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Pasture Establishment & Management By Martha Thomas
Soil Fertility • Without the right soil fertility everything else you do could be useless. • You must have a soil sample taken to make sure your soil is right for what you are planting. • N, P, K • PH Dolomite/Lime
Fertilization • Granular • Liquid (herbicide can be added) • Bio-Solids
What is N-P-K • 20-5-10What does this mean? • N- 20% nitrogen .20x 300lbs/acre= 60lbs per acre of N • P- 5% phosphorus .05x300lbs/acre= 15lbs per acre of P • K-10% potassium .10 x 300 lbs/acre= 30lbs per acre of K • Lime or Dolomite
Choosing The Date • Knowing when to plant a forage is critical to the success of the crop. • Applying the fertilizer at the proper time so that you get the most out of it. • Soil moisture is critical to planting dates • Spring and Fall Droughts • Cold Front Patterns will help you to know when the rain will come.
Fertilizing Pasture • For grazed Bahia grass one time fertilization in the spring is adequate. Use a fertilizer that meets your soil requirements. • For cutting hay or seed you need to fertilize after each cutting.
Avoid Overgrazing • Too many horses or cows per acre destroy the roots and causes bare spots which lead to weeds. • Rotate pastures so that pastures keep a strong root base.
Turning Grass to Cash • Beef Cattle • Goats • Hay • Seed • Sod • Horses
Preparing Soil • Do a soil analysis to find out which elements your soil is lacking. • Disk the soil to 100% disturbance to get rid of any existing forage. • Plant an annual in summer and/or fall. • In summer plant permanent pasture.
Preparing Soil The biggest mistake people make is not properly preparing the seedbed. It should be free of weeds and grass.
Hay Production • The most common forages for hay in Lake County are Bahia and Bermuda (Tifton 44). • Fertilize in spring 80 lbs./A Nitrogen and all the recommended P & K. Apply an additional 80 lbs. N and 40 lbs. K after each cutting, except for the last in the fall. Include 20 lbs. of P in the supplemental fertilizer if soil tested medium or low in P.
Hay for the Horse Industry • Bahia will generally not meet maintenance requirements. • Bermuda can meet requirements also, legumes such as Alyceclover, Alfalfa, and Rhizoma Peanut are the best for meeting nutrient requirements.
Common Bahia Grass Pasture • Lasts for 20 years if managed properly and no mole crickets. • Good for grazing cattle, goats, and horses. • Can also make cow hay, cut seed or sod. • Cutting sod is only for those who plan for intensive management. (You must build soil back up after cutting)
Stocking Rates • Three acres per cow • Three acres per horse • One acre per ewe/ goat • SPACE requirements differ and careful evaluation needs to be made prior to developing a business plan.
Winter Annuals • Rye (Sandy well drained soils) • Rye Grass (Flat woods or wet loamy soils) • Oats • Mixtures
Controlling Weeds Weeds will take over a pasture if not managed properly. Weeds shade out grass and rob moisture and nutrients. • Tropical Soda Apple!!! • Briars • Smut grass • Dog Fennels • Toxic Weeds (lantana, sicklepod, nightshade)
Preventing Weeds • Do not overgraze • Maintain proper soil fertility • If you see a problem try and control it as soon as possible so that it does not spread
Common Herbicides • For most pastures 2,4-D or Pasture Guard will control most broad leaf weeds. • Velpar is available for use on smutgrass. • Remedy on brush and briars.
Tropical Soda Apple • Milestone 6 oz. per acre
New Herbicides • These herbicides will control all stages of TSA plants with one application and without mowing. Also, they have some soil residual activity, preventing TSA establishment for 6 to 12 months. • 5 to 7 fluid ounces per acre which is projected to cost approximately $2.50 per fluid ounce.
Toxic Weeds • Cherry Trees • Lantana • Sicklepod • Night Shade • Azalea's (Very poisonous to goats) • Oleander (Usually found in yards)
Insects The two major concerns with pasture in Florida are: • Army Worms- insecticide • Mole Crickets- baits and biological control (new research)
Getting Help • Natural Resource Conservation Services • EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants with installing or implementing structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. • Calvin Hubbard 352-343-2481