Originally Posted by KlopKlop
All this sheep talk! makes me want them baaaaaaa-d (sorry I had to make the pun :) )
We have a great location for sheep if we were to get them. Plenty of place to graze and browse plus enough room to bale hay for winter if we wanted to keep ewes for breeding (I think that would be the only way to make them fiscally competitive)
We currently have 3-4 acres that we rent to the neighbors that he farms. We have discussed turning that into pasture (perhaps putting it into GRP if that program is still running). If we did, how long does the pasture need to grow before it could support rotational grazing? Say we planted pasture in early spring, would it be good for light grazing later that year? would it be best to let it grow a year and just bale it once in the fall?
That would depend on many things~soil conditions, existing grass, water table, etc. I'd say, all things considered, you could graze that lightly in the fall if you were doing sheep....they don't pug the crowns like cattle do, so they leave a very light footprint on the grass. They also don't pull the grass up like a cow does, but they nibble it off evenly. What's really cool about sheep is that they will nibble along like mowers, nibbling everything but letting the undesirable bits fall out of the corners of their mouths and only consuming the best parts. This has a way of conditioning the pasture by getting it grazed evenly and the clippings returned to the soil nourish the rest of the grass.
If you did mow it, I'd mow it high after it has went to seed, just enough to cut off the seed and leave the hay on the field instead of baling it up...just ted it up a few times so that it doesn't clump and kill the grass under it. This too will return some nourishment to your grass and reseed the field even further, giving it a good start for the following year.
Then I'd keep stock off of it in the winter months.