Paddock topping, is an extremely important part of paddock and pasture maintenance and should be carried out on a regular basis. Paddock topping removes tall tough grass that is not palatable to livestock and in particular horses. Weeds are cut before they have time to go to seed, creating a larger problem by germinating and spreading. This is a particularly good way of keeping ragwort, docks, buttercups and thistles in check. Paddock topping will also stimulate new growth in the grass and create a much thicker sward helping to prevent weed growth. Grazing animals prefer to graze on pasture that is between five and seven centimetres long.
Paddock Topping with Flail Mowers
Flail mowers are an excellent way for topping paddocks. Flail mowers reduce cuttings to small pieces called mulch. Rotting mulch rots down quickly and helps revitalise the soil.
Grass density is increased and uneven surfaces levelled because the machine is fitted with a large, heavy rear roller. Compact tractors are normally fitted with turf tyres which cause less damage to the sward.
Paddocks that are out of control can be topped and brought back to a manageable condition. Bracken, docks, thistles, buttercups and other large intrusive weeds can be reduced to a fine mulch which can be collected or left to rot down.
Rotary mowers are good for keeping a paddock, grass and pasture in good condition. and leave a really good finish. “Rotaries” are extremely useful for removing the tops off grass where it has seeded when the bottom of the plant is still growing. This leads to a thicker sward which can smoother weeds and unwanted species.
Verges, ditches, watercourses and inaccessible areas that are very hard to reach by conventional machines can be topped with a side arm flail mower. Powerful compact tractors can reach areas that are not normally accessible to larger machines.
Other Types of Paddock Topping
Depending on the finish that is required we may use other types of traditional mowers and toppers. Conventional topping machines are very good but can tend to leave a thick row of grass and debris behind them which should be removed. Clearing this can be tedious and time consuming. Leaving a thick row of rotting grass can be detrimental to the sward. Conventional machines are best used on shorter grasses that is not out of control.
Finishing mowers are normally used on amenity grass land but can be a good way of topping a paddock. Mulch is chopped finely and they do leave an excellent finish.