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Running the Farm : Pasture & Fertiliser

This section contains articles on pasture. There are hundreds of other useful articles in our lifestyle file. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.

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chemical elements in fertiliserThere are at least 19 chemical elements required for plant growth. Each chemical element has one or more specific functions within the plant, which cannot be taken over by another. As the plant grows, the daily demand for nutrients increases. Of the major nutrients, Mg is essential for both plant and animal growth and health, and K and Na are often involved in animal health issues.

soilIt’s an easy concept to think of the soil as a bank.  If you remove nutrients in products sold off the farm, then you need to replace them to keep a state of ‘nutrient balance’ in the bank.

organic matterThere's nothing that fuels arguments between the proponents of 'chemical fertilisers' and supporters of 'biological farming, organic farming and biodynamics' farming, than the subject of Organic Matter.  Then when you include the word 'Humus' into the discussion, things can get really heated.

soilYou cannot consider fertilisers without knowledge of the soil.  The key points will only be touched on here.  In geological terms, New Zealand it's a very young country, with major ash storms from volcanos being deposited as recently as 1300AD. NZ Soils have all been surveyed, described, and mapped by what used to be the government's Soil Survey.

fertiliser basicsIn this first on an in-depth series on understanding fertilser, Dr Clive Dalton looks at why there is so much confusion about what fertiliser is and what is does. He also gives a brief history of fertiliser.

Nitrogen acts as a growth promoter in plants.  It’s the easiest and usually the cheapest way to grow more feed.

Clover is in the legume family along with plants like lucerne, Lotus species, lupins and gorse. They all have little nodules on their roots where bacteria called Rhizobia species live.

cattle in paddockWhen applying fertilisers such as superphosphate and basic slag this spring, remember to make sure animals don't ingest fertiliser with the pasture.

pasturegrass1You’ve probably heard about endophyte in pasture grasses.  Nature has created some interesting partnerships - two are now good news for New Zealand livestock farmers.

runoutpasturewWhen a pasture looks worn and weary, it may be time to renew it, but avoid doing it instantly – plan the job for best results.

sheepgrazingwMost farmers think they know how to manage pastures by moving stock around the paddocks, but there’s more to it than that. Pasture is the cheapest livestock feed - when it’s grazed.

The farm is constantly covered in tall grass, and weeds, especially docks and thistles, are always rampant. From a distance it looks like an over-mature hay paddock.

cattleyoungwThe main tool for pasture managemet is the grazing animal. The animal harvests its own pasture feed, and its grazing maintains pasture plants in the leafy stage.

pasturesheepWhat to do with a feed surplus: Make hay, silage or “baleage” with pasture during the spring flush. Making hay in autumn is almost impossible, because shorter days are not hot enough for good drying.

pasture1wThis is the first in a series of four articles on pasture renovation by Dr Deric Charlton.

seedbagswThis is the second in a series of four articles on pasture renovation by Dr Deric Charlton.

pasturesheepwThis is the third in a series of four articles on pasture renovation by Dr Deric Charlton.

pasturewThis is the fourth in a series of four articles on pasture renovation by Dr Deric Charlton.

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