Pasture management is becoming a crucial management process for farms these days. Here in the Midwest a lot of pasture ground is now being used for row crops. This becomes an issue for cattle producers that need pasture to be profitable raising cattle. With the shortages of pasture ground producers must be as efficient as possible with the amount of pasture they have to be profitable. Producers can maximize pasture efficiency through rotational grazing, soil testing, spreading manure, applying fertilizer, and having quality forages.
Rotational grazing is a practice where producers have their pastures divided into different sections to maximize efficiency in pastures. When livestock are introduced to fresh sections are pasture at the right time it eliminates overgrazing and allows the sections that have already been grazed to grow back at a faster rate.
Another crucial step to pasture management is soil testing. By having soil tested, producers are able to see what inputs need to be applied to maximize pasture performance. Also, by having soil tests done eliminates the guessing game and allows producers to only purchase the inputs that the soils need, which will save producers money immediately by having only the inputs they need, applied.
Spreading manure is a great way to give back to the soil. Manure is a valuable natural fertilizer for pasture production. By utilizing manure it allows producers to minimize input costs on fertilizers and maximize pasture performance. It is best to apply manure to the pastures when the forages are growing because the forages demand the most nutrients while they are growing.
After performing soil test producers are able to see what inputs they need to apply to their pastures. Producers are able to take the results to their local farm cooperative and they will give you the proper fertilizer blend to apply to your pasture. Applying the proper fertilizer to a pasture will maximize forage performance and health.
Quality forages are essential for optimum pasture performance. Producers should have a pasture with grasses and legumes. It is very important to have legumes in your pasture because they put nitrogen back into the soil and provide a nutrient rich forage. Here in the Midwest clover is the one of the most common legumes used by producers. Another important part of selecting a quality forage is making sure it produces a large amount of tonnage. By choosing quality forages it will maximize pasture production.
My name is Bryson Jibben, a senior at Western Illinois University. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. I am currently involved in Ag Business club and Alpha Gamma Rho on campus. I have been for fortunate enough to grow up on a farm where my family runs a cow-calf operation consisting of around 25 cows.