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Sheep to graze?
10

CountryCob · 22/04/2021 05:46

I have luckily bought some land which needs a bit of attention and am moving my three onto it next month. There is a good bit of grass growth as it was rested during the sale, almost 8 acres of average to good grass on slopes. The plan is to graze one side in summer and the other in winter with them living out with access to shelter. Don’t want the grass to grow too long but it hasn’t rained for ages here and it isn’t going bonkers although could do with a graze. Have been offered mechanical topping as an alternative and am aware of the need not to graze the land too low - have spent enough time renting overgrazed and muddy land to be very aware of the consequences of this in mud/ bad grass, we are on clay here. Want to not need too much hay in winter as supplies can be difficult so don’t want all the grass gone. Can’t see hay being cut from it very easily due to the significant slope. Have been offered two sets of lambs, one set of 20 and one of 30. Having reviewed google it seems to be about 10 sheep an acre? Unsure what to do as there are two people offering and don’t want to offend either. Also don’t want to end up with not enough grass on the grazed side come winter. Realistically there is too much at the moment for mine but we may have a drought soon and nothing is really growing, having said that sheep are meant to improve/ not at least trash/ grazing. Next year I will have grazed in winter so not expecting the same concerns. What would you do??

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frostyfingers · 22/04/2021 07:28

Sheep are great for grazing horse fields, they fertilise it and level it out a bit when the ground is soft enough! They do prefer the shorter grass though and will go through what you have in a surprisingly short time.

I’ve had mixed experiences - one farmer put more than I wanted on and took forever to take them off leaving me very short of grass. Last year I used someone else and it was much better and they basically “flash grazed” it, ie they were on until they’d done a good job and then I asked for them to go and they did. If I were you, I’d take the 20 on the condition that as soon as you feel they’ve done enough they go - if you explain your concerns I would hope that the owner is sympathetic and co-operates. Presumably you wouldn’t be charging, in which case you should be able to dictate how many and how long you have them....although it’s not always that easy!

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CountryCob · 22/04/2021 07:39

Thanks @frostyfingers that is really good advice, 30 does seems like a lot for the job I want and I agree one of the major risks in letting anybody graze a little is when they would take them away. The last thing I want is not enough grass after moving heaven and earth to buy land

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frostyfingers · 22/04/2021 08:27

@CountryCob - I said 50, got 50 plus their lambs! Trying to explain that I needed time for the grass to come again for winter feeding and that because the sheep had been on too long I’d have to pay for horse feed was like talking to a brick wall which is why I asked someone else next time. Be firm!

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CountryCob · 22/04/2021 12:52

Hmmmm I can completely imagine how that happened

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CountryCob · 22/04/2021 12:54

The problem is there is very little grazing around with lots of house building etc, so if someone wants the grazing they are unlikely to have a reasonable alternative

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ruralwanderer · 22/04/2021 12:58

Unless they're your sheep, just get a contractor in to top it. Sheep aren't keen on long stalky grass so probably won't do the job you're hoping for. Also the person that owns them would need to complete movement paperwork for which your land would need a holding number for them to report the movement and if you don't have one, they would have to apply for a temporary land association which would be a pain if you only wanted them there for a few weeks.

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CountryCob · 22/04/2021 18:12

Thanks everyone, the offer to top has come through for Saturday so am minded to go for that, I absolutely do not have a holding number and had not even thought of that @ruralwanderer

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CountryCob · 22/04/2021 18:16

Just looking not to have too much grass really, which might not be that much of an issue if it carries on not raining

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GingerRuby · 22/04/2021 18:26

Could you not fence off part of your summer field instead and gradually move it as needed? That way your 3 don't have instant access to too much grass and you can control their intake. All depends on size and shape of fields of course!

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CountryCob · 25/04/2021 17:17

@GingerRuby yes I am going to fence off 5 paddocks in about 7.5 acres and try to control
The grass and poo picking that way. Had it topped now and it looks great so will see what happens about the grass getting too long. Think it depends on how much rain we get....

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