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Improving Pastures Essay

1503 words - 7 pages

Article #1
Brummer, E. Charles, et al. "Emergence and survival of legumes seeded into pastures varying in
landscape position." Crop Science 44.1 (2004): 227+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Nov.


Brummer and associates acknowledged that legumes plants are known for improving the quality of the forage with increased crude protein to a pasture system. Legumes grow faster throughout the year due to their ability convert nitrogen from the atmosphere to usable nitrogen for the plant. Although legume increase the entire pasture yield, back slopes often produces more dry matter then summits proved by Harmony et al .(2001).
Brummer and associates analysed establishment of ...view middle of the document...

Cutting the turf reduced the effects of the increased growth rate but, in uncut sward height nitrogen reduced all legumes survival by 68% when fertilized compared to unfertilized uncut plots. Both backslope and summit legume survival were reduced by fertilizer.
Brummer and associates concluded from their experiment that increased competition from grasses directly correlated to lower survival rate of legumes. As grass height increased, legume emergence suffered. Fertilization increased the growth rate of grass further inhibiting sunlight from reaching legume seedling. Sunlight increases ground temperature helping the germination process of a seedling. It appeared that reduced sunlight had greater effects on alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil seedlings than red clover further proving (Tilman, 1993). When turf height was reduced to 5 cm or more sunlight penetrated to the soil and alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil rivaled germination percentage of red clover. Brummer and associates recommend that “legumes be seeded on back slope landscape positions in pastures and that N fertilizer not be applied, and sward height be reduced before seeding.”

Article #2
Block, H.C., et al. "Economic effects and energy use efficiency of incorporating alfalfa and
fertilizer into grass-based pasture systems." International Journal of Biological and Life
Sciences 1.2 (2009): 74+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Rising cost of feed for cattle have beef producers searching for alternatives feeds and ways improve yields of cattle feeds. A common practice for beef producers is fertilizing pastures to increase pasture yields and animals gains. Although common practices such as fertilizer and pesticides improve productivity they also increase energy inputs and may not be profitable. 80% of current energy use on farms producing grain come from fuel and inorganic fertilizer. Block, H.C. and associates compared several different pasture systems productivity and non-renewable energy.
Block H.C. and associates conducted a 10 year study of several plots. They created 4 plots a grass only unfertilized pasture, grass only fertilized pasture, grass and alfalfa mix unfertilized, and grass and alfalfa mixed fertilized. Cattle rotationally grazed the plots and fertilizer applied each spring. Throughout the season samples were taken and analysed for quality and amount. Each of the beef cattle were weighed at the start of grazing season and end.
Block H.C. and associates compared pasture systems net income and energy useage. As assumed incorporating alfalfa and nitrogen improved the yield of the pasture but did not directly correlate to a larger income. Grass only pasture proved to produce the least forage compared to others especially fertilized pastures which more than doubled production. Although fertilizer more than doubled forage production fertilizer has become increasingly expensive increasing input cost. Only incorporating alfalfa may not have increased...

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