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Northern VA - help identifying grass, help with pasture management, etc.

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  • Northern VA - help identifying grass, help with pasture management, etc.

    We found two potential building lots. They are in a very "farmy" area (think cow farms, etc) and have very long (currently brown) grass. Some green peeking through. These are 10+ acre lots. We would build home, barn, fenced paddocks. I've boarded for years and am not very familiar with types of pasture grass, seeding, fertilizing. These lots would need to be bush-hogged/cut down and one of them has some thorny vines growing up and out.

    How does one go about assessing first of all, what type of grass or hay is growing? I know we should soil test. I am also hoping our barn builder, when we choose one, can help us evaluate where to place the barn, which direction it should face, as in which direction the dutch doors should face, protective awning/run in area we plan on attaching to barn, etc. Both lots face northwest almost exactly. (a.e., front of home would face northwest). Which way is best for a barn to face??

    Would love any and all advice, and especially if anyone knows of an ag. person or company we can call to evaluate the current pasture, quality, etc. Thanks!

  • #2
    Contact the local county extension agent for assistance. Get a soil sample and have it analyzed on the land you are serious about. That will help you assess the area for pasture.

    Secondly, Lyme disease from deer ticks is very common in parts of Virginia. I say this because I contracted Lyme disease while pulling some noxious weeds in a damp lower pasture (deer bedded down there at night). I was lucky that I had a classic rash and was treated quickly. If you are poking around in undeveloped land, do check for ticks.
    “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

    St. Padre Pio


    • #3
      Second the county extension agent. S/he can tell you where to get soil sample kits.

      Timing is everything, so get some advice on when to mow, fertilize and seed.

      Enjoy the adventure of building your farmette. If you haven't done so already, try to visit other barns to see how they have done things. Ask lots of questions.
      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


      • #4
        The University of Maryland has excellent workshops on this. I don't have their 2013 schedule but here is last year's: http://www.ansc.umd.edu/ERG/index.cf...ory=events.cfm


        • #5
          just my 2 sense!

          I'd use a Southern States consultant or a co-op soil consultant (Culpeper Farmers cooperative). Any of these that sell pasture products and spread them for you will have folks who do just what you're looking for.

          I'd also recommend a farm consultant who does our area named Reid Folsom 1-800-326-2524. He'd answer all your barn placement/pasture issues. He specializes in new farm sites.

          How about asking your vet or neighbors or local farmers too. Get lots of ideas. Just bush hogging will do wonders to most fields in our area. Good luck and have fun!