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My fields are rented out to my neighbour for sheep grazing. I'd like to start reclaiming it so I can hopefully get a couple of goats and maybe a few sheep next year. I think the grass could do with a rest, the fields are treated as one big area except at this time when a couple are closed off for the lambs.

When should a field be closed off to grow for hay?
What else needs doing apart from let it grow?
About how much would it cost to get it cut, turned and made into small bales? About 1 1/2acres,
my neighbour has the kit for small bales and does them for someone else up the road but she's lived here forever so I expect different rates apply so just need an idea of how much it would cost.

Only figure i can give you will be no help. But here goes, in true Internet tradition.

We had 11 acres mowed, turned and made into round bales, for about 800, including VAT. This was around 100 bales. He charged a further 2 per bale to transport them to his barn, store them and deliver them on demand for me.

Mmm, you're right, probably not much help but it's a start, thank you Smile

It's knowing where to start that's the problem when you're new to all this.

we got about 7 acres rented we do half for hay get around 100-250 small bales we get a friend to cut turn and bale it and he charges us 0.80p per bale then we help each other putting the bales away

We shut off our hayfield end of December as read that in January the grass just might be thinking about growing, and even if not it will grow better later on for not having been trampled by sharp little hooves in January.

Usually cut somewhere in July, leave it shut off again until September/October for end of season growth, then let the little dears in for munchies.

We don't fertilise it or anything so far - 4 crops of hay to date. It is a wild flower meadow (to put it politely) and I have read that the deep tap roots of the weeds bring up nutrients which benefit the grass, so it can be left like that.

Do try and have a policy that if we have to start feeding hay in November or December, then the sheep are kept in that field while being fed so nutrients go back to the field. In one sense we sort of put additional fertilizer on it - if we are feeding the sheep sugar beet as well, then the nutrients from that are imported, so not a closed cycle.
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