Report R024 ****

Problem: Ragwort in permanent pasture
Where: Golden Gate Caravan site, Ampleforth, York
When: July 2003
Status: Countryside Stewardship
Area: 4.14 Hectares (10 acres)
Detail: 128 man-hours (4 men X 4 days) Problem exacerbated by over-wintering sheep, after late cutting to keep within Countryside Stewardship rules. Recommended the confinement of sheep to a small area, as ground becomes winter wet.

Density : Bad area 30 plants to 25 sq. metres (about 1/3rd of field). Over the whole site, density was between 5 and 10 plants per 25 sq metres.

Action taken: 1 experienced & 2 inexperienced young people pulled & piled the weeds for two days. A 2nd experienced (fourth) worker joined them on the last day.

Cost £.540.

Assessment: this was typical, last minute, ragwort pulling. Much better to deal with this problem early on (May & June). The L-Dog enables rosette stage growth to be lifted without any bending. Shorter handled L-D tools were used, even though the plants were tall enough to grab.

Recommendation: if winter grazing is minimised and the field not used as a winter feeding ground, next years problem will be much smaller. Keep the sheep confined to small area in winter or whenever the ground becomes wet. The client was happy with L-D work, but expressed worry about the management recommendations, because they would reduce his income from the grazier.