Evaluating Your Pasture

  • #1 Assess plant population density.

    Observe the existing plants and density of the stand. Ideal density may vary by region and growing conditions. Dry regions may require a lower plant density to reduce competition for available resources. In areas of high rainfall, higher densities can be sustained, maximizing yield and reducing weed introduction.

  • #2 Identify any weeds present.

    Weeds compete for sunlight, moisture and space. Over-grazed, unhealthy forage stands are susceptible to weed infiltration. Weeds can discourage grazing and prevent livestock from accessing nutritional forage. Assess any weed contamination across the field, and determine if weed control is necessary.

  • #3 Evaluate soil/nutrient cycling.

    Soil damage can occur by multiple means; i.e. compaction, hoof damage (pugging), improper nutrient cycling etc. One of the ways nutrient cycling occurs is when livestock return nutrients to the soil through manure and urine. Uniform distribution of nutrients throughout a pasture is a sign of good herd and pasture management. Frequently moving mineral and water sources, as well as restricting livestock from areas where they tend to linger, will improve nutrient distribution across the field.

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