Pasture Walks

Thank you PhilipFr for the photo from Flickr.com

Thank you PhilipFr for the photo from Flickr.com

I went on my first Pasture Walk last evening sponsored by our local Soil Conservation Agency. I remember when Honey was a Wildlife Biologist he often had meetings with the Soil Conservation folks over beaver dams and wetland issues. Since they are a local government agency they offer advice & plans on land management.

The ad in our local paper didn’t say that this Pasture Walk was strictly for Horse folks, so I chanced it and went. We live in the rolling hills of Maryland’s horse country, so I wasn’t surprised that there were only horse lovers at this walk, other than me a cow lover! I felt a little discriminated against….“cows?!!”

Then I found out that it was called “HOW…Horse Outreach Workshop”. It would also work to call it “COW” with no explanation needed!

We got an elaborate tour of the barn and paddocks. A lengthly talk on how this particular homeowner (notice I didn’t say Farmer) managed his pastures. Then right before dark we finally got to go into the manicured pasture and see it as the darkness settled around us. I was appalled. He had about two acres fenced and only two pastures within the two acres. They were over grazed and under nourished.

This particular homeowner lives on a more prestigious side of the county and wants to maintain an “appearance”, so he picks up horse poop every single day!!!!!! And he was wondering why his pastures weren’t fertile!

The “Soil Expert” talked about using “Allied” herbicide and how to plant grass seed. What they failed to talk about was how allowing the grass to grow to a height of 6-8″ and then mowing would encourage the favorable grasses to do their own weed control. (I sure hope I’m getting this right….it’s all so new to me and I’m cramming as much into my menopausal brain as possible….not an easy task!) The length of the grass indicates how deep the root system is and the deeper the roots the greater nutrients in the grass (of course up to a certain height and depth). (did I get that right??) That is if you have any nutrients. If of course your pasture is purely weeds than you can bet your soil is mostly acidic and the nutrients are lacking….Hey I thought I wasn’t getting anything out of Acres USA…..but maybe I am gleaning just a glimmer of info. I can guarantee you that I’ve only begun to crack the surface and I’m afraid that my leaking brain won’t be able to grasp it all.

I’ve recently been learning about Brix. I’m going to explain this as simply as I can. First let me explain that I have minimal knowledge of Brix….so you can take this or leave it. But I find this topic fascinating. So I asked the “Soil Experts” to explain Brix and most of them who are recent college grad’s were clueless and couldn’t believe that this simple country bumpkin could know something they didn’t! The “older” “Soil Expert” looked at me funny and was really SHOCKED that I knew about Brix and said, “what is it you want to know?” gruffly….like maybe I asked about Area 51! I told him I’d like him to explain it a bit….so he said he would….”LATER”.

This is how it was explained…“Brix is something that we don’t concern ourselves with in this country. They use this system in England mostly. You use a device (refractometer-which he didn’t mention) to measure the sugar content of the grass.” Now, he said all this as if to say, “hey look we’re the experts and if we say you don’t need to know about this then you don’t…..we wouldn’t want you to know too much….BECAUSE then you wouldn’t need us!”

Ok, no one could of cared why I asked this question. They all had horses. They don’t care about the nutrients that their horses eat….I’m not sure why….but I care about what my cows eat cause they feed me! Some folks gave me the most in quizzical looks.

My friends over at Jehovah Jireh Farm, have been teaching me about Brix. And I’m not going to go into it now until I really get it under my belt….but it’s fascinating stuff! I began to search the Scriptures for what the Lord called “fatness” and that reference to “fatness” is thought to be Brix! It’s so cool and I can’t wait till I understand more so I can share it with you.

Anyway, I came home with a contact at the Soil Conservation Agency so I can at least be taught how to pick out “good” hay. Then I’ll even be able to go to the Auction for hay sometime. Although the “Soil Expert” said that due to our weather conditions this year the hay at Auction is mostly undesirable. So maybe I ought to stick to what my girls seem to like and are eating. I’ve been able to find some pretty good hay close by.

I guess I also learned that with enough money you can do just about anything! Even pick up horse poop EVERYDAY in your pasture!!!!

I didn’t need a Pasture Walk to teach me that!!!! Maybe I’ll do another….now I know not to mention I have “cows!”.

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