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Good Pasture Plants for PNW?

 
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Hi everyone. Rookie here. I'm in the north Willamette Valley and have about five acres of old nursery land that I'm planning to start pasturing layers on next year and then cows and maybe sheep a few years after that. The land is mostly bare dirt at the moment, and I figure I should try to seed it with a good variety of grasses and forbs and so on to get it ready for livestock. What works well in this part of the world for the animals I have mentioned? Should I just leave it alone and see what comes up?

Thanks, appreciate the help.
 
pollinator
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Location: Longview, WA - USA
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I would say definitely:
perennial ryegrass
orchardgrass
white clover

probaby:
birdsfoot trefoil
timothy grass

maybe:
chicory
fescue grass
alfalfa

If you find a good pasture mix, you can just pour and spread -- you will only need half as much seed if you have access to a no-till drill, but for just 5 acres you can spread 100-150# of seed whenever you think it needs a jolt in spring or fall.  
You can locally pick up someehtin like:
https://www.outsidepride.com/seed/pasture-seed/pasture-grasses/all-purpose-pasture-seed-mix.html
 
Nolan Lynch
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Thanks, Eric. I will look into these. Much appreciated.
 
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Location: Elk Grove, CA
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Hey Nolan...

I highly recommend you watch a bunch of YouTube videos by a guy named Greg Judy. He does rotational grazing with smaller cattle and sheep and is very similar to Joel Salatin. Greg is in Missouri, but the methods he teaches will work anywhere. He has tons of videos and is a very cool, common sense kinda guy who gets a lot of the same type of pushback and weird looks that Salatin gets... But the methods work and are worth watching and learning. He does a lot of silvopasture, electric fence, ponds, free choice mineral feeders, is big on leased land and has a couple books on it and a third book about to drop.

I don’t agree with everything he does (I would never set up an old tractor tire as a watering tank because tires are toxic), but he delivers some really great content for free and some of it is just really fun and cool to watch.


Here is a video of him showing a pasture that he transformed from bare ground (previous crop fields) and is giving afvice on how to do it right and with very little effort. If you watch this as well as some other videos of his where he rolls out hay to not only feed his cows but to put them to work getting the seeds in that hay seeded at the same time, you will quickly put it all together and know exactly what to do and how to get it done. Well worth subscribing to his channel.

Enjoy and Good Luck!!!



 
Nolan Lynch
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Hi Paul,

Sorry, just saw your reply now. Big fan of Greg Judy. His second book just arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I think I watched those particular videos you mentioned last week... What a sharp guy.
 
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Since you're in the Williamette, you're blessed with a lot of options. Take a look at ryegrasses, clover, and leave the weeds like dandelions in. They add extra minerals for your animals.
 
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Location: East-Germany, County: Middle Saxony
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Hi,
if you need a Pasture, you can seed Raygrass, when you will apply much Nitrogen-Fertilizer. Without Nitrogen you see hungry leaves and much stalks.
Orchardgrass and Timothy are good grass for making Hay.
Tall fescue are near unknown in my area. We use Medow Fescue. The Cows love it.
A good Mix is:3x3%(early,middle,late) perrenial Ryegrass (Lolium Perrenne)
40% Medow Fescue (Festuca pratensis)
15% Timothy (Phleum Pratense)
9% Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa Pratensis)
9% Red Fescue (Festuca Rubra)
9% Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata)
9% White Clover (Trifolium repens)
This works with low or no extra N-Fertilizer. You can make Hay, silage or grazing.
Here we can run easy 2 Simmental Cow/calf pairs on 5 acres without N.
 
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