Without harrowing there are resultant green patches which cattle will avoid eating unless forced by the lack of other feed in the paddock. In order to force the cattle to nibble at these green mounds they must remain in the paddock for a longer period. This additional stay results in overgrazing the areas between green patches until finally they have no alternative but to nibble around the decomposing manure. The overgrazing slows down the recovery rate of the pasture (think of it as solar panels) and can lead to the dying out of some species and the increasing dominance of less palatable species (unwanted weeds).
Cattle manure is “free to good home” fertiliser. All that is required is to spread it evenly around the paddock and encourage a rapid incorporation into the soil. Leaving it as mounds over stimulates those patches while leaving the remaining pasture short of the free nutrient.
The harrows below are dragged behind a lightweight 4WD RTV and are small enough to work behind a quad bike. The paddocks on this property are about a hectare in size and the harrowing activity takes very little time and is performed as soon as the cattle have exited the paddock while the manure is still fresh and soft and spreads like butter.
|Chain harrows in need of some repair|
|The typical pattern left after harrowing. The manure is spread over much larger area. These streaks disappear in just a few days.|
|A close up of the manure pat after harrowing|