulder height and the horses get a teeny bit as and when, they will actually leave the really tall stuff and eat between it because its gone to stalky, so I let them eat what they will then chop down what they won't :) If you top it, it will encourage the sward to thicken and you will have twice as much leafy stuff which is again producing lots of sugars to make seeds. So it really depends what you want to achieve :)
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
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#5
The sugars are all going into seed production, once those seeds have dropped (loads of mine are dropping now) you have very fibrous, lower nutritional value feed, I have loads at shoulder height and the horses get a teeny bit as and when, they will actually leave the really tall stuff and eat between it because its gone to stalky, so I let them eat what they will then chop down what they won't :) If you top it, it will encourage the sward to thicken and you will have twice as much leafy stuff which is again producing lots of sugars to make seeds. So it really depends what you want to achieve :)
Brilliant! This is what I was hoping to hear, that it's actually the right sort of grass.

So I'll just continue to strip graze him a little bit each day? I can easily see this lasting him the whole summer. I feed a little hay in the evening perhaps I should substitute that for another thin strip?!

I've got a pair of shears I imagine I can just use those to chop down what he doesn't eat?

Clearing the ragwort is an absolute nightmare currently, obviously not been done for a good few years
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
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#9
Echo everyone else, oh and yes, stop the hay, just give him extra in the evening if you have the time to move your tape.
 

domane

Chatterbox
Jul 31, 2005
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#10
If you can bear to wait, ragwort is a lot easier to pull when in flower because the effort of flowering weakens the root structure for a while. It's also easier to see in the long grass!!
 

Prjsmk

Well-Known Member
Dec 1, 2017
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#11
I leave my cobs for winter... Stops him poaching the fields as grass isnt too short and he feels like hes got loads to eat and enjoys himself.

last year field owner cut all the fields really late! So come November they was all eaten to dirt and was poached to death with the horrid weather we had! And because my cob cant eat hay i was feeding haylage because he had nothing to eat ground wise, so he didnt really loose any weight untill he was stabled. In winter i like him to drop weight ready for spring because we have absolutely brilliant grass and massive fields!
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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#12
I would be strip grazing a bit each day. If you have an efficient mobile lawn mower like my two they don't waste any, so nothing to cut grass wise. Maybe knock off nettles and thistles, but leave to wilt and they get eaten to. Maybe give a little more grass and half the hay your currently putting out if you still want to feed hay. Far cheaper to grass feed them hay at this time of year. The hay will also help keep the horse bound up.
I agree with @Prjsmk if you have sward on the field in late autumn it gets far less poached in the winter.
If you do top it now it will give you a thicker sward but you would have to combat the grass sugars. If the field is more weed than grass then I would top as you don't want weeds going to seed, but if it's grass and vetches I would just carry on strip grazing.
 

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
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Perthshire, Scotland
#13
My yard manager tends to top it once during summer and then it regrows through late summer and about late August September I start giving him a fence post each day or every second day. Keeps him going for quite a while in autumn and over winter he’ll nibble away at whatever is there between haying.