Spring has finally sprung, which means we are flat-out busy. In one week, our first batch of broilers will arrive and three weeks later, they will be heading out onto pasture. This year I am looking to improve the quality of their green feed by seeding in a mixture of organic oats and peas to the existing pasture. This will increase the protein in the forage that the chicks are snacking on.
The traditional method of re-seeding pasture is to plow up the soil first, in order to give the new seeds a bit of loose soil to get started in. This kills all the existing, established pasture plants. We would rather not do that. It is bad for the biological health of the soil, not to mention erosion and the years it takes for pasture to thicken up to full strength. We are very fortunate to be able to use a different method that will allow us to add new varieties of forage without killing off all the existing pasture. It is a “no-till seed drill” available for rent through the Granite State Grazers. The no-till drill cuts small slices in the turf for the new seeds to grow in, but it leaves the existing pasture undisturbed. The oats and peas are early-season annuals that will grow fast and then die off. Then, the existing pasture will take over. We like it when we can have our cake and eat it, too!