The narrow pasture between Drumlin Farm and the railroad tracks along Route 117 is being cleared and fenced in preparation for the return of a quintessentially Lincoln sight: cattle grazing in roadside fields.
The area was historically known as the “night pasture” because it was where the cows were turned out to graze in the evenings, but then the fence deteriorated to the point where it couldn’t safely contain the cows. With no livestock, invasive plant species took over the field, said Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary Manager Renata Pomponi.
Drumlin Farm is replacing the fence as part of a grant from the National Resource Conservation Service (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) to promote rotational grazing and invasives removal. The sanctuary has also invested in the clearing and fencing work as part of its ecological management plan, Pomponi said.
“Our staff have been working on that field for two years in preparation — a combination of physical removal (hard work!) and some limited chemical spraying to get rid of the black swallow wort. Our goal is to return cows to that field as soon as we can,” she said.
“The prospect of cleaning up that edge and having cows be the first thing people see in the early mornings and evenings as they drive into Lincoln over the railroad tracks has always been so appealing to me. We’re excited about restoring it to farmland use,” Pomponi said.