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Pasture Renovation, Intervention, Nutrients, Water, And Diseases

Pasture Renovation, Intervention, Nutrients, Water, And Diseases

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Published by: Savannah Simone Petrachenko on Oct 26, 2012
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01/31/2014

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Renovation, Intervention, Nutrients, Water, Dise...

Renovating Pastures Try managing with existing sward for two or three seasons, if possible. If yield, palatability, and durability are not satisfactory, plan to renovate. Soil test Apply P, K, and lime as per soil test Apply N as per forage species Choose pasture seed mixture suited to drainage and climate Decide when: spring or late summer Suppress sod Fertilize Appropriate tillage Sow seed Wait Graze when 20-25 cm (8-10 inches) high Pasture Renovation - Fall Tillage Expensive option Graze or clip Kill existing plants with glyphosate or paraquat Secondary tillage in spring Prepare seed bed (should only compress 0.5 cm (1/4") Sow seed Wait Pasture Renovation - No Till Drill Early spring Advantage: moisture Disadvantage: cooler soil August: if enough H20 and no early frost Modified grain drill is OK Sod seeder is better Check that seeder slot shape is appropriate for your soil (e.g. V, U, inverted T) No Till Drill Use Herbicide to suppress sod at 5-10 cm Innoculate legume seeds

Sow seeds 0.5 to 1.5 cm deep, deeper if drier Seed bed is moist and friable, not wet Keep old sod grazed down initially when it gets to 8-10 cm Broadcast Seeding Works on thin sod with bare ground showing Graze heavily before seeding Seed-soil contact and water availability may be problems; germination may be < 75% Brillion seeder Frost Seeding Broadcast seed on snow or frozen ground or during freeze-thaw days (November-April) Seed worked into ground Moisture is usually plentiful Weird Ways to Add Legumes Feed birds foot trefoil seed to livestock on pasture. Spread the manure around. Seed legumes in small areas. Graze them only after seed has set. Add 0.5 kg of legume seed to manure in spreader. How do I know my pasture is poor? Slow growth, discolouration, spots on plants Overgrazing or undergrazing Plenty of weeds If so, first try rejuvenation with fertilizer How do I know my pasture needs renovation? Few productive forages, uneven Bare spots Thin (sparse) sod Dry Matter Yield (Kg/Ha) for 20 Ontario Pastures over 6 Years Birdsfoot trefoil was sown into existing pastures Yields were measured over next 6 years 1 2 3 4 5 6 Renovated 4600 4370 4200 4930 5180 6520 Unimproved 1240 1160 810 1300 1720 1460 Limitations to Renovation Method Topography Stoniness Drainage problems Accessibility of field to equipment Availability of equipment Erosion potential

Pasture Maintenance - Elements Adequate plant recovery time after grazing Correct allocation of forage per animal Short grazing periods (1-5 days) High stocking density Planning and monitoring Resting Periods Take half, leave half 50% of forage eaten 50% remains Rotational grazing Paddocks In at 20-25 cm (8-10") Out at 5 cm (2") Rest period = 14-40 days

Comparison of New to Established Pasture Consider benefits of management to soil and plants New pasture following a field crop vs. adjacent permanent pasture New, after crop Permanent Pasture Earthworm numbers Low High Plant density Low High Rate of regrowth Low High Possible Problems with New Pasture Residual herbicides from previous crop Allelopathic toxins from previous alfalfa plants will stunt new alfalfa; tall fescue will inhibit trefoil

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