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Growing Pasture

Products, programs, strategies and help for growing great pasture

BioAg Pasture Programs produce living, healthy and balanced soils, improve the production and quality of yield, and improve fertiliser use efficiency.

Each program is custom made for each paddock using advanced soil and tissue analysis.

Programs typically incorporate a range of BioAg solid natural fertilisers and BioAg Liquid Microbial Fermented Cultures to develop emergence, vegetative growth, feed quality and animal health.

Once a healthy soil is achieved, you can expect to grow more nutritious pastures that will support high volumes of beef, wool, lamb and milk production with minimal animal health problems.

In time, you will see marked benefits in the production and quality of both irrigated and dryland pastures, as well as hay and silage.

Your livestock will be healthier with a lower incidence of bloat, grass tetany, and mastitis.

BioAg presents a sustainable approach to agriculture, delivering long-term fertility.

BioAg Better Pasture Programs can be developed to meet BFA certification requirements for organic producers. 

Nutrients

Key nutrients for pasture growth

Phosphorus, Sulphur and Calcium are essential or important nutrients for pasture growth and pasture quality.

Phosphorus (P)

Phosphorus is essential for plant growth.

It plays a role in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division, cell enlargement and many other vital plant functions.

Phosphate helps promote early root formation and growth, it is a large contributor to yield and profitability in pastures and crops and it assists in the transportation of nutrients.

Sulphur

Sulphur is used by plants to help with nitrogen metabolism, enzyme activity and protein and oil synthesis.

There are numerous trials that have shown increases in pasture growth through the addition of sulphur. 

Sulphur is a part of every living cell and a constituent of 3 of the 21 amino acids which form proteins, and is an important constituent of enzymes and vitamins (thiamin and biotin).

It is essential for nitrogen fixation in legumes, and is also necessary for chlorophyll formation.

Calcium

Calcium is also important in root and shoot stimulation, helps with the mechanical strength of the plant (integrity and selectivity of cell membranes), activates several enzyme systems, helps neutralize organic acids within the plant, is essential for good seed set in subterranean clovers.

It can also help stimulate microbial activity and molybdenum availability.

Micronutrients

Various micronutrients are important to pasture growth depending on the 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.

Is your Spring pasture pulling its weight?

Strong, plentiful and healthy pasture in Spring is key for maximising your profit.

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
  • Tissue test rather than soil test
  • Address nutrient requirements and deficiencies according to your pastures’ composition
  • CalNitSol - calcium and nitrogen are important for stimulating and supporting the enormous growth potential for pastures in Spring
  • Balance & Grow - Balance & Grow has been a standard for Spring pasture management for many years, due to the broad range of benefits it delivers

You can read more about pasture strategy in BioAg's document Increase Grazing Pasture Production: BioAg Pastures for Sheep and Beef.

 
 

Growing Winter Pasture

Building a feed-wedge refers to growing excess pasture during late summer/autumn, delivering a bank of feed for winter consumption. This preserves feed on paddocks that may otherwise be grazed out, minimising soil damage and supplementary feed requirements.

Building a winter feed wedge as part of developing an annual pasture strategy and provides feed for winter consumption, and avoids soil damage from over-grazing, and potentially reducing supplemental feeding.

Winter Pasture Management strategy

  1. Keep pastures in the Phase II growth phase (capturing more sunlight/assists photosynthesis and regrowth.
  2. Increase winter active species.
  3. Consider reducing feed demand (stocking rates).
  4. Develop a feed wedge for winter feed.

Developing a Winter feed wedge

 Winter temperatures can cause pasture growth rates to drop to very low levels (0-15 kg DM/ha/day).

Adequate phosphate is crucial. Long-term phosphate trials have shown the positive effect phosphate has on winter production.

  1. 1 kg P/ha grew 1.7 t DM/ha.
  2. 15 kg P/ha grew 2.8 t DM/ha.

Balance & Grow + GA + N

Balance & Grow with nitrogen and gibberellic acid are “get out of jail” cards when short of winter feed.

Trials have shown that Balance & Grow with gillerrellic acid is a very cost effective method to growing more pasture during Winter. Adding nitrogen to this mix increases the effectiveness but reduces the cost efficiency.

This combination supplies the nitrogen required by pastures during Winter, and supplies the plant’s requirements to convert nitrogen into true plant proteins (vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates and plant hormones).

Balance & Grow is best applied to green leaf just after a grazing has finished and can be mixed with gibberellic acid and foliar nitrogen fertilisers in a single application.

Whilst BioAg programs are tailored to suit each grower, the basis of the program is Balance & Grow and UAN (UAN is interchangeable with calcium nitrate if calcium levels are low).

BioAg also produce a Balance & Grow Organic variant which is certified for use by organic growers.

Nitrogen (urea, sulphate of ammonia, Easy N (UAN), calcium nitrate)

Balance & Grow is compatible with foliar nitrogen fertilisers, so can be applied as a single application.

Nitrogen is best applied immediately after stock have been removed from the paddock.

Soil temperature, soil moisture, soil fertility and species composition all impact on the pasture responses to applied nitrogen.

If pasture is moisture stressed (too dry or too wet), the response to nitrogen will be restricted.

The greatest response to nitrogen fertiliser is seen in annual grasses, followed by short rotation grasses, then perennial grasses.

If other nutrients (e.g. phosphorus, potassium) are limiting growth, the response to nitrogen could also be reduced.

Gibberellic Acid (Pro Gibb, Gala, Ryz-Up)

Gibberellic acid is a naturally occurring plant hormone that stimulates growth through cell expansion.

In grasses, this results in stem and leaf elongation.

Its production naturally slows during colder months.

Applying gibberellic acid mixed with Balance & Grow in colder winter months stimulates the plant and can improve the quantity of feed on offer.

The rapid growth is often lighter (yellow) in colour for the first couple of weeks after application, which does not affect the quality of the feed on offer.

More on growing Winter feed

Click here to read more about growing winter feed and develping the Winter feed wedge.

Also see our Growing Winter Feed Trial report.

Managing Nitrogen during Winter

>36% of surface applied nitrogen lost

Volatilisation occurs when ammonium in urea converts to a gas. This can lead to significant N losses when using urea.

A study published in the ‘Australian Soil Fertility Manual – CSIRO’ showed that nitrogen losses from surface applied urea during Winter were at least 36%, and more during Autumn.

It also shows that sulphate of ammonia (SOA) is the better option to supply nitrogen to growing pastures.

Alleviating these losses using a Winter foliar program

BioAg designed its foliar feeding programs to alleviate the nutrient availability and leaching issues stemming from the cold, wet soils of Winter.

This approach not only supplies the nitrogen and sulphur that we know is required by pastures during the Winter months, but it also supplies:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • proteins
  • amino acids
  • carbohydrates
  • plant hormones

These are ingredients that the plant requires for a variety of reasons, including converting nitrogen and sulphur into true plant proteins.

Whilst the foliar program is tailored to suit each grower, the basis of the program is;

  • Balance & Grow - 2 l/ha
  • Sulsa or UAS - 30 l/ha