What is Pasture Management?
Pasture management is more than just growing grass. It is balancing your soil to ensure that you gain the optimal output for your grazing animals, both in terms of volume and nutritional value. This includes removing monocultures and encouraging biodiversity that is suitable for your environment and your animals.
My Pasture is lush and green; why do I need to do anything?
Pasture can look and even taste good, but not be particularly nourishing – a bit like white bread. Our bodies and those of our animals require minerals and vitamins as well as energy in order to function properly. Without the right mineral input, we can’t utilise the other input and maximise organ function, to ensure optimal health. If you have nutritious pasture, animals will actually require less to meet their needs.
I give my animals mineral and vitamin supplements. Is my pasture that important?
Animals are designed to ingest food and extract the minerals and vitamins out of that food slowly as it passes through the digestive process. The problem with giving animals chelated supplements is that they pass through too quickly and tend to go straight to the liver causing problems there. When giving supplements, try to give them in the most natural way.
Why do I have weeds in my paddocks?
They are many reasons for having weeds in a paddock. It could be that the land has been overstocked and has become compacted and depleted. It could be that the soil is sour or mineral deficient, making it so only those plants with deep roots are able to flourish. A few weeds in your paddock is nothing to worry about. It is when the weeds become out of control and the pasture is no longer competitive that you need to start to worry. We can help you manage weeds.
Do different weeds indicate different deficiencies?
An abundance of one particular type of weed can indicate a specific deficiency in the soil. For example, a large amount of thistle could be indicative of a copper deficiency. This is not to say that the copper is not there, it could simply be that it is locked up and not available to the plants. This is why testing the soil before you try to work on it is so important.
Isn’t grass just grass?
No! There are two major classes of pastoral grasses: C3 and C4 grasses. C3 grasses are your temperate zone grasses that are generally high in sugar, and high water uses. They are good for Dairy cattle and spring lambs, but not so good for a laminitis prone horse! They are dormant in cold conditions, and not competitive in hot dry conditions, due to high water requirements.
C4 Grasses are further broken down into two sub-genus, Panicoideae and Eragrosteideae. In general terms the C4 grasses are tropical or sub-tropical grasses, they are lower in sugar and higher in cellulose fibre. Panicoideae grasses are more competitive in humid wet areas and become less competitive in areas of high grazing and high levels of nitrogen. Eragrosteideae grasses are more competitive in hotter drier climates and increase competitiveness in areas of increased grazing pressure and increased nitrogen availability
My horse is constantly chewing on the fence, why is this?
This could be a learned behaviour, or it could be as a result of a mineral deficiency or a need for increased fibre. We would be happy to work with you and your vet to sort through the problem.
My goats are ring barking my trees. Why are they doing this?
They could be lonely or bored. Goats are a herd animal and need companionship, preferably of their own kind. It could be they are searching for minerals that are lacking in their diet. Typically goats that are copper deficient will ring bark trees.
What is the best way of dealing with my animal manure?
There is not a “one solution fit all” to this issue. There are many ways of dealing with the issue of manure. The only rule is to not let it leave your property. We would be happy to work with you to devise a manure management solution that suits your animals, property and time constraints.
How much does the service cost?
This really depends on what you need, when, where and how. Each property is different, and each of our customers has different priorities. We will agree on priorities with you and give you a cost estimate upfront. Managing your pasture properly is always an astute investment, as the improved quality and quantity of your pasture will save you money in reduced animal feed costs, vet costs and herbicide costs.