Today I am going to write about the pasture management My Mom and I have been doing over the past few weeks.
Our pastures haven’t been the best this summer. They are filled with weeds due to how acidic the soil is from pine trees being there originally. It also didn’t help that it didn’t rain at all when we seeded them and then birds came and ate most of it. Daily, we have been pulling out the worst weeds to ever exist- sickle pod and horse nettle. We have pulled out countless gravel bags of sickle pod , filled the wheel barrow up and dumped it into the woods or taken it to the dump. Sickle pod is very toxic to livestock.
To make less weeds grow in our pastures, we have been adding agricultural lime to them. Adding lime to a pasture is very important as it:
- Raises soil pH making it less acidic
- It increases nutrients availability and stimulates microbial & earthworm activity
- Lime decreases the availability of toxic elements
- It helps stabilize soil structure with the addition of calcium
Normal powdered agricultural lime requires a expensive agricultural spreader to work. So we bought fast acting pelletized lime. This is different from regular pelletized lime as it works faster. It should start to take effect when it gets wet. Hopefully it does its job. We added 640 pounds to our first pasture and 600 to the second. Next summer we will have our soil tested to figure out what we need to add for better pasture health. We are adding lime for now as it is the most used way to increase soil health.
Our two back pastures are very nice, they also have barely any weeds. This is due to the previous owner of the land tilling and liming the area regularly. I hope we can get our front two pastures like them.
In the fall we will be seeding our pastures again with a pasture seed called Kentucky 32 fescue, oat grass, red clover, and a forage mix containing a blend of brassicas, clover, field peas, turnip. Kentucky 32 withstands heat and drought and its vigorous growth beats weeds, diseases, insect infestations and it is Endophyte free. Endophytes are a fungi that are transmitted through the seeds to the grass or plant. It is toxic to insects. It is toxic to livestock so you don’t want to seed a pasture with anything that contains endophyte.
Our goal for the pastures it to kill off the weeds and always have a new seed growing in so the animals always have something to eat. With a lot of work it will eventually happen.