7 Steps to Successful Pasture Establishment

7 Steps to Successful Pasture Establishment:-

What is pasture ? A Pasture is a land used for grazing. Pasture lands are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, or swine.

There are a number of reasons to plant or re-plant pastures, whether you are converting crop or timber land to pasture because they help in the production and reproduction of animals.

Example of commonly found pastures in west Africa :

  • Cynodon dactylon
  • Andropogon gayanus (Northern gamba)
  • Axonopus compressus (Carpet grass)
  • Bermuda grass
  • Elephant grass
  • Panicum maximum (Guniea grass)
  • Calapogonium mucunoides
  • Centrosema pubescens

There are seven key steps that should be taken to ensure a successful pasture establishment.

1 – Develop a Plan

Develop a step by step plan that addresses the challenges and management requirements of a setting up a pasture farm.

2 – What to Plant

There are different types of pastures plants . 1. Natural Pasture 2. Established Pasture

Natural Pasture :- is a pasture where grasses and legumes grow naturally on their own and are fed upon by farm animals.

Established Pasture – is a pasture where grasses and legumes are carefully grown and cultivated and fed to farm animals or sold to farmers.

When it comes to knowing which kind of grasses or legumes to plant, the most important thing is to select the species and varieties that are most successful in your area.

3 – When to Plant

Depending on the specie or variety you’re planting that will determine when you should plant, this is because some pasture plants are grown during the dry season such as Bahia, millet and corn while pastures like Barley are grown during the rainy season.

4 – Start Clean & Firm

Whether you plant from seed or vegetative materials, you want to make sure you have done everything you can to prevent weed competition. So you have to make sure you start as clean as possible.  Whether you choose to use a combination of herbicides and cultivation, or multiple rounds of cultivation and fallow time, the point is to try to reduce the competition before the desired forage crop is actually planted.

5 – Fertilize

Seedling crops need immediate access to nutrients near the soil surface.  The seed itself has enough stored energy to start the plant, but after the forage has emerged and developed a root system, it needs immediate access to nutrients, especially nitrogen (N). While it is a common practice to incorporate fertilizer at or before planting, the best method is to wait until you have actively growing plants emerged a few inches tall, with a functioning root system before spreading fertilizer. 

6 – Minimize Weed Competition

Seedling plants can be vulnerable to herbicide injury.  This is especially true for bahia grass.  As a general rule, you need new crops to be at least six inches tall before applying herbicides.  This is why it is so important to reduce the weed population in a field prior to planting.

7 – Don’t Graze Too Soon or Too Hard

Don’t rush to graze it off, or leave the animals on it to long.  This is a baby plant, so make sure it has adequate time to recover after grazing, to make sure you have good survival.  In general, you should plan on using these newly established fields as supplement for other pastures, not the primary source for at least the first year.

In conclusion, these 7 steps are just to serve as guidelines that can help you in starting your pasture farm, do you think you will need extra help in sustaining it and avoiding major issues send us an email to support@livestock247.com. Don’t try to figure it out yourself, you want to get this right the first time.

Do you know other steps to starting a successful pasture establishment ? Do you have a pasture establishment ? Tell us below in the comment section.

In the meantime, don’t forget to click here to order for wholesome, traceable meat (ram & goat inclusive) from a fit-for slaughter livestock.

If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “Ranching:- The Basics” here.