Hopefully by now you’ve all had a hint of spring… some warm days, a bit of sunshine on your back, the daffodils and crocuses are decorating the verges, and the grass is growing.
So it’s time to turn our attention to looking after the paddocks.
As soon as the fields are dry enough to get a tractor or ATV (all terrain vehicle) on then it’s time to help the fields recover.
Fields, no matter how much grazing is restricted over winter, become poached so they need to be rolled. Rollers are heavy so there’s a fine line between the ground being too wet that the ground is compacted, and for it to be too dry that the poached areas aren’t flattened.
The other big job to do is harrowing. The harrow, which is like a large rake, aerates the soil, pulls up any dead grass and weeds, and encourages a thicker sward to grow.
Often, fields are harrowed and then rolled on the same day.
As the grass starts to grow, so do the weeds. From now on, you need to keep an eye out for ragwort. Dock leaves will also start growing and it’s important to treat docks before they go to seed otherwise the seeds will be scattered during treatment. Either top the docks or spray them with weedkiller (and rest the paddock afterwards).
If paddocks have become badly poached then now is the time to reseed. Reseeded areas need to be rested for six weeks and then lightly grazed.