3 Mistakes Pasture Managers Make

3 Mistakes Pasture Managers Make

Your stocking density and health of your animals is directly influenced by the health of your soil and the forage that you are able to grow. Caring for your soil properly will lead to higher return on investments year after year. So what are the 3 mistakes pasture managers make?

1) Poor grazing practices

The majority of pasture ground in America is over grazed. It isn’t so much that the stocking density is too much for the acreage, it is more that livestock continually graze the same ground without a rest. As a result of this the more palatable forage is eaten down and the less palatable forage is given an opportunity to outcompete these species. Travel lanes are developed to water, shade, and gates. Over time (potentially not a long
time) the number of animals grazing forage eat the forage down to bare ground. Bare ground doesn’t hold moisture well and these high pressure areas expand, decreasing the available land. Bare ground doesn’t build up organic matter in the soil and the soil slowly dies. Additionally pathogenic baterias begin to build up through the manure of the livestock because it doesn’t have time to metabolize into the soils and help the grass grow. This cycle continues to grow until the animals are rotated off and the pasture has time to rest.

Using smart rotational grazing practices and utilizing electric fence is the number 1 prevention for the health of your animals and pastures. Balancing your soil’s nutrient content will help your pastures tremendously. Using one of AgriGro’s prebiotic products like Ultra or Foliar Blend will help your pasture recover quickly and help manures to break down for the grass to absorb the new available nutrients from the manure.

2) Improper Fertilization – N-P-K

Your soil is alive and needs to be in the proper balance to deliver the results that you desire. N-P-K Fertilizers alone will not deliver the desired results if the other nutrients are not in balance. Most of us try to get by with the least expensive option. In order to figure out what the least expensive option is, that is okay. Sometimes we can get away with it for a season. But sometimes we need to take a deep look into the long term legacy goals for your farm and connect them with the short term immediate result decisions. Too many pasture managers expect N-P-K fertilizers to get the same results year after year and then come to the realization that something is not the same after seeing yields diminish and plant or livestock health deteriorate. Many of these fertilizers can slowly damage your soil’s biology making your farm require the use of more herbicides,
insecticides and fungicides. Plants require more than NPK to be healthy.and sometimes just the addition of what is missing is the best solution to a manager’s problems. Rather than increasing what is already adequate or in excess. There are over 16 essential nutrients required by plants, if any are deficient , no amount of NPK can correct the issue alone.

3) Overfocus on PH

In the recent years there has been a lot of talk revolving around the pH of Soils. So many studies have been done about the ideal pH for each plant’s preference.

All these studies are true, but it is our opinion that these are secondary issues when it comes to overall soil health. Balancing your macro and micronutrients in the soil will give you greater results than simply focusing on raising or lowering your pH by adding lime or sulfur. When we look at the base saturations for optimum nutrient levels of soil we see that Calcium should be between 65%-70% in your soil. Most soils in the US fall well below their optimum base saturation of available Calcium. Learn how to balance your Calcium with AgriCal.