Severe weather tolerance is a large part of why we've adopted the approach of utilizing as many native plants in our fields as possible and we're carefully monitoring how our pastures are handling this dry heat. Great progress has been made in a short time making it well worth the extra effort.
This series of pictures clearly display the effects of this approach on a specific portion of our poultry pasture. We had to mow for the third time this year as the grass had grown so thick in areas that we were struggling to move the houses. Comparing the pictures below, you can clearly see the advancements. The first was taken in April of 2015, before the field was fenced and any animals had arrived. The final picture was taken August 11, a week ago today, while Taylor was bush hogging.
The only inputs have been manures spread by our animals from the daily moving of the houses. Not one drop of fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide or seed has been used. We've allowed the existing grasses to go to seed naturally before following up with mowing which helps control the less desirable weeds and distributes a natural mulch through chopped, plant remnants to help maintain moisture while slowly decaying and enriching the soil. Over time the soil health has improved and plant life has exploded.
This is what we mean by the term 'farming with nature'. It is a core tenet in the foundation of all we do on the farm.