Green Hay Project

by richard on August 10, 2014

Our hay meadows are relatively diverse (45-50 species) compared to modern pastures, but lack some of the species found in nearby meadows, such as Pennerley Meadows SSSI, just 1 km north of our land. Using green hay from Pennerley Meadows could potentially add another 20 species to our meadows, so this year we arranged for green hay from Pennerley to be strewn on to some of our meadows. We are grateful to Natural England staff at The Stiperstones NNR (who manage Pennerley Meadows) for allowing use of green hay from Pennerley and to the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme for partially funding the project.

Hill Cottage Green Hay 013After our hay had been cut, baled and removed the ‘recipient’ meadows were harrowed to create some bare ground for seeds to germinate. Our contractor then cut Pennerley meadows and round baled the cut material immediately (this is the green hay). He transported it to our meadows and unrolled the bales; there are no photos of this part of the process as he did this around midnight! It’s not essential to do this at night but it is important to spread the green hay quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and kill the seeds.



Hill Cottage Green Hay 015The next morning we set to work to distribute (strew) the green hay as quickly as possible, so that the seeds will not have dropped from the plants until the hay dries. We had so much green hay we were able to strew the hay over three fields rather than the planned two.

Hill Cottage Green Hay 033




Shortly we will introduce our sheep to the fields as their trampling action should ensure the seeds are in close contact with the soil and hence will germinate better. We now await next spring to see if we have managed to introduce cowslip, greater butterfly orchid, common twayblade and the other species from Pennerley meadows.

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