Advice for beginning pasture managers

Asked June 20, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

We just purchased a home on 2 acres outside of Prineville next to Ochoco Reservoir. There are two pastures totalling close to 1.5 acres. We want to graze 2 cows next year and maybe a couple sheep, for personal use. The pastures appear in decent shape but haven't been used in the last 5 years, only mowed infrequently. There are noticeable weed infestations, but still some good patches of grass and in one pasture alfalfa. I'd like to get rid of the weeds and restore a palateable species for livestock. Right now, I'm thinking of renting a tractor with tiller to till all the soil then seed this fall. The pastures are not irrigated, but we're on a private well and can water the fields one or two times a week with little effort. My questions are: 1) is tilling and re-seeding a good option for getting rid of weeds, and 2) which species should I consider planting here in Central Oregon and without irrigation rights? I should add that the property is in the bottom of an agricultural valley near a perennial stream, though it doesn't receive stream water. Thanks for any advice you might offer! Patrick

Crook County Oregon

2 Responses

Tilling and reseeding are not the best way to get rid of weeds. In fact, tilling may bring up weed seeds that are laying dormant in your soil just waiting to get a little closer to the surface where they can germinate. At this point you may be best off to chemically get rid of the weeds then reseed in the poorly producing areas. There are several things to consider for this situation so a conversation would be best. I have attached several article on pasture renovation for you to look at but you can also call me at 541-548-6088. Ask for Tonihttp://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/sp08pasture

http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/renovation

http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/beginning-farmers/faqwhatisthebestwaytorenovat...

Call me - Mylen Bohle at 541-447-6228 (Crook County Extension Office).so we can talk about what you have and what you want..