I moved the sheep to a new section of pasture this morning.
They immediately buried their heads. This is like a salad bar for the sheep–something for everyone. In the photo below you can see clover, trefoil (yellow flower), Dallis grass (broad-leaf grass), yellow foxtail (that grass with the foxtail-looking head), bermudagrass, dock, and other plants.
Some of these plants make summer grazing tough. The bermuda and yellow foxtail are late summer grasses and take over the pasture, crowding more desirable plants. The sheep choose to eat the plants they like and leave the less desirable ones.That’s why, to graze properly, you put more livestock on a small area and move them frequently. When the sheep are in a small area they eat even the less palatable plants while eating the ones they really like. Then you move them to the next area. This also helps with control of internal parasites.
Dallis grass has been a problem too. It is a perennial grass that originated in South America and can be a good pasture grass if grazed properly. If I can’t keep it grazed low it gets so tall and coarse that the sheep won’t touch it. Then it takes over and nothing else can grow. If you go back to older posts in the blog you’ll see where last year at this time I was doing everything I could think of to get the sheep to eat the thick stand of dallis grass. In the spring we finally burned it.
So what did I see in the salad bar pasture this morning?
Amaryllis went right for the yellow foxtail! Nobody else eats that.
Here is another undesirable plant. This grass is medusahead. It is an annual grass that grows in dry areas and has these nasty seed heads. Sheep don’t want to eat it even when it is still green. The medusahead started growing in this side of the pasture when I couldn’t get irrigation water to this area. The last few times I irrigated I have been more successful at getting water here so that’s why it’s green underneath. I hope that if I’m successful at irrigating this area next year the medusahead won’t be able to take over.
But look who is eating it!
So what are the sheep eating?
This is Della with her mouth full of dallis grass. (That’s the dallis grass seed head in the foreground.)
Ebony is eating trefoil and dock.
Linda is eating dallis grass.
The goat, Chloe, is eating trefoil and…
Jasmine is eating dallis grass.
One way to join me in a “pasture-walk” and photo shoot is to join the Farm Club and spend some time here. It’s on my website–see the link on the right.