Because the soil tests were so poor, it was necessary to replace some S and P. Rather than spray with Glyphosate, which contrary to popular belief, does destroy soil microbes, we chose to spray weeds with gromoxone. The seed was drilled at the end of Dec 2011. No rain until the end of January. We then had pretty good germination, given the circumstances. The cover crop was left undisturbed, happily photosynthesizing until the first week in May when we put the cattle in to crash graze it in preparation for a winter cover crop.
Heavy rains precluded this option because the paddock was just too wet to get any equipment in. Interestingly, dense clover seemed to explode out of the ground all through autumn and winter followed by wispy annual grasses in the spring
Christine saw the pictures: In Nov 2012 she wrote:
You're on the way!!
Topsoil is a product of photosynthesis so the more plants you have for as
much of the year as possible, the more fertile and productive your land will
The grasses in the
photos appear to be annuals but that's the way succession works - they are the
colonisers. Provided you don't spray them out (which simply creates bare ground
for more of the same) and provided you keep up with the rotational grazing, the
paddock will move towards perennial grasses.
I'm presuming the paddock
will be grazed hard and then direct sown using some kind of tyned
implement? Diversity above
ground improves the interconnections in the soil food-web below ground. The
brassicas looked good last year. I've discovered that provided they aren't a
monoculture, they do no harm to mycorrhizal fungi.
Dec 2012 and January 2013 were particularly dry and hot. At the end of Feb we had 100 mm of rain over two days follwed by a few days sunshine, followed by a further 50 mm . I was able to drill a winter cover crop(oats, cowpeas, arrowleaf clover, leafy turnips, plantain and chicory) in between these rainy episodes. YAY!!!!!!! Never sprayed any weeds. Just drilled. Thus far quite good germination. Photos to follow.