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Briars in the pasture

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  • Briars in the pasture

    We are leasing 30 acres on a month-to-month basis. The property is adjacent to our land, so it is amazing to have the use of it, but the property owner is a bit unreliable, so we don't want to invest a lot of money in the land, as I think he could change his mind any minute. The land was completely overgrown with 6-10' briars when we got the lease. We bush-hogged in February, with much blood loss, lol. The briars seem to be coming back thicker than ever. Is there anything we can use to kill them off that isn't really expensive or complicated? The horses can easily be kept off the land, so that's not an issue. We're in east TN, in a largely residential area, so burning is out of the question. Thanks!

  • #2
    Check with our county agent on the various chemicals available for use.

    Mowing can help control briars but won't eliminate them.

    One answer is pigs. Fence off a couple of acres and turn some pigs loose. They will eat the briars, then eat the roots, turn up the soil, and then you can put in some grass. When the pigs are market size you can sell them. Or eat them. By the way, this is not a smart-alec response. We did this several years ago to an area we wanted to clear. It worked quite well.

    Goats are another answer, but you have to have some sort of guardian to deal with possible predators. Goats won't turn up the soil, but they will eat briars. You can use either dairy or milk goats, but if you use the dairy type be prepared to deal with lots of milk.

    You don't even need to own the animals. Look around for someone who needs land to graze pigs or goats and work out an arrangement.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I have a friend with pigs, actually, but I don't have fencing that will hold them in. What about goats in panel pens that we could move, and bring them in at night so the coyotes don't get them? (We have coyote and fox all over, for those not in our area.) I have another friend with goats who would happily loan me a couple. We could easily move them from briar patch to briar patch.

      I haven't had much luck with the Knox County agents. Do you know a good one? When I've called about fescue testing (this was years ago when Jet was bred) and soil testing (last year), they have been decidedly unhelpful. Now the guy at Co-op (Curtis in Greenback) was great, so that's an option.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Do donkeys eat brush/briars much more than horses? I have a friend with two donkeys and not enough pasture, and we've discussed having them here for the summer, to help keep the 30 acres eaten down, since my three horses can only do so much.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pigs are among God's brighter creatures. They get "popped" by an electric fence a couple of times and they leave it alone. We had a heavy snow while we were using them and the electric fence was completely "snowed in." The pigs did not cross the line where the fence was burried.

          In the old days farmers turned pigs into the "kitchen garden" and let them root it up after harvest in the fall. They also fertilzed it while they were rooting. The practice works. The real downside, today, is selling the pigs afterwards. When we did it there were "pig buying days" every week at most of the local stock barns (Mascot, Sweetwater, Crossville, etc.). I don't think there are so many today. The days when pigs could be called "mortgage raisers" are likely done, and that's a real shame.

          Talk to your friend. It might just be a real "win-win" situation.

          G.
          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure how much ground you have in briar patches, but I would spray. Have you done larger scale spraying before? Several methods avaialble.

            You first need to read the labels on sprays themselves, so you can take all the precautions needed, clothing, face masks, tools for spraying.

            I read the chemical contents first, would rather go with the glyclosophate type because it is lethal for only a short time, about 24 hours. Does take a bit of time to show results, like 2 weeks. Comes under several names like Round-Up, some generic types

            But it doesn't go into the soil to linger for years, like the 2-4-D type, which is where Agent Orange of Vietnam fame came from. This is the warning from 2-4-D:

            http://www.southernag.com/docs/labels_msds/2_4-D.pdf

            I do like the chemical type because it kills the roots as well as the tops. Some particularly strong weeds, new sprouts, could need a second application of the glycosophates.

            You will want to buy a herbicide concentrate formula, then mix according to the label. MUCH cheaper than buying ready-to-use bottles of weed killer. I have had pretty good luck with some of the new garden sprayers. They are battery powered, with sprayer on a long thin hose. Push and shoot the weed area. No pumping EVER! Mine rolls on wheels, holds a couple gallons and covers a lot of area. Cost about $10, batteries last a long time. I always add some liquid dish soap, couple good squirts makes the herbicide "stick better" to the weed leaves than plain mix.

            Spraying is a lot less work than using grazer animals, worrying about protecting them from predators. You could just spray small areas, not do the whole field at once. Let the horses help, just running over the briars. The horses will get exercise moving around finding what sprouts of edibles there are, and you can just mow at regular intervals.

            Not much invested in his property except your time,mowing and spraing, dollar cost of spray and fuel for machine. Good if he cuts your rental off.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              It's 30 acres, and I bet 10 is briars. We aren't using it all now. I have the horses in electric tape paddocks - two of them, about four acres each. The rest is just growing and getting unmanageable. There is an old falling down farmhouse as a source of injury, plus two places the fence needs work, and a lot of rabbit or groundhog holes. The horses have only been ridden outside of their paddocks.

