Growing pastures

This module is in preparation and will be available early June 2022.

Good pastures are a valuable asset on a farm or hobby / lifestyle property. But getting pastures established can be challenging. This module will take you through all the basics for establishing pastures and even rejuvenating an old pasture. The module builds on previous modules on plant growth, nutrition and soils, so to get the most from this module please consider at least first taking the module Plant growth, plant nutrition and soils.

Topics include understanding your soil and soil preparation, methods of sowing and fertilising pastures, pasture species suitable for your area, choosing a species mix, balanced pasture nutrition, sources of nutrients, growth cycle of pasture species, seasonal production of pastures, maintaining fertility in pasture soils, fertiliser calculations and fertiliser mixes.

Outcomes: Set a pasture production goal for your farm and also work out the likely time and cost involved in establishing pasture and the timeline for development. Assess the current condition of the soil and/or pasture. Prepare a plan for rejuvenating or establishing a pasture. Include choice of varieties to suit your area and livestock, fertility level of the soil and method and time of sowing. Also choose varieties that will work to re-establish fertility. Develop a program for fertilising to start or kick-start the pasture taking into account species requirements and alternative fertiliser sources. Estimate how your program will facilitate nutrient cycling in pasture and sustainability of the pasture in the long term. Draw up a plan for on-going fertility and production management. Your mentor will help you through the process.

Specific topics include:

The value of pastures, how pastures can contribute to your farm.

Soil preparation and sowing pastures. Rejuvenating a pasture.

Suitable pasture species for your area and for your livestock.

Choosing a species mix.

Pasture nutrition and production. Amount and balance of nutrients required. Balanced pasture nutrition. Nutrients from different sources.

Growth cycle of pasture species.

Seasonal production of pastures. Extending the season. Alternatives for filling feed gaps.

Key factors and functions of pasture soils.

Fertilising pastures.

Fertiliser mixes. Trace elements.

Cost $220. Allow 20 hrs study time. Aim to complete the module within 6 weeks. Tutor Dr Tim Apps