Good grazing habits and pasture management goes hand in hand with maintaining healthy and productive livestock. Implementing good pasture management principles and grazing practices increases forage yield and quality, ensuring your livestock remain healthy and feed on nutritious pasture all year round.
How to maintain quality pasture meal for your cattle
Livestock health plays a major role in the quality of products they provide. Luckily, there are a few things every farmer can do to ensure the maximum nutrition quality of their cattle's pasture as well as their overall health.
Such measures include:
Monitoring your pasture and land condition
It is crucial for every farmer to monitor their pasture land and test the soil for fertility. Healthy soil contributes to yielding high-quality grasses and legumes, hence promoting healthier livestock and their overall productivity. Do not assume your soil's health. Send it in for testing to the relevant organizations and receive accurate results from certified professionals.
Once you receive the results, you may opt to use lime, fertilizers or implement any other measures as you see fit. For instance, if you are growing grass for your livestock, it is best to maintain lower soil pH levels. However, if you are growing both grass and legumes, it is advisable to keep off fertilizers with a nitrogen base as they promote grass growth, making the legumes struggle.
Similarly, ensuring your soil stays moisturized at all times by keeping it covered promotes healthy soil and overall good quality yield. Avoid bare ground areas at all costs.
Managing grazing frequency and intensity
As a cattle farmer, you need to implement good planning and grazing management habits. You need to plan in advance what seeds you will grow and how the cattle graze in certain parts of the land. A good organizational system and some advanced planning ensure your pasture land remains viable all year round, regardless of dry periods.
Ensure you balance the pasture biomass with the stock number of livestock you have. Overstocking contributes to damaged soils which lead to poor productivity of your cattle. Therefore it is essential to monitor the cattle's grazing habits to prevent soil and pasture degradation.
Pay attention to the climate and rainfall
Climate and observing rainfall have played a major role in farming, ever since the first farmers planted the first seeds in the soil. It is best to plant in late winter and use a rotational grazing system to keep your cattle fed and control the vegetation cover during the growing season.
For legumes, it is advisable to keep them at 3-4 inches at first and then give them a few weeks to get established. Once established, keep the rotations going to maintain healthy growth.
Reduce cover and control weeds
We have already established bare soil is bad. However, excessive vegetative cover prevents seeds from getting to the soil, hence preventing growth, especially of legumes. Similarly, weeds drain nutrients from other plants and block out the sun when they shoot up. They compete with your grasses and legumes, hence reducing their quality.
There are solutions out there for all types of weeds under the sun. Identify the plant pests present in your grazing fields and act quickly to get rid of them.
Importance of good pasture management practices
Cattle farmers need to equip themselves with the tools and practices to ensure high-quality pastures and grazing land. Maintaining emerald-green fields, like those shown in the advertisements on TV is neither easy nor impossible. Good grazing management organizes livestock to make the best use of pasture and ascertaining your livestock remains healthy throughout.
Pasture management and grazing will ultimately help you maintain healthy and productive livestock. By implementing some of these pasture management principles and grazing practices you will increase your forage yield and quality, ensuring your livestock feed on nutritious pasture while keeping your pasture weed free.
Comment below and share some of your best practices.