A plan for pasture management under dry conditions


Integrated pasture management can include practices such as grazing rotations, herbicide applications, fertility analysis, mechanical brush management, and regular pasture health assessments.

Corteva Agriscience wants to use a systemic approach to highlight the soil health aspects of integrated pasture management.

Isabelle Thibout, product manager for specialties at Corteva Agriscience, says that soil type, soil fertility, blends of forages suitable for the soil, and weed, brush, and tree control all factor into a healthy pasture, for a healthy herd and good bottom-line for producers.

Thibout says that based on the integrated approach, fertilizer applications based on soil tests is one step to a healthier pasture. Second, is herbicide control warranted for those unwanted invasive weeds, or undesirable brush, or trees, that compete with grass?

“Sometimes when we don’t have this plan in place, it can be difficult to know what to focus on,” says Thibout.

She suggests starting in one pasture with a stand assessment, soil testing, determining if different species of grasses need to be seeded, and protecting what’s there; then implement a grazing rotation plan as well as regular plant health assessments.

Of course dry weather conditions will affect plant health and soil fertility, and Thibout suggests looking into drought-tolerant forage blends.

Integrated pasture management can not only improve soil health, it can also help to increase stock density. To put it into perspective, Thibout says that on 80 acres, for example, of herbicide treated and untreated pasture, 80 per cent more cows can be grazed on the same amount of land.

Catch the full conversation between Thibout and RealAg’s Kara Oosterhuis:

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