The Small Farms Guide Seeding our knowledge of helpful tips and tricks to farmers around the country.
DON’T GO “OUT TO PASTURE”
As the specialists in helping the small farmer become more efficient and more productive with their operation. greenPRO ,as a division of Quik Corp, has spent decades building the right products for the backbone of the farming industry in Australia. Truth be told, we hear questions all year-round, not only about our products, but about techniques to use for better harvests and healthier stock.
Right now, much of that conversation hinges on the preparation of pasture. After all, September through December is when many small farmers start to think about renewing older pasture, but in reality, the time to think about new pastures is years before. In those preparation years, your primary focus needs to be on weed elimination for both plants and seeds in the soil and making sure that your pH is correct. These two years of preparation are critical before you ever hook up the cultivator – remember, here in Australia, good grazing is a matter of hard work, not building a fence.
While you can easily spend 25% to 50% of the total graze value making that pasture “work”, it is also critical to remember that if you haven’t killed off the weeds, the fertiliser helps them too.
After killing off the weeds in the unseeded period – which should be for at least six months, you need to get the soil tested and continue to spray out any weeds.
After this 6-month period, look to apply an annual “manure crop” such as rye corn, tick beans or even mustard greens to help generate more nitrogen in the soil – don’t forget, a good starter fertiliser is a smart move at this phase as well.
The good news is that this crop can be grazed once established, and sometimes imports like chicory can be used (if carefully monitored and grazed closely) to ensure the untilled period reuse the same techniques from the previous season. The new year brings some new techniques, too. Of pivotal importance is what is to be sown – certain pasture crops like certain planting techniques – so make sure that you choose the right technique for the right crop. Want a PRO-tip? You also want to limit any impaction of the soil at this time – exactly why we designed our 6-IN-1 SEEDER to make this a one-step “one pass” operation.
In addition to this, it is critical in these preparation phases to correctly identify any pests or weeds and take the appropriate measures. Once successfully established, you’ll be able to manage your pastures using rotational grazing, controlling weeds with herbicides and replacing soil nutrients with fertiliser.
In the end, pasture that has “gone back” can be brought back… more importantly, you can cut down drastically on seed and fertiliser costs by managing pasture more efficiently and more effectively year-to-year.