BLEVINS: Good fertility will help insure productive pastures – Bristol Herald Courier

One of the basic principles of crop production is called the law of minimums which says that your yield will always be limited by the factor that is most deficient.

While inadequate soil potash (K2O) levels may be the problem in some instances, other common problems on mountain pastures are low phosphate (P2O5) and low pH. Applying phosphate to soils containing low levels of this nutrient, but capable of high production, encourages growth of white clover.

Grass growth will be stimulated by N fixed by the clover. Clover is also high in feed value and improves the intake and digestibility of the pastures. Calves, for example, often gain an additional 50 pounds in a grazing season when grazing grass-clover rather than pure grass stands.

Most mountain pastures low in phosphate require an application of this nutrient at least every 3 to 4 years. Research done in Virginia demonstrated a 41% increase in forage production was possible over a three-year period as the result of one application of fertilizer that was primarily phosphate. Much of this increase was caused by increased clover in the stands.

Since very small amounts of phosphate and potash are actually removed from the pasture by grazing animals (when good grazing management is practiced), soil fertility levels remain fairly constant once they are built up by fertilization. This is an important consideration when considering the economics of pasture fertilization.

Read the original post:
BLEVINS: Good fertility will help insure productive pastures - Bristol Herald Courier

Related Post

Comments are closed.