Sheep grazing after copper spraying

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7 years 7 months ago #525215 by delboy11
Hi everyone, I sprayed my fruit trees today with copper Oxychloride and am wonder how long before my sheep can graze the grass under them. Google has very little information on the topic. Thanks

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7 years 7 months ago #525237 by LongRidge
How much got onto the ground, and has got onto the ground from previous spraying? Because of the risk to sheep of copper poisoning, I don't graze sheep in the orchard at all.

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7 years 7 months ago #525241 by delboy11
Not a huge amount went onto the grass but I'm sure some drops and drift would have. We are new here so don't know the spraying history but the sheep have been grazing in the orchard prior to me spraying and they all seem OK. If I can't graze my sheep is it the same for my calves? Thanks

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7 years 7 months ago #525247 by LongRidge
No, nor goats or horses. They need much more copper than sheep can handle. Usually, copper poisoning in sheep from grazing orchards develops slowly. Thus they are frequently grazed in orchards, but for only a year or so.

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7 years 7 months ago #525255 by 4trees
Hi, we had a apeach orchard next to us a few years ago, he grazed sheep under the trees and a number of them died, and the autopsy showed a build up of copper. I would be waiting until you get some good rain to wash it well off the top of the grass, before letting them in. Cheers.

Cheers
http:treeandshrub.co.nz

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7 years 7 months ago #525262 by muri
The point about copper is that its effects a cumulative, it doesnt break down easily and all the soil tests in old orchards converting to residential show very high copper levels beyond the permitted levels often
Rain will only wash it into the lower levels where it will continue to have an effect. One of the biggest known affects is the damage it does to the soil biological activities, particularly killing earth worms
Not sure why you would wholesale spray an orchard with copper if you were wanting to graze it..
In an organic regime copper spraying is limited in how often it is permitted to be used

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7 years 7 months ago #525265 by delboy11
Oh this living off the land is such a learning experience. I sprayed because I thought I was doing something good for my many fruit trees but alas I having created a problem on the grass below. So I will never spray copper again that's an easy decision. So moving forward will I be able to graze in the future say after leaving it for a couple of months and never using copper again? Also what would people now recommend I use on my orchard ? I'm guessing there must surely be an organic alternative. Thanks for your help.

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7 years 7 months ago #525275 by muri
What were you trying to achieve by spraying the orchard with copper as that would determine what you would use on your orchard.

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7 years 7 months ago #525282 by delboy11
A little embarrassed to say but I really have no idea what I am doing so thought I would just spray the orchard as a maintainence thing as the trees all seem in pretty bad shape when we arrived in April. Silly me thought copper surely can't be harmful since it a natural thing. So so much to learm

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7 years 7 months ago #525285 by muri
Probably the best way of ensuring that the trees are well fed and healthy is by producing a healthy soil. Making compost and feeding the soil will feed the trees which should improve health of trees.
Sheep grazing an orchard will contribute to this process but is also often leads to damage from the sheep pruning trees on your behalf once they are in leaf, rubbing on trees and eating the bark.
Do as much reading as possible, start with organic as that way you can learn the basic principles of what you are doing, even if you dont want to follow an organic regime
Am not sure where you live but often there are courses around that can help you find your feet faster

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7 years 7 months ago #525287 by delboy11
Thank you muri. I really was trying to do something good and would prefer to be as close to organic as possible. I am in the morrinsville/Te Aroha area and would welcome a helping hand on how to have some happy healthy trees. Most of the trees are pretty big and have barrels around their trunks so the sheep do no damage there. During winter I managed a small amount of pruning but it all seems a little over welming at times. I read so much and often just end up confused as there is so much conflicting information on the net. Next job is to find some corrugated cardboard to get around the trunks. I suppose life styling is all about learning ....... And boy am I learning and loving it.

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7 years 7 months ago #525289 by LongRidge
Copper spraying is a very effective anti-fungal spray, and is probably less poisonous than other anti-fungals, to both the fruit and the grass underneath and the applier. Except for sheep, a copper based spray is comparatively very safe. The problem is that mineralised drenches have copper added, so if you need to use them, and are copper spraying, then you increase the risk. Also, iff you are on a property with soil near Te Aroha rather than on the peat near Morrinsville, the natural copper level may be higher.
You could phone 0800 100 123 and ask the nice receptionist at Ravendown to find out how much it would cost for you to get a test for copper done.
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7 years 7 months ago #525301 by permaculture15
I have read that dolomite neutralizes the effects of copper sulfate when both these substances are fed together to animals. Dolomite is a carbonous material consisting of calcium and magnesium carbonate. But i don't ever remember reading about the kind of copper you mentioned.
Just to let you know, this is only from reading, not based on actual experience.
You'd do well if you follow the advice of the seniors on this site, people like LongRidge, Ruth, Sue, and Inger. There are others, but these are the names I can recall.

People feed loose minerals or mineral licks to raise mineral levels in their stock, but I think it's good to take this idea with a grain of salt. We haven't tried it.
Instead, we have been feeding our cows seaweed meal, apple cider vinegar ( two litres at a time in the troughs) and loose Himalayan rock salt for supplementation to their diets. Later I plan to give them comfrey (once I have some mature plants) and once in a while, some molasses.
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7 years 6 months ago #525306 by muri
Yes dolomite will neutralise copper in an animal, we gave it once to a goat who drank the copper sulphate meant for his feet and the dolomite worked a treat.
What it does in the soil could be an entirely different thing.
My advice if moving into a new property is see how everything does in the first year to then decide what you want to do, keep, get rid of and use this time to do as much learning as possible
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7 years 6 months ago #525312 by LongRidge
Remember that in excess, comfrey is very poisonous. A cousin of The Manager died from over-use :(

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