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Prepare Now for Pasture Renovations in 2024

By Rebecca Vittetoe

After the last several years of dry conditions, some pastures may benefit from a renovation in 2024. Proper planning and preparation are needed to successfully improve pastures with either a late winter frost seeding or no-till renovation with interseeding next spring. Below are some good reminders on what you should be doing now to prepare for pasture renovations in 2024.

Address soil fertility needs. To improve the success of frost seeding or interseeding, adequate soil fertility is important. The only way to know what the soil fertility levels are in your pasture is by taking soil samples for testing. Preferably, take soil samples yet this fall to determine lime, phosphorus, and potassium needs. More information on soil sampling and testing is available here.

  • A soil pH of 6.0 is recommended for grass, clovers, and birdsfoot trefoil and for alfalfa a soil pH of 6.9 is recommended. Ideally, lime should be applied a year before seeding. Liming recommendations can be found in Table 16 in the ISU publication PM1688: A General Guide for Crop Nutrients and Limestone Recommendations in Iowa. Note that if placing lime on the soil surface with no incorporation, follow the 2-to-3-inch lime recommendations in Table 16.
     
  • Adequate phosphorus and potassium are important to improve pasture establishment and production. Use soil test results to determine if phosphorus and potassium levels are adequate or if levels are low and it would be beneficial to apply some fertilizer to bring up those levels.
     
  • Do NOT apply early season nitrogen to frost seeded or interseeded areas to minimize early season growth and competition from weeds and already established plants in the area.
Source : iastate.edu

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