Introduction to Crop Husbandry. (Including Grassland)
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These grasslands are easily damaged through neglect or mismanagement, but are a lot more difficult to restore and it may take many years. The more degraded the grassland, the more the soils and the mix of wildflowers and insects they support will have changed, and the greater the restoration effort required.
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The priority, and also the easiest and most effective option is to work on existing grasslands that have lost some of their plant diversity but still retain a number of native grasses and flowers. Small changes to existing grazing or cutting management may be all that is needed. For example allowing existing plants to flower and seed, and providing small areas of bare ground by cattle grazing or chain harrowing for seed germination may increase the abundance of wildflowers.
Using targeted grazing to tackle rank areas and grass dominance can also be effective. Before starting work consider the condition of existing grassland, its location, soil type and fertility. Higher phosphorous and nitrogen levels can increase grass growth making it difficult for wildflowers to thrive.
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There will often be a need to reduce nutrient levels on degraded grasslands. Nitrogen may reduce quite quickly, but soil phosphorous is slower to deplete. Regular cutting and removal of material can be used to help deplete nutrients which will reduce quickest on sandy and shallow soils, and slowest on deep loamy soils and peat. The pH of the soil is also very important, as is soil wetness.
Both will directly affect the types of wildflower which can grow. Grazing animals particularly cattle are good at creating bare ground but mechanical methods, such as power harrowing, chain harrowing or discing might also be required. Sow seed between August and November to avoid droughts and so frosts can help break seed dormancy. Earlier sowing dates are preferable the further north the site is. Seed should be broadcast onto the surface of the soil rather than drilled and then trampled by livestock or people or rolled in.
Yellow rattle a parasitic plant which feeds off the roots of grasses is a very useful in grassland restoration as it reduces the vigour of grasses, creating space and better soil conditions for less competitive plant species to grow. Consider introducing seeds in phases as some plant species are much easier to establish than others. For example, yellow rattle could be used initially to reduce the vigour of grasses for a later introduction of wildflower seed.
How can I restore a wildflower meadow? How can I manage my grassland? Is my land suitable for restoring grassland?
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Part two surveys crop husbandry techniques. Environmental impact has been addressed in greater detail in this edition. This section looks at issues such as sustainable crop management, precision farming, and organic crop husbandry. The way these general techniques apply to individual crops is explained in part three.
An Introduction To Grasslands Farming – Small Farmer's Journal
This part considers a range of cereals, combinable break crops, root crops, industrial crops, and fresh produce crops. Part four looks at the use of grassland and forage crops, with chapters considering arable forage crops, the characteristics of grassland, and the corresponding methods for establishing and improving grassland. This part also includes information regarding equine grassland management and conservation of grass and forage crops. It is a useful reference book for agriculture National Diploma courses, Foundation Degrees, and BSc degrees, and is important for Masters level students entering agriculture from another discipline.
Introduction to Crop Husbandry (5th ed.)
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