For a few years now, we have been slashing the pasture in order to improve the soil. When we first got the property the A soil horizon was very thin, less than a centimeter. The topsoil has increased around half an inch per year. Even without slashing, just removing the cattle reduced compaction significantly. Slash and drop the pastures puts large amounts of organic matter into the soil.
The pasture history since we have had the property is as follows :
2007 – there was no pasture, cows were agisted on the property and kept the grass down.
2008 – we had the paddocks cut and baled (700 small squares from about 10 acres)
2009 – slashed all the paddocks and left to mulch
2010 – slashed a little, then tractor broke down, most pasture left alone
2011 – slashed all, tractor repaired
The species growing in the pasture have changed over the years. The last two years have been particularly wet.
White clover is present but seems reduced.
Red clover was introduced onto the dam fill areas 2 years ago and is still present and appears to be increasing.
dock weed was starting to increase in the paddocks. This is probably due to the increased rainfall.
Scotch thistle came up a fair bit where the dams had been constructed. Due to heavy soil disturbance. Slashing fixes them up. And where they have previously been slashed they reduced significantly.
Fog grass has always been present but seems to be more prevalent this year. Apparently this species is tolerant of waterlogged soils.
Buttercup has always been present, but more so this year especially in moist depressions. This one is expected to thrive in wet soils. No surprise here.
Plantain is significantly reduced in the pasture this year.
The pasture is most likely not great for grazing, but I think the biodiversity is good for soil building.