Managing new pastures

It takes 12 months before a pasture can be considered to be successfully established.Good management gets the best out of a new pasture and will help it persist.

 

12 months for establishment

A pasture should not be considered successfully established until you have a dense, well tillered pasture that has survived a summer. Pasture management through this time has a major impact on its future performance.

 

Management of new pastures 

 

First grazing

The most critical grazing is the first one and should occur as soon as the grass plants do not pull out of the ground. Grazing promotes grass tillering and growth. Early grazing also benefits clover allowing light to reach it. Clover is slower establishing than ryegrass, so plants are usually smaller, in the base of the pasture, and susceptible to shading.

 

Subsequent grazings

For the second grazing onwards, remember new pastures grow rapidly and need frequent grazing. Apply small amounts of nitrogen to boost growth and tillering. Keep pastures relatively short to encourage ryegrass to tiller and prevent shading of clover. Don't let them get too long (>3500 kg DM/ha).

 

Winter and summer

New pastures should not be grazed in periods of stress e.g. prolonged dry or wet periods. In wet winters, protect new pastures from treading damage. Otherwise, future dry matter yield and persistence will be compromised.
In extended dry conditions caring for new pastures should be a priority. Do not overgraze, and do maintain residuals with 2-3 cm length.

 

Weed control

Monitor new pastures closely for emerging weeds. Weeds compete aggressively with young grass and clover and should be sprayed early (typically before or after first grazing). If clovers are present use herbicides such as MCPB, Preside or Pulsar. Different spraying options need to be investigated if herbs, like chicory and plantain, are in the pasture.