              Right now, we could probably push one of those sprayers through most of it. We really need to mow again first.

              It's really amazing to have the use of the property, but it is so much work!

              Comment


              • #8
                It could be manually done a section at a time. By manually I mean anything that doesn't involve big farm equipment because 30 acres is an awful lot to fuss around using a lawn tractor with a lawn tractor-size sprayer. You will just get the last section finished and it will be time to start all over.

                Granted a small section could be done and let the rest go but that defeats the entire purpose of leasing 30 acres - why pay the money if the horses can't use all of it?

                The easiest and least on-going options (as opposed to borrowing live critters that really won't do the job right) are to first pay someone to come in and bushog. If the land is flat it could be done in a day and that day means more than 8 hours non-stop for the first time. Some folks charge by the job, others by the acre.

                After the bushogging, talk to your Co-op friend about having a truck come in and spray 2-4-D. The horses don't even need to be off the fields while that is being sprayed, but I kept mine off for 24 hours anyway.

                Then keep up with the bushogging as-needed. The more the property is bushhogged, the more the grasses will have a chance to grow.

                30 acres is a lot of work. When one is leasing for pasture, and not harvesting, it can often end up being a lot of unexpected and unwanted work. Not to mention the maintenance expense if the Lessee doesn't have the equipment

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                  Pigs are among God's brighter creatures. They get "popped" by an electric fence a couple of times and they leave it alone. We had a heavy snow while we were using them and the electric fence was completely "snowed in." The pigs did not cross the line where the fence was burried.

                  In the old days farmers turned pigs into the "kitchen garden" and let them root it up after harvest in the fall. They also fertilzed it while they were rooting. The practice works. The real downside, today, is selling the pigs afterwards. When we did it there were "pig buying days" every week at most of the local stock barns (Mascot, Sweetwater, Crossville, etc.). I don't think there are so many today. The days when pigs could be called "mortgage raisers" are likely done, and that's a real shame.

                  Talk to your friend. It might just be a real "win-win" situation.

                  G.
                  katyb
                  I have the horses in electric tape paddocks - two of them, about four acres each.
                  There is you answer right there, borrow 3 or 4 pigs from your friend, put the pigs in one of the paddocks and move them when they have cleared that section. I raise pigs, and they really are natures rototillers!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    How many strands of electric would they require? My horses just respect the tape, so I only have two strands. Would a solar charger pack enough punch?

                    We have bush-hogged once. I have a friend (yes, I have great friends!) who lets us borrow her tractor. I have been mowing briars with my little cub cadet lawn tractor, but I finished off the deck this week (oops!), so that is at an end, lol.

                    Thanks for all of the replies!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My pigs are kept in with just one wire, it is about nose high, half way up their body, they don't go near it. Pigs learn very quickly what electric wire is, but you do need to train them if your friend hasn't already.

                      Solar works fine!
                      Last edited by deckchick; May. 30, 2011, 09:27 AM. Reason: added the solar.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pigs are short. They can easily be contrained with two strands of wire. You need a good quality fence charger (plug in or solar) that's properly grounded. Note that's wire, not tape or braid or other "equine" type stuff. You want Senhor Suínos to get a good jolt when he gets his first. That makes it unlikely he'll need a second. But he may be a slow learner, so keep the fence up. Use Roundup on the fenceline, plus 12 inches either side of the fence (so that there are no "edibles" near the line to temp him).

                        You can spray, but that will take some real money. Since you're on a "month to month" lease that's problematical.

                        The pig solution is elegant in that it doesn't use chemicals, you've "rented" the pigs, and your only expense is fence materials that can be recovered and used again in other projects. If the pigs are yours you'll actually make a profit if you sell them and take care of a big piece of your grocery bill if you eat them. Get started now and you're all set for a nice barbeque for Labor Day!!!!!

                        Good luck in the project.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by katyb View Post
                          The briars seem to be coming back thicker than ever. Is there anything we can use to kill them off that isn't really expensive or complicated? The horses can easily be kept off the land, so that's not an issue. We're in east TN, in a largely residential area, so burning is out of the question. Thanks!

                          when you mowed them they sent runners underground to compensate....there are some very specific woody brush killers you could use on them...

                          Tamara
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Hhhmmm - we were actually thinking of raising calves, but then beef prices went nuts about two weeks later. I think I could eat a pig I raised, since my friend who raises them says that they would eat you, given an opportunity, lol. Would wire on step-ins work for pigs? We would need easily portable pig "paddocks" to move from patch to patch.

                            Tamara? I thought that might be the case. I hate briars! I am scarred and have ripped up clothes and shoes (Yes, I really was dumb enough to bush hog briars in tennis shoes, lol). GGGRRR. It would be such a gorgeous piece of property if it were appropriately maintained.

                            http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/...ula4me/025.jpg

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I use poly rope like this. Get these stepin posts, and you are good to go!

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