Did you know it is recommended that you perform a soil test at least every 2-3 years prior to fertilizing your pasture?

Ag_pasture

It is recommended that you soil test every year prior to fertilization unless you have soil tested for several years in a row and received similar results. If so, then soil test every 2 3 years to assure that you are adding nutrients properly.

 

Quick links:            Low-nitrogen option*.
BMPs for manure-an overview.   Medium-nitrogen option.
Manure BMPs quick tips.   High-nitrogen option.
Established Bahiagrass pasture BMPs.   Single-cut/year-sometimes for hay.
  Multiple cuts/year-only for hay.

 

BMPs for manure-an overview.

In general, you should apply NO MORE than 50lbs Nitrogen per acre. But how does one calculate that? Well, say that you are using a fertilizer mix of 20-0-10. Breaking the numbers down, that's 20% (or 20lbs per 100lb bag) of Nitrogen, 0% phosphorous and 10% potassium. So using 250 lbs (or two and a half 100lb bags) of the fertilizer mix per acre will give you the 50lbs of Nitrogen. And since 50lbs of Nitrogen per acre is the recommended amount to add to Bahia pasture grass, this will allow a Bahia grass pasture to achieve well above average production. Adding more lbs. of Nitrogen per acre the grass can absorb can lead to Nitrogen leaching into our lakes, streams, rivers and aquifer. In addition to polluting our freshwater resources, you will be literally throwing money down the drain!

Manure BMPs quick tips.

  • Spread with a manure spreader, but be careful not to spread too thickly or within 100 feet of any water body and sinkhole.
  • Stockpiling of manure that is not part of a composting system should be avoided unless getting picked up for removal. Be careful to keep manure piles 100 feet from any neighboring properties, sinkholes or water bodies.
  • Composting manure is an excellent way to effectively deal with your manure. It is a tremendous soil amendment and slow-release fertilizer. Again, please be sure to avoid any neighbors when constructing a compost facility.

 

Established Bahiagrass pasture BMPs.

Five fertilization options are presented below for bahiagrass pastures. Choose the option which most closely fits your fertilizer budget, management objectives, and land capability. If you will only be grazing your bahiagrass, you should carefully consider the potential for economical return on your investment in fertilizer before using the Medium-Nitrogen or High-Nitrogen options described below. The added forage produced for grazing animals may not be worth the added cost.

Low-nitrogen option*.

Do not use this option if you cut hay since nutrient removal by hay is much greater than by grazing animals. This option results in the lowest cost of purchased fertilizer. Apply 50 to 60 lb N/A in the early spring to maximize much-needed forage. Do not apply K recognizing that N will be the limiting nutrient in this low-cost option. Apply 25 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. Do not apply P if tissue P concentration is at or above 0.15%, even if the soil tests Very Low or Low in P. For Medium and High soil P levels, neither P application nor tissue analysis is recommended since there will be no added benefit of P fertilization on bahiagrass yields.*For pastures used only for incidental grazing, no more than 50lbs. of Nitrogen per acre per year can be applied.

Medium-nitrogen option.

Apply 100 lb N/A in the early spring. Apply 25 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. Do not apply P if tissue P concentration is at or above 0.15%, even if the soil tests Very Low or Low in P. For Medium and High soil P levels, neither P application nor tissue analysis is recommended since there will be no added benefit of P fertilization on bahiagrass yields. Apply 50 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and none if it tests Medium or High.

High-nitrogen option.

Apply 160 lb N/A in two applications of 80 lb N/A in early spring and early summer. Apply 40 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. Do not apply P if tissue P concentration is at or above 0.15%, even if the soil tests Very Low or Low in P. For Medium and High soil P levels, neither P application nor tissue analysis is recommended since there will be no added benefit of P fertilization on bahiagrass yields. Apply 80 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and 40 lb K2O/A if it tests Medium. No K should be applied if your soil tests High or Very High in K. The fertilization rates suggested in this option are high enough to allow bahiagrass pasture to achieve well above average production. Management and environmental factors will determine how much of the potential production is achieved and how much of the forage is utilized. A single cutting of hay can be made without need for additional fertilization.

For a single cut per year from pastures (Bahiagrass cut sometimes for hay).

If you used the Low-N option of pasture fertilization, apply 80 lb N/A no later than six weeks before the growing season ends. Apply 50 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and none if it tests Medium or High. Apply 25 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. Do not apply P if tissue P concentration is at or above 0.15%, even if the soil tests Very Low or Low in P. If you used the Medium-N option of pasture fertilization, apply an additional 80 lb N no later than six weeks before the growing season ends. Apply 50 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and none if it tests Medium or High. Apply 25 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. If you used the High-N option of pasture fertilization, you do not need any additional N fertilization to make one cut of hay. Apply 80 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and 40 lb K2O/A if it tests Medium. Apply 40 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%.

For multiple cuts of hay (Bahiagrass grown only for hay).

Apply 80 lb N/A in early spring. Also in spring, apply 80 lb K2O/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in K and 40 lb K2O/A if it tests Medium. Apply 40 lb P2O5/A if your soil tests Very Low or Low in P and tissue P concentration is below 0.15%. Apply an additional 80 lb N and 40 lb K2O/A after each cutting, except the last in the fall. Include 20 lb of P2O5/A after each cutting if the soil tested Very Low or Low in P.