See the details of how a Pasture Condition Score Sheet can be used to measure your management efforts for boosting pasture productivity.
In one of our recent blogs, we discussed options for measuring the results of management efforts to boost pasture productivity. One of those options was using a Pasture Condition Score Sheet. Measuring and collecting data is the only way to know for sure if your management efforts are successful and having an impact on your operation’s bottom line. Take a look at the details of using a score sheet to assess your pasture’s condition below.
Details of a Pasture Condition Score Sheet
A Pasture Condition Score Sheet is used to keep track of the changes your pasture undergoes in response to management practices that are aimed at boosting pasture health and productivity for your herd. It quantifies those changes, allowing you to track data far beyond those you might notice independently.
The USDA offers the guide to offer a “systematic way to check how well a pasture is managed.” According to the guide, you should score your pasture during the following times:
- At the start before placing livestock on pasture
- At peak forage supply periods
- At low forage supply periods
- As plant stress appears
- Near the end of the grazing season to help decide when to remove livestock
- Going into the winter season
- Late in winter
- During thaws or wet periods
A pasture is evaluated on 10 different indicators with five descriptive conditions, with each given a rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
The indicators are:
- Percent Desirable Plants
- Percent Legume
- Live Plant Cover (includes dormant)
- Plant Diversity
- Plant Residue and Litter as Soil Cover
- Grazing Utilization and Severity
- Livestock Concentration Areas
- Soil Compaction and Soil Regenerative Features
- Plant Vigor
Find a pdf download of the USDA Guide to Pasture Scoring here for the details on all of the indicators.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.