Keeping an eye on tame pastures

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Pasture assessments help producers decide if a pasture needs to be rejuvenated and if so, how best to rejuvenate it. The Alberta Tame Pasture Scorecard is a quick and easy way of doing a pasture assessment. The Sustainable Resource Development Health Assessment forms are another good tool that provides a more detailed assessment.

Pasture assessments look at key indicators to measure pasture productivity and vigor. Indicators such as plant population, plant density, plant vigor, ground cover, soil damage and severity and uniformity of use are assessed.

“Pasture assessments provide producers with information needed to make decisions on grazing management, timing of grazing, cross fencing and pasture fertility,” says Grant Lastiwka, forage/grazing/beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Pastures should be assessed at least once a year, during the growing season. Pastures that are more intensively managed should be assessed more frequently. These pasture assessments allow producers to look closely at the pasture and identify specific areas where management improvements may be profitable and effective. Assessments allow targeted, specific management. Once problems are identified, a rejuvenation method can be selected to fix the problems.

Assess your pasture! The Alberta Tame Pasture Scorecard is available online, is designed to be simple and straightforward to use, with or without special training.

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