Grassland Maintenance pays off

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Grassland maintenance is an important part of an economic strategy for healthy and productive grass fields. It ensures both healty and stable growth in the grass, but also a good feed for the animals that graze or eat the harvested grass.

A healty soil ensures the grass a better growth and greater resistance to both drought and too much rainfall. Healthy soil is obtained by caring for the field with the right machines at the right times. Areation, harrowing, rolling and sowing are all elements in the grassland maintenance and being done at the right time, it pays of in saved costs and longer lifetime.

How do your grass field look?

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Here is the manure that was plowed down 3 years ago. Lack of oxygen in the soil layer counteracts circulation and gives an anaerobic environment.

When visiting many grass fields all over the country, we find the root mass in the top 5-8 cm of the soil profile.

We often find a clear layer of organic material (manure, stump etc.) in the plough depth (approx. 20-30 m depth). In many fields there is a very visioble plough sole of 20-30 cm depth that will keep the water in the top soil (poor draining) and prevent the plant roots to develop properly.

The soil structure in many fields suggests that regular liming has been pushed in the background for years and especially the  lighter soil types benefit from continuous liming in small quantities.

Young grass fields can be very open in rows and becomes quickly in the risk zone for a heavy weed burden. Here you should consider sowing with a suitable mix that will close the rows and also protect against traffic (machines/ animals).

If you want healthy productive grass fields that can live long and give a good yield, it requires an active effort. Most fileds will be compacted quite quickly because of traffic (machines/ animals), but also because of low organic content.

How little soil do you grow?

The grass roots will only grow in the upper layer of the soil during 1-2 seasons (due to compacting conditions) and make the plant vulnerable to drought and cold conditions. At the same time, the plant will not have access to the same amount of nutrients as if it had roots in 20 cm + depth. More minerals in the plants provide a better and healthier feed for the animals, and will save money on supplements. A grass field that has to live long should be renewed at 2-3 years with an additional sowing in August to secure the desired grasses.

In sandy soil, the soil packs easily and prevents the roots from growing downwards. The organic material is not converted to the desired humus, which over time will be a factor in making the soil more fertile. On the more clay soil types, the amount of nutrients in the soil is basically larger, but here it can often be worth loosening the soil deeper (subsoiling in 20-40 cm), so that excess water can drain away.

Start in time

Our recommendation is to use an aerator on all grass fields, for the first time at the end of the year of establishment, in order to secure the air in the upper 20 cm soil layers. Aeration can be paired with a harrowing and rollong so that several functions are performed at the same time.

Grassland maintenance gives the following effects;

  • Loosened and soil with air pockets = equals life in the soil

    Regnorme

    Worms are valuable. They convert plant residues to humus and their stools are very high on plant-available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

  • Microbiology, bacteria, fungi and worms thrive = release the nutrients into the soil
  • The soil drains the water better = less erosion, less traffic damage
  • Better root development on the plant = higher yield, better drought resistance, more nutrients
  • Longer life on the grass field = better economy
  • Stronger grass sword = less damage, higher yields, previous traffic
  • Roughage with higher nutrient content = saves input
  • Fewer turnaround of grassland= better economy
  • Faster soil warming up in spring = better conditions for the crop
  • Better utilization of fertilizer  = higher yield

Check time, depth and necessity for mechanical treatment with a spade.

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