Pasture Management – 4 Pasture Care Tips from the Experts
Taking care of your pastures is of an importance that cannot be understated.
Looked-after pastures provide continually good grazing for animals, absorb rainfall, filter runoff, and reduce erosion.
Here are four tips for good pasture care.
Testing Your Soil – Key to good Pasture Care
“Has the soil been tested?” asked the man, “Yer, nothing too serious,” replied Darryl, who continued, “What do you know about lead?”
Ok, you might not be as bad as Darryl Kerrigan in the Australian classic The Castle, but it is extremely important to know exactly what’s in your soil. A soil test can tell you which minerals are in the soil and which minerals you need. Finding out the nutrient levels and the pH levels in your soil allows for a customised fertilisation strategy for your pastures.
When taking samples of your soil, make sure to collect a representative sample from the entirety of each pasture instead of just a small area. Nutrient levels and pH levels can vary within a small distance, so having a detailed analysis of what you have enables you to effectively fertilise your soil.
For the longevity of your pastures, soil testing should be done every three years.
Fertilising After Soil Testing
The soil analysis will provide a detailed picture of your soil and how to act depending on what you want the pastures for. For instance, knowing the pH level, which is the acidity of the soil, is fundamental to your usage of the pasture. A pH level below 7 is acidic, which is detrimental to the health and productivity of the soil because it lacks nutrients. How you use a pasture will dictate how you should fertilise it; heavily grazed pastures, for instance, require 100-150 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year, but too much supplied at any one time will be detrimental to animal health and water quality.
A detailed fertilising strategy can be derived from soil testing that will ensure the perfect treatment of your pastures.
Due to the latest advancements in modern agricultural technology, mulching is the preferred modern alternative to slashing and mowing. Mulch can be used as an organic fertiliser to aid in the rejuvenation of pasture. Of course, the method you choose to use is dependent upon individual requirements such as the size of your property, available budget, and the purpose of the area you wish to mulch.
Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
Depending on how many pastures you have, the key to employing all these tips is rotation. Once you have a detailed analysis of your soil, a fertilising strategy, and an accompanying mulching routine, implementing a rotation plan allows all these tips the resting time to take effect year after year. Resting periods allow grasses to rest and restore energy reserves, and relieve stress on heavily grazed sections. Implementing a simple two or three pasture system will improve overall productivity in a routine fashion.
These pasture care tips will ensure the quality and continuation of your pastures for years to come!