Coming from a farming background, we at Wesco Seeds realise the effort involved in gaining that balance between getting enough feed for your stock but not overgrazing so you damage your pasture for spring, knowing when to apply the correct nutrients, and knowing how much to apply, etc., the list goes on. We wanted to help you by putting three points together that will help better your pasture growth for springtime.
- Test your soil and apply the nutrients needed for plant growth in spring. Winter is a great time for you to apply phosphorus, potassium and sulphur to your pasture/crop as these nutrients take longer to become available to plants compared to nitrogen. Nitrogen can cause ground water contamination due to surface water run-off that occurs in winter as it is very mobile. However, the regular rain in winter will help move phosphorus, potassium and sulphur into the soil, preparing it for spring when it will be needed. Also, if your soil has low PH levels, Lime can be applied during the winter months.
- Keep a careful eye on pasture/crop management to avoid overgrazing. Overgrazing will cause damage to your pasture or crop and reduce your long-term plant health. When plants are more susceptible to damage and disease, this reduces spring re-growth. Overgrazing also causes soil compaction and when too much treading seals the soil surface, this results in more water moving across the soil (run-off), which means loss of sediments and necessary nutrients needed for plant growth in the spring. Also, hooves crush plants and cut through roots, reducing plant vigour and allowing weeds to take over. A general rule of thumb for grazing is 10 ewes and 15 lambs per acre, and 0.7 meters per cow.
- Winter is the best time to nip weeds in the bud. Pay attention to your weed problems and treat them with herbicides to prevent them from coming back in the spring.