The best spring pasture provides feed through spring and into summer. You’re aiming for fodder and forage today and hay tomorrow – palatable and plentiful, with loads of metabolic energy.
During spring, pastures enter the reproductive growth phase, responding to spring warmth and moisture. On most farms, this is the peak growth period for the year so plants are looking for access to nutrients – all the N, P, K and more.
The colder temperatures of winter slow down beneficial microbial activity. This in turn slows down nutrient cycling and conversion, which is why we regularly see a winter feed gap.
Nutrients limiting growth
Higher rainfall in winter may cause previously applied water soluble nutrients to leach away through the soil, or run off. This can contribute to the nutrient deficiencies that pasture often experiences during spring.
A BioAg fertility program will avoid using water-soluble nutrient, especially as a source of capital P in pastures.
How the right fertiliser program will help your business
Take care of soil health, and plant nutrient requirements for the best chance of growing more and healthier pasture with:
- more feed for grazing and conserved feed for silage and hay
- higher stocking rates
- forage and fodder that is more palatable and digestible.
Our 5 top tips
1. Get the right advice
Your BioAg area manager will work with you to create a nutrient program tailored to your farm, taking into account soil and tissue tests, the history of the paddock or enterprise, and the productivity you want to achieve.
2. Tissue test
Micronutrients are important to pasture growth at this time of year, both for plant growth and grazing animal health.
Some, such as copper, zinc, boron and molybdenum only appear in soils as trace elements. Choose a leaf tissue test for better micronutrient insights.
3. Apply a broad spectrum of nutrients and growth promoters
Spring pastures synthesise a range of growth metabolites. This process requires a range of nutrients and trace elements for good, balanced plant health.
Balance & Grow delivers trace elements, metabolites, micronutrients and other ingredients to stimulate growth and balance the health of the plant.
4. Consider pasture composition
The grass-to-legume ratio of your pasture influences what nutrients you apply.
If stocking rates are high, and for pasture with more grasses than legumes, you need a source of N such as foliar UAN or urea.
In legume-based pastures however, too much applied N can hinder legume reproduction so UAN or urea is not recommended at this time.
Liebig’s Law of the Minimum
Proposed by Carl Spregel in 1828 and popularised by Justus von Liebig (also considered the founder of the study of Organic Chemistry), Liebig’s Law is an agricultural equivalent of ‘A chain is only as strong as its weakest link’.
The law states that the amount of plentiful nutrients does not increase plant growth.
Instead, growth can only be increased by lifting the amount of the limiting nutrient.
A limiting nutrient is one that is needed by the plant, but not available.
That’s why we recommend a soil or tissue test before designing a fertility program for pasture or crops. Without knowing what your limiting nutrients are, you could be spending money on fertiliser that simply won’t give your pasture the nutrients it needs.