Forage and Pasture Crops – 5 Uses and How to Start
Forage and Pasture crops are important feeds of livestock. They help livestock such as cows and sheep grow sufficiently. These pasture and forage cross also helps to conserve nutrients in the soil. They can serve many purposes for the agriculture sector and residential sectors.
Pasture is a piece of land where grasses, legumes, and many other forage crops grow. These pastures are the grazing lands for herdsmen and livestock farmers. Similarly, forage crops are vegetative crops that are grown mainly for the feeding of animals (even if they are used for many many purposes) these pastures and forage crops can still be dried so that they can be kept for a long time.
Uses Of Forage and Pasture Crops
1. Livestock Feed:
As earlier stated, forages from pastures are used for feeding livestock, mainly herbivores that eat grasses, legumes and so on. The storage crops are dried to avoid being eaten by pests later on. They can also be stored in sillage, straws and has so that they can be used for food during dry seasons. The livestock also grazes directly on pastures during the rainy season.
2. Cover Crop:
One of the reasons they can not be deserted is because it can protect the soil and crops against erosion. The watching away of crops during erosion or flooding are retarded by grasses which reduce the force flow of water. This forced flow of water might wash the crops away. Apart from these, they also protect the ecosystem against flooding.
The forages which serve as cover crops add nutrients to the soil and also reduce the effect of weeds on plants. They do not give room for weeds to grow. Also, the leguminous forages are in charge of taking care of wind and water erosion. This means the texture of the soil remains the same.
3. Soil Conservation using pasture crops:
Soil conservation is the process of maintaining the nutrients in the soil from getting degraded or lost. They prevent the moisture of the soil from evaporation. This evaporation might have caused the root of crops not to reach the water surface and it helps to prevent it. Also, another presence must be felt here which is the prevention of leaching. Sometimes, cover crops protect the soil from organisms that will dig down to hide and later cause livestock.
4. Use of pasture crops for Organic Manure:
Forages can be left to decay and become organic mature. Thereby returning the nutrients they have gotten from the soil. This is how the recycling nature of the soil goes on. Also, without their decay, they add a lot of nutrients to the soil and aid in the recycling of nitrogen back to the soil. Forages are an adequate source of green and organic nutrients. They can supplement the normal fertilizers that are used in farms.
5. For Roofing And Bedding:
In farms, the cover of farmsteads and building mostly forage Forages such as guinea grass and elephant grains are very good for this purpose. They are strong enough to hold intense heat or rain from penetrating the peace of the farmsteads.
Also, forages are the main source of animal bedding materials. Animals rest on forages. The kind of forages to be used here will be soft like foam and arranged flat to the ground.
How to Establish Pasture Crops
1 Site Selection: Pastures should be grown on good, moist loamy soil where they can grow effectively.
2. Clearing of Land for pasture crops: Make sure the land is free from bushes, weeds and other factors that might not allow the adequate growth of these forages. You can do these with hoes and cutlasses or even with a machine such as a tractor. Make sure the site debris is removed as well.
3. Cultivation of Site: This is the time you need to grow the kind of forages you want. The process of cultivation must be adequate for the crop.
4. Planting of Pasture Crops: Planting pasture crops is very easy. With the required method of propagation and adequate basic cultivation, you can fully grow your lands.
5. Planting of Legumes: Plants legumes as well. This is very important to carry out. Legumes add nutrients to the soil.
6. Weeding: Weeding the soil is very important. This wedding should be done at regular intervals so that it doesn’t suffer from any competition until it is mature.
7. Fertilizer application: The application of fertilizers is also important to improve the nutrients in the soil. The appropriate rate of fertilizers is also important to take note of.
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