Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fertilizing the Pasture

You'd think that now that we're done building the new pasture I could sit back and relax...but no!  There's always something to be done on the farm!

The big chore last week was getting the old pasture fertilized.  Technically it probably didn't need to be fertilized, as I had the soil analyzed last summer and they said it was fine, but the grass wasn't growing as much as I'd like so I figured it couldn't hurt.

Using the wagon to haul lime around the pasture.

The hardest part of the process was choosing which fertilizer to use!  With grazing livestock, you obviously have to be careful about what you use since the animals could potentially eat it!  I was going to use a lawn fertilizer, but they are designed to be slow-release (over 2-3 months), and I didn't have that long to wait before putting the llamas back on the pasture.  I ended up going with an organic garden fertilizer, which was 4-3-2 (% nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium).  It was basically composted chicken manure, mixed with a few other organic ingredients.  The downfall of organic fertilizers is that they don't have as much concentrated nutrients as inorganic fertilizers, but they are a lot safer.

I ended up applying 30 pounds of the fertilizer to a roughly 1/2 acre pasture.  It was pelletized, so I got to use the hand-crank grass seed spreader that I bought this spring.

I also wanted to lime the pasture.  Again, the pH tested just fine, but I've read that an abundance of moss and clover indicates that the soil is too acidic, and I have tons of both!  I also figured it couldn't hurt.  I ended up buying 150 pounds of pulverized lime.  I had to spread this by hand (or by cup rather), as it wouldn't work in the spreader.

Moss and clover in the pasture.

My lime-delivery system.

In the grand scheme of things I probably didn't add much to the soil, but it certainly can't hurt.  Hopefully having better management next year will help the pasture too!

You can definitely see where the lime was!

After I was done I watered the pasture for about an hour (in a few different spots).  It also rained nicely the next day (very light, no downpours).  Even a week and 2 rainfalls later you can still see the lime on top of the grass!

Watering the pasture.

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