Achieving the highest return on the crop and nutrient investment is vital for any farming operation. And when it comes to feeding your livestock, you’re balancing the success of your feedstocks with the success of your herd.
High-quality pastures are an excellent tool for herd management. Here are four tips for keeping your pastures in top-notch shape.
1. Select the Right Forage Mix
Selecting the right pasture mix for your farm means considering your species and desired feed qualities while understanding your field characteristics. For many farmers, a combination of grasses and legumes may provide the greatest overall benefit to your livestock. In permanent pastures, perennial species are a good option.
2. Fertilize and Amend
To see maximum growth from your pasture forage crop, you’ll need to feed the plants appropriately. Pasture goals often determine pasture fertilization. It’s essential to have a whole picture of what your field needs. Lime provides nutrients and corrects soil acidity, which can be detrimental to legume hay. While nitrogen leads to early growth and green-up, an abundance can decrease legumes' vigor.
The best place to start your fertilizer assessment is soil testing. Fall tests will give you the most accurate picture of your field's needs.
3. Manage for Weeds
Weeds in your pasture can be managed early by your livestock but can limit the growth of the high-quality forage you want in your field. Clipping may also be an option, but select a herbicide that works best with your forage mix if chemical methods are necessary. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW HERBICIDE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS, especially related to grazing, lactation, plant back and harvest intervals.
4. Avoid Over and Undergrazing
Use pasture rotation to ensure your livestock get the nutrients they need while doing the work to keep your crops healthy. Overgrazing can decrease plant quantity, cause an overgrowth of less productive plants and increase erosion, soil degradation and compaction. In addition, under grazed pastures lead to less vigorous forage growth and the establishment of unwanted woody plant species.
A Proven Solution for Furthering Your Forages
Better, healthier pastures mean more forage at better quality. At Agnition, we want you to see success from every nutrient dollar spent on your farm. Our proven solution, Generate®, can help you do just that.
Generate works by stimulating existing microbes in the soil to drive more efficient nutrient utilization to your pasture mix. When applied to foliar, Generate is shown to produce plants with:
Larger biomass and leaf area
Increased nutrient density and quality
Quicker forage regrowth