Cutting back on fertilizer will likely cost more over the long run because of decreased yields and stand longevity. We recently dropped in on MFA’s Director of Nutrition Dr. Jim White to ask a few questions about strategies for improving forages and what they can mean for cattle performance. Click the checkmarks below to reveal Dr. White's responses to frequently asked questions about pasture and hay management:
Q: So, you advocate a fertilizer plan to get more per acre of pasture and forage ground. But how do we accomplish that with input costs being what they are and our general farm balance sheet sliding in a direction we would prefer it didn’t?
A: Make the investment in fertilizer more efficient by using soil test results. If you do not soil sample and apply fertilizer and/or lime based on the results of those tests, it is likely that the appropriate amount is not being applied. If nutrients are under-applied, the result is forage yield below its potential. If over-applied, then costs were incurred that won’t produce a positive response. Few other practices in forage production can improve the profitability more than soil testing and following fertility recommendations.
Q: It comes down to using the right product in the right place at the right time. We hear that consistently about row crops. How does it apply to pastures?
Q: That’s a longer-term fix. What can we do in the near-term to boost pasture and forage production?
Q: What should we do in-season over the grazing months to prepare for better results in fall and next year?
Q: We had the drought of 2018 followed by the swampy mess of autumn 2018, a cold winter and wet spring delayed the grass-greening spring. From a production perspective, what can we do to make up some ground on forages?
Q: Any final thoughts?
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