Project Site: Wanham Provincial Grazing Reserve
Research Program Manager: Dr. Akim Omokanye Collaborators: Dianne Westerlund, Lekshmi Sreekumar From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2018 Annual Report
In pastures, weeds and shrubs or brush encroachment can be a serious problem, and can be difficult to control. Controlling weeds and brush in pastures will restore pasture health and productivity, and improve and sustain forage quality. Rejuvenation can be a pasture management strategy for rapid improvement of existing and/or depleted forage stand/pasture that can bring new vigor or usefulness to a pasture and thereby restore it to its original state (Acharya, 2015; Schellenberg, 2016). Breaking and reseeding old forage stands is the traditional method of pasture rejuvenation (Waddington, 2017), but this can be a complex and costly challenge, as well as time consuming for producers (Omokanye et al., 2018; Waddington, 2017). The high costs associated with the traditional method has encouraged producers to search for alternative strategies and technologies for improving and sustaining pastures. The objective of this study was to investigate several methods of pasture rejuvenation to enable a proper assessment of different methods on-farm.
An on-farm study was conducted from spring 2016 to summer 2018 at Wanham Provincial Grazing Reserve. The soil at the site from 0-6” depth had the following: organic matter = 10.7%, pH = 6.3, electrical conductivity = 1.85 dS/M, nitrate-N = 16 lbs/acre, P (Bray 1-P) = 76 lbs/acre, K = 1200 lbs/acre and sulphate-S = 28 lbs/acre. The initial soil N was considered deficient for yearly forage production.
The treatments (pasture rejuvenation methods) were arranged in a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Plot size was 90 feet x 420 feet (0.87 acres). The following 11 pasture rejuvenation methods were evaluated:
1. Check (control) - no treatment was done.
2. Broadcast forage seed mixture + aerate/spike in spring (BSAS) - Broadcast seeded forage seed mixture at 19.4 lbs/acre on June 8, 2016.
3. Broadcast forage seed mixture + aerate/spike in fall (BSAF) - Broadcast seeded forage seed mixture at 19.4 lbs/acre on October 5, 2016.
4. Aerate/spike in fall (AF) - AerWay® land renovator was used on October 5, 2016.
5. Aerate/spike in spring (AS) - AerWay® land renovator was used on June 8, 2016.
6. Spray GrazonTM herbicide in spring (GRAZON) - GrazonTM XC was sprayed on June 12, 2016 at 2.5 L/acre.
7. Fertilizer application (FERT), lbs/acre - Broadcast fertilizer at 77 lbs N/acre + 37 lbs P/acre + 13 lbs S/acre on June 6, 