Grass growth and health are closely linked to the year when you apply fertilizers to your pastures. Organic fertilizers are composed of natural minerals and slowly release their nutrients over time. In addition, organic fertilizers are best used in the fall when the temperatures are cool; however, you may also need liquid fertilizers for pastures. Urea, on the other hand, is nitrogen-rich and quick-release. It is produced from an ammonia and must be mixed with the soil before applying it. For instance, urea is a perfect choice to grow grass that requires acidic soil.
Regardless of whether you use a chemical or organic fertilizer, the amount of forage you grow will depend on the needs of your livestock. A balanced fertilization program will increase the P concentration of plants and improve the nutritional value of forage for your livestock. It’s also important to consider your budget when deciding how much to apply. Applying too much fertilizer can waste money and energy, while using too little will cause less than optimum forage.
If you’re using legumes to manage your pastures, you can eliminate the need for commercial nitrogen fertilizers. Legumes can reduce the need for liquid fertilizers, move nitrogen into the soil and improve the productivity of pasture plants. With 30 percent to 40% legumes, a pasture doesn’t require commercial nitrogen fertilizer. However, nitrogen fixation rates vary widely among species, soil conditions, and seasonal factors. Legumes can increase the N content of the soil by twenty to 250 pounds per acre per year. For reference, N at 0.651 cents per pound equals $13 to $163 per acre.
Before purchasing liquid fertilizers for your pastures, you must first conduct soil testing. This test can be done in a variety of ways. One option is to use an electronic scanner, which measures the nutrient content of the soil. This method is also known as CEC testing. It can count the number of nutrients held by clay and humus colloids. Other methods include the La Motte test, which uses solutions to determine the number of nutrients. Carey Reams prefer this test. The electronic scanner was patented in the 1950s. The results can give you information about the pH levels of the soil and recommend fertilization solutions.
Soil testing helps you determine the type of fertilizer your pastures need. For example, the phosphorus and potassium content of the soil is a fundamental determinant. Phosphorus-rich grounds provide the highest nutrients for pasture grasses, while too acidic soils are not suitable for legumes. Thus, the amount of these nutrients are vital to pasture grasses’ growth and health.
Timely Nitrogen fertilization
Most farmers use moderate amounts of N during spring to increase forage production. However, this extra growth is not utilized efficiently by grazing animals, resulting in a poor return on fertilizer investment. It is a better time to apply nitrogen fertilization to pastures during mid to late June. This will allow additional forage to be produced by mid-summer. However, timely nitrogen fertilization for pastures must be planned carefully to avoid causing unnecessary harm to the environment.
Pasture growth is best stimulated with timely applications of N fertilizer. A split nitrogen fertilizer application will maximize pasture production during early spring and late summer. A mid-summer application is not recommended for cool-season grass pastures, as it will stimulate the growth of summer weeds. However, timely nitrogen fertilizer application during this period can help extend grass growth throughout the fall and early winter.
Alternatives to fertilizer
Among the many alternatives to liquid fertilizer for pastures, organic feed is an excellent choice for farmers who want to boost growth and produce more hay. This organic feed has been specifically designed to improve pasture health while detoxifying the soil. Organic feed is made from all-natural vitamins and minerals that help plants grow and thrive. It also contains no chemicals, making it a safe and effective option for all pasture types.
The use of nitrogen in the soil is vital because it affects protein content and the overall green color of the pasture. On the other hand, phosphorus is an essential nutrient that keeps plants healthy and fights disease. Potassium helps plants last longer, reducing the impact of certain conditions. Sulfur is essential because it is needed to produce essential amino acids. Without it, protein levels in pastures will be lower.