How to restore a pasture for your cattle

A ‘pasture’ is referred to as the grasslands where livestock feed from. It’s where they graze on the grass, shrubs and legumes to consume the nutrients they need to grow, be healthy and fight illnesses.

Over time, lush grass turns into dead-looking grass and weeds, and the more you leave cattle to feed in these circumstances, the more unhealthy it can be for your cattle’s digestive system.

It’s important to note that the pasture’s outcome is determined by the soil’s health. If you want to restore your grass, you will need to test your soil, purchase nutrient-rich fertiliser, invest in a good irrigation system and manage your plantations accordingly. Much like any lawn, pasture restoration requires plenty of maintenance and planning. Here are some important pasture management tips for your farm:

Perform rotational grazing

One of the first ways to maintain your grass is to practice rotational grazing with your cattle. If you have a large herd of cattle, you will need to manage, plan and monitor how long your livestock graze before you can rotate them out of that pen and into another temporary pen. When you keep cattle in an area for too long, they will start to overgraze which will lead to further damage to the soil. Once, of course, the soil starts to take strain due to overgrazing or soil erosion, weeds will start to take over the grasslands.
If you don’t have a temporary pen, which is highly recommended, try to separate your pasture into different areas with fencing. This will help to break up the pasture and prolong your land. Once cattle have consumed the tastier pasture in one section, they will slowly move onto another. It is in these moments when they are kept in one area, that they tend to overgraze and cause long-term damage to the soil.
Note that a ‘sacrifice’ pen can either be an enclosed barn or an area where you move your livestock to during the colder months. Often, this area becomes a disaster shortly after they’ve moved in, but anything to keep livestock off of your pasture for a while so that you can restore and improve the quality of the grass.

Take control of your weeds

Weeds can easily creep into your pasture and they are extremely difficult to get rid of once they start multiplying and spreading. The worst infestations are often a result of overgrazing, which is why you need to make a conscious decision to monitor and inspect your pasture on a regular basis. When you have a weed problem, you will need to plan your control process carefully as any harmful chemicals can damage your soil (and what’s left of your grass) and make it harder for you to restore your pasture. Look into different weed pulling and cutting techniques that can be done by hand or with a rotary cutter. This type of farming implement can be purchased from Radium.

Have a thought-out fertilising strategy

You cannot rely on your cattle to do all of your grass fertilising, as it is not nearly enough to provide the soil with the right amount of manure that it needs to grow and succeed. Depending on the size of your pasture, cattle often decide to release themselves in one particular area, without the ability to evenly spread out their droppings. Knowing this, the soil underneath will not be positively affected by this as it will take a while to break down into the soil. If you are going to rely on a commercial provider to assist you with fertiliser, try to combine it with what you already have available from your cattle. Once you have laid your fertiliser down, use the correct farming tools and equipment to spread it evenly over the grass.

Make regular visual inspections

Whether you make use of advanced farming tools to help you monitor your pasture or you do it by foot, it’s important to take the time to visually inspect your grasslands on a regular basis. Take a look at the fencing, make sure your fertiliser is evenly distributed, remove any garbage you see lying around and map out the areas which are showing signs of overgrazing. If you notice a weed infestation in advance, you will be able to treat the area before it gets out of hand.

Final thoughts

Restoring a pasture takes time, planning and effort. If you plan accordingly and use the right farming supplier such as Radium Engineering to assist you with the correct equipment for your project, you will be able to improve your pasture for the better and help your cattle stay healthy. This process can be a time-consuming one, especially when your cattle have overgrazed for a long period of time. But with a proper pasture management plan, you will have a restored pasture in no time.