In Florida, spring and summer are the prime times to establish pastures or to reestablish old ones. The wet season brings somewhat reliable rains and there’s plenty of sunshine to nurture young plants. Whichever you are choosing to do, the good folks at UF/IFAS have some points for you to consider. The main points are to determine what your forage needs are, and what type of forage best fits the needs of your operation.
Taking some time to evaluate the land of the new pasture and the needs of your operation will allow you to do the job right the first time, which saves time and money down the road. The first step is to identify the forage that best fits your operation’s needs. You should consider the following in the new pasture area:
- Is the drainage good or poor? Or a combination?
- Will the pasture host grazing, hay, or both?
- How high will the stocking rate be?
- Are you willing to intensively manage the pasture?
The common recommendation is that pastures should be reestablished when 40 percent or less of the pasture is growing ‘desirable forage species.’ Anything above 40 percent, and the usual recommendation is to over-seed to improve the pasture to desired levels for foraging.
Once you have decided what forage you will plant and how the land will be used, the next step is to test the soil fertility, or pH. You will need to amend the soil with dolomite or lime to reach the optimum pH for your chosen forage, and it can take up to half a year to reach the desired pH.
Next, remove all unwanted foliage, taking down trees and bushes by hand and other unwanted plants by plowing or using a disc on the ground. This may need to be repeated a few times. You should also retest the soil pH after rotation. Then, follow the planting directions of your chosen forage.
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.