Proper care for a long time undergrazed cow pasture

Asked June 24, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT

I recently inherited a small (12 acre) farm in the central willamette valley. My inlaws kept 5-10 cows and a bull for many years(40) on 9 acres pasture. About 5 years ago the got rid of all but the bull and a cow and stopped doing anything with the pasture to keep it from getting full of pick Marc's, pot holes, nasty muck holes and such. I recently was told to mow the grass down with the brush hog so that the young grass can grow. Having abused my back for half a day out in the rough, I decided to give this a shot at the recommendation of my cousin who has a farm in NH. So, my question is rather General but multi faceted. In short...what do I do? Eek I've gathered some info and it seems I should: address drainage to properly deal with the sink holes. Some sort of cultivator to break up the clumps and somewhat deal with the "potholes" As far as tools I have this 83 Ford 1710 tractor, a very old(steel wheel) two bottom plow that works great, a 3 point tiller, a 3 point straight blade, the brush hog and a case 580 superL backhoe to work with. Is there other tools I should acquire to achieve the task at hand reasonably and anything else I should do to the soil? Does it need fertilizer on top of the cow "leave behinds"? We do have a bull, 4 cows a heifer and a steer now. The bull a cape ant the heifer are in a 2 acre "pen" and the others are on the other 7 acres. Should these areas be further split to control their grazing and better keep the grass down? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Linn County Oregon small farm issues pastures and forages

1 Response

Thank you for providing information about your farm. It sounds as if the field is very rough and you may be interested in renovating some of the pasture to not only smooth out the field, but to enhance pasture productivity. If you are interested in rotational grazing, we recommend 4 pastures for each grazing herd so that you can move the animals as needed based on grass growth. In general here are some steps to begin the process of your pasture improvement plan:
-Tend to weeds (if applicable) by mowing in the summer and/or herbicide application in fall or spring.
-Have soil analyzed to determine fertilizer needs.
-If wanting to re-seed an area (not the whole pasture because you still need space and feed for livestock) begin planning for fall planting.
Here are some resources that will help:

Please feel free to contact me directly if needed.