Victorian Pasture Comparison

Is your Spring pasture pulling its weight?

Michael Douglass pasture

Strong, plentiful and healthy pasture in Spring is key for maximising your profit from this type of enterprise.

Both new and established pastures benefit from the more favourable growing conditions (warmth and moisture), while it is up to us to ensure that soils are healthy and nutrient needs are addressed.
Nutrient deficiencies occur in Spring largely due to the conditions they have just experienced in Winter.

Higher rainfall can increase the leaching and lock-up of any previously applied watersoluble nutrient, while colder temperatures can increase the mortality of beneficial microbes normally present in healthy soils.

Addressing soil health and nutrient needs now delivers numerous benefits to pastures:
  • It improves the quality and quantity of grazed feed
  • It allows us to increase and maintain stocking rates
  • It improves the quality and quantity of conserved feed (silage and hay)
  • It improves the digestibility and palatability of grazing, silage and hay feed,
  • It creates the circumstances that deliver feed during the coming Summer and Autumn, minimising the need to buy feed

Spring Pasture Fertiliser Strategy

Producing maximum growth and quality this Spring will require addressing any nutrient requirements and deficiencies (it will be the most deficient nutrient that dictates how much growth is achieved), and foliars are the ideal nutrient format at this stage of pasture development.
It will generally be the most deficient nutrient that dictates how much growth is ultimately achieved.
Obtain advice specific to your actual pastures needs
The best tool available to you here is a BioAg Area Manager/Agronomist.

All of our team achieved formal qualifications prior to joining BioAg, and since that time have obtained Fertcare accreditation Level C.

They have all been through the sharp learning curve needed to be able to understand and recommend fertiliser programs and strategies that are in line with BioAg methodologies.

One of our key methodologies for improving your farming enterprise is improving the longer-term fertility of your farm.

This is done by addressing the needs of the plant, as well as the needs of the soil (the primary mechanism for the storage and delivery of nutrient and moisture).

A highly functioning soil delivers a stronger and healthier plant.

Every farm will have varying needs in terms of nutrient requirements.

An important benefit of obtaining a BioAg Area Manager’s advice is that they do not give the same prescription for every farm, and instead tailor programs and advice suited to your individual requirements.
Tissue test rather than soil test
Various micronutrients are important to pasture growth at this time of year, both from a plant production and an animal health perspective.

Copper, zinc, boron and molybdenum are all important micronutrients for pastures, and as they usually only appear in soils as trace elements, leaf tissue testing delivers a more accurate status of these elements than soil testing.
Address nutrient requirements and deficiencies according to your pastures’ composition
The grass/legume ratio of your pasture will be an important factor in determining what to apply.

If your pasture contains more grasses than legumes, then foliar UAN (or possibly urea) would be an appropriate source of N.

In legume based pastures however, too much applied N can hinder legume reproduction so UAN or urea is not recommended at this time.
Legume Based Pastures

Balance & Grow (2 l/ha)
CalNitSol (5 l/ha)

Grass Based Pastures

Foliar UAN (15-20 l/ha) (or Urea)
Balance & Grow (2 l/ha)
CalNitSol (5 l/ha)
One benefit of this program is that these products are all compatible, so can be tank mixed together for one easier foliar application.
CalNitSol
Both calcium and nitrogen are important for stimulating and supporting the enormous growth potential for pastures in Spring.

Those who have used BioAg pasture programs might notice that CalNitSol is a new addition.

In the past, BioAg has often prescribed calcium nitrate as part of Spring pasture programs as the preferred source of Ca and N.

The down side of calcium nitrate is that it had to be dissolved on farm prior to being applied as a foliar.
To make the Spring foliar program easier for pasturalists, BioAg have released CalNitSol, which is a source of Ca and N in liquid form.

CalNitSol contains 10.3% N and 12.7% Ca
on a w/v basis.

Balance & Grow
Balance & Grow has been a standard for Spring pasture management for many years, mainly due to the broad range of benefits it delivers.

Think of Balance & Grow as something akin to a multi-vitamin benefitting a range of key areas such as vegetative growth, root development and beneficial soil microbial activity.

Balance & Grow stimulates and supports pasture growth by delivering a broad range of nutrients and trace elements such as:
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Boron
  • Molybdenum
  • New Item
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Nitrogen
  • Sulphur
  • Carbon
Plant health is just as important as plant growth, and delivers benefits right though to animal health and yield.

In addition to foliar nutrients, Balance & Grow delivers a range of metabolites that the plant requires and is struggling to produce itself at this time of year, including glucose, essential amino acids, auxins and cytokinins.

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing your Spring pasture fertilisation program from plant production and growth, to plant quality, animal health and stocking rates.

Many of the choices made throughout the year, will have ramifications on the production during subsequent months.

Choosing advice that takes into account the pastures immediate needs but also future requirements makes sure you are set up to maximise profits at the end of the year.

As we always say at BioAg, if we don’t do a good job, we wont be invited back next year.
Annual Pasture Strategy
BioAg has combined all of its pasture best practices into one easy document Increase Grazing Pasture Production: BioAg Pastures for Sheep and Beef.

Here you will find advice on achieving maximum growth and feed quality for each of the key periods throughout the year.

Contact your BioAg Area Manager to obtain a free copy.