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Managing Your Pasture. Joyce E. Meader Dairy/ Livestock Educator Cooperative Extension, U. Conn. Benefits of Pasture. Reduced soil erosion Reduced nutrient loading of water Exercise Forage for grazing animals Pleasing landscapes. If forage species survive grazing.

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managing your pasture

Managing Your Pasture

Joyce E. Meader

Dairy/ Livestock Educator

Cooperative Extension, U. Conn

benefits of pasture
Benefits of Pasture
  • Reduced soil erosion
  • Reduced nutrient loading of water
  • Exercise
  • Forage for grazing animals
  • Pleasing landscapes
if forage species survive grazing
If forage species survive grazing

Tall Fescue increases with animal density, not good for pregnant mares

Bluegrass/ white clover survive continuous grazing, but dormant during the summer

Timothy needs 45 day rest between grazing

Orchardgrass needs >5” regrowth to survive

Ryegrass may not survive winter

reduce soil erosion by maintaining grass cover
Reduce soil erosion by maintaining grass cover:
  • Need more than 2 acres per animal unit

(if on pasture only)

  • Avoid wet soils
  • Use sacrifice area in addition to pasture (well drained, no organic matter, minimal size)
reduce nutrient loading of surface and groundwater
Reduce nutrient loading of surface and groundwater
  • Vegetative buffers along streams
  • Divert polluted runoff from sacrifice lots towards level pastures,

away from surface water and wells.

  • Spread manure on pastures in fall, utilizing the nutrients for growth.
reduce nutrient loading
Reduce nutrient loading…

Use soil test before applying N,P, K, lime

Keep stocking rate < 1.5 animal units /Acre to prevent excessive phosphorus levels in the soil if on pasture year around

Apply limestone to maintain soil pH > 6.0 allows nutrient uptake by desired grasses and legumes

forage for grazing animals
Forage for grazing animals
  • Many grasses need 2-6 weeks rest periods to re-grow roots and shoots
  • Grass farming requires a sacrifice area for livestock between harvests.
forage for grazing animals1
Forage for Grazing Animals
  • Maximum grazing period = 7 days (1 week)

Summer:

Rest period of 28 days (4 weeks)

Total of 5 paddocks (or 5 week rotation)

Spring:

Rest period of 14 days (2 weeks)

Total of 3 paddocks (or 3 week rotation)

Hay the other 2 paddocks in the spring

slide9
Clip pastures before rest periods
    • remove weeds before seed heads mature
    • remove mature grass for uniform regrowth
    • increases grass tillering (density)

Add livestock to graze steep/ rocky land where mowing is difficult

slide10
Remove manure or drag before rest periods, to encourage uniform grazing

Use broadleaf weed killer on poisonous weeds and hard to kill brush, before clipping

red maple, wild cherry, jimsonweed, nightshade, milkweed, multiflora rose…

not too many livestock owners are grass farmers
Not too many livestock owners are grass farmers………….

May you become one of the elite….

who are outstanding in the field

of

pasture science