Paddock maintenance is something most landowners take for granted. Whether the patch of grassland is large or small, there’s a lot to actually maintain to keep it verdant and ensure that he animals are thriving within their respective living spaces.
To better understand the importance of paddock maintenance, you need to know the risks your animals may encounter within their enclosed field.
When The Grass Isn’t Always Green
Whether you’re keeping horses, sheep, or cows, it’s important to keep the pasture quality up within the paddock. The grass, however, isn’t always green and the plants within the paddock itself may prove troublesome to your animal’s health.
One weed that you need to watch out for is the ragwort. This rather ordinary looking weed is more distinct once it starts flowering, but don’t let its appearance fool you. It’s actually quite poisonous to animals such as cows and horses. Cows tend to avoid eating them, which in turn causes them to proliferate. A single cluster of ragwort can dominate an entire pasture if it isn’t cut down early.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent this troublesome weed from spreading throughout your paddock. The ‘natural’ way to do this is by introducing sheep or goats into the field as these animals aren’t affected by the weed’s poison. You can’t always do this, though, especially if your paddock is dedicated to dairy farming. Regular paddock mowing, however, will ensure that this weed doesn’t spread throughout the entirety of your field.
Paddock maintenance isn’t just about making sure there are no invasive weeds in the field; it also involves ensuring the high quality of the soil. Ideally, the soil’s pH levels should be around 6 to 6.5 while maintaining an index 2 of potash, magnesium, and phosphorous.
You should have the soil’s nutrient levels tested at the end of every year to make sure that the quality of the grass your animals are feeding on is still top of the line. Avoid pumping too much fertilizer on the soil, as regardless of the amount you place, it won’t have any effect if the soil’s pH levels are low.
There’s no denying how tiresome paddock maintenance can be, but it’s ultimately a necessity to ensure not just the high quality of the grass your animals are feeding on, but also to ensure their overall health and happiness.