Dryland Pasture, paddock paradise, arid climate

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Dryland Pasture, paddock paradise, arid climate

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        08-06-2014, 01:06 PM
    Dryland Pasture, paddock paradise, arid climate

    I thought I would start a thread on reclamation of dryland pasture in a truly arid environment as my husband and I continue to turn our property into a horse property. Some may find this ultra boring, I am sorry, but I thought others might find this interesting and/or useful. I am a soil scientist and conservation planner so I am kind of methodical when I do these things. Here goes:

    Set up:
    Our property is split rougly into 3 sections, with 2/3 on an upper terrace and 1/3 sitting below a rock ledge (we call it a cliff, but it is only about 10-12 feet high). The upper 2/3 is divided, with our house, garden, water well, and septic system taking up half of it. So 1/3 usable for horses on the upper terrace, 1/3 for the house on the upper terrace, and 1/3 usable for horses below the cliff. We are currently getting perimeter fencing up, concentrating on the upper terrace this summer, and doing below the cliff next summer. We will be implementing paddock paradise, with 2 loops, 1 loop on the upper terrace, a lane chute behind the house, and a second loop below the cliff. The arena is in the middle of the upper loop.
    Property is a total of 4.2 acres (so we are talking small scale).

    Climate and soils:
    We are at the convergence of the Blue Mountain, East Slope Cascades, High Desert and Great Basin biomes. We get about 9-11 inches of precip per year (combination rain and snow-water content). Our soils are cobbly loamy sands with high ash content from Mt Mazama (now Crater Lake).

    Seeding Plan:
    For phase 1 (upper terrace), we are going to seed the area between the paddock paradise lane and the riding arena with a dryland pasture mix. This will be for a combination of erosion control, dust abatement and occasional light grazing. We will also seed the area between the paddock lane and the road for aesthetics, dust abatement and weed control. Currently the entire area has a lot of cheat grass, asyllum, tumble mustard and various brassicaes. There is also a few native bunch grasses and native wildflowers hanging on, but sucumbing to the invasives. These include Indian Ricegrass, Sandbergs Bluegrass, Thickspike Wheatgrass, and Foxtail Barley. Mariposa Lilies were abundant this year, and a few asters and blue flax were noted.
    To combat weeds, we have opted for non-natives at this time that can better compete with cheat grass. In a few years we will look at transitioning to native bunch grasses once the cheat is controled.
    The seed mix includes:
    5 lbs Russian Wildrye (Swift cultivar), 5 lbs Hycrest Crested Wheatgrass, 5 lbs Siberian Wheatgrass, and 10 lbs Alfalfa (Ladak 65 cultivar).

    I will try to remember to get photos as we progress, I am very bad at doing that.
    boots and SueC like this.
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        08-06-2014, 01:53 PM
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    KigerQueen likes this.
        08-06-2014, 03:09 PM

    Diagram of the property. Thick yellow lines represent the post and board fence that is going in now. Thin yellow line shows where electric interior fence will go to make paddock paradise lanes. Blue oval is my funky arena. Faint orange line shows the cliff. The Southern end of this line is tallest, tapers off so it can easily be walked over on the North end.
    Green squares are the hay shed and tack room. Existing green building is the existing run in shed in the dry lot. We end up with 2 dryland pastures: The West one on the upper terrace surrounding the arena, and the East one with the cliff in it (which I just realized is heart shaped). The steepest part of the cliff is excluded for safety. North of the house will eventually have green houses and other non-horse uses, including keeping them 50 feet off the well and off of the septic tank.

    ETA: uploaded upside down, so North is Down and West is Right :(
        08-06-2014, 06:37 PM
    WOW that is amazing! I'd love to do a pasture paradise, sadly its not possible with my current property. But its a dream!

    KigerQueen likes this.
        08-06-2014, 06:44 PM
    Green Broke
    Not sure about your thin yellow lines, hard to see and not sure what you are meaning as paradise lanes. Have you left enough room for a hay truck to come in , unload and turn around? Also on your hay shed, if you are getting retriever loads or squeeze loads that the shed is tall enough , the main complaint from our hay delivery guys plus the lack of space to manuever. I am on a dirt road, so the semis just park on the road ;) .
    karliejaye likes this.
        08-07-2014, 10:31 AM
    Originally Posted by stevenson    
    not sure about your thin yellow lines, hard to see and not sure what you are meaning as paradise lanes. Have you left enough room for a hay truck to come in , unload and turn around? Also on your hay shed, if you are getting retriever loads or squeeze loads that the shed is tall enough , the main complaint from our hay delivery guys plus the lack of space to manuever. I am on a dirt road, so the semis just park on the road ;) .
    Hay shed and tack room are already built (just not on the 2012 ortho map. Along with a teardrop driveway that we excavated. We had a semi truck deliver hay a few months ago and it works just fine, thank you.

    Paddock paradise is a unique horse keeping idea where instead of a big rectangular drylot, the horses are on lanes or loops about 12-30 feet in width to encourage more movement. I like the concept from a land conservation paradigm because in my area the land is denuded very fast by horses, so this allows the horses to wander about, but not destroy all the habitat. Sorry they are hard to see. The actual image was too big to upload so I took a photo of the computer screen.

        08-08-2014, 04:45 PM
    I'd like to see how this progresses. Looks like a lot of fun! I, too, have to small a property to paddock paradise.
        08-10-2014, 12:36 PM
    August 2014 pasture condition and finished projects

    A few pics. One of the current dryland pasture condition. ..which is dry with a lot of cheat grass.
    The other two are of finished projects. The hay barn and tack room plus a schooling bridge in the middle of the teardrop driveway.



    Why with the upside down loading!?!?!?
    SueC likes this.
        09-15-2014, 03:35 PM
    We are WAY behind schedule getting the perimeter fencing up and thus also on getting the track set up. Equipment rental adds up FAST, and my back goes out fast. But, the parts of the fence we have up are lovely and add a lot to the property.

    For seeding I am waiting for it to get cold enough that the seed won't immediately germinate only to be frozen. Frost seeding is all about timing. Ideally I would like to get it on the ground the day before it snows, but we always seem to either get surprise storms, or no snow when they call for it. Predicting weather in Oregon is about like spinning a wheel of fortune.

    A darn nice fence if I do say so myself:

    Also note the giant pile of fill dirt and rocks, I think from years ago when the house foundation was graded. I need to get that flattened out a bit. I am going to leave it a bit so the horses have to cross it, but right now it is dangerous.
    Wallaby likes this.
        09-15-2014, 05:19 PM
    Nice fence . When you're finished, feel free to come and do mine lol.

    I do have a question re your choice of grass... I'm planning on seeding my 2.5 ac also, but have an IR horse, so have to be extra careful what I plant. When I see"rye and wheat"I automatically think sugars. Is there any place where one can find analysis of these grasses? Or would I be better off planting timothy and orchard, maybe some brome, since we have irrigation?
    Wallaby and stevenson like this.

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