Pasture Management

Using modern pasture/crop cultivars is one of many tools enabling the potential to increase farm productivity.

Agricom invest heavily in research to find the ideal pasture/crop management techniques to achieve maximum results, for both the stock and plant production. Forages that have had significant research put into them are tall fescue, Tonic plantain, red clover, Hunter forage brassica, and both Winfred and Spitfire forage rapes.

Quick Reference to Pasture Establishment

Pre-Drilling

Before establishing new pastures/crops, time and effort should be taken to correct any soil nutrition deficiencies in order to reach the full potential of the new pasture/crop. A soil test should be completed at least 6 months before sowing in order to attempt to correct any deficiencies.

Irrelevant of drilling technique being used, the seedbed should be even and weed free to ensure an even sowing depth and to reduce competition for the establishing plants from weeds.

Fertiliser should also be applied, whether it be broadcast or drilled with the seed, to give the establishing plants access to required nutrients as their roots establish.

Establishment

The establishing plants should be monitored closely for any sign of insect attack and germinatings weed. Corrective measures should be applied as soon as possible.

Initial Grazing

Care should be taken with the first grazing to ensure the damage to plants is minimised. Test the plants ability to withstand grazing by seeing if they pull out when manually pulled. Ideally the initial grazing should be light and very short in duration as plants are still developing. Grazing in heavy soil conditions, drought conditions or with heavy stock is likely to damage the young plants. If possible, graze with young stock when the risk of pugging and plant stress is low.

Subsequent Grazings

In the first 12 months, graze regularly to keep pastures below 3,500 kgDM/ha. This will aid in the tillering process and give companion species (e.g. clover and herbs) the ability to establish strongly. An application of 30 units N/ha is advisable post 1st grazing.

If possible, the newest pastures should not be over grazed when stressed (e.g. drought). This will reduce the persistency and production of the pasture into the future. If grazing in drought conditions is unavoidable, ensure there is at least 1,250kgDM/ha grazing residual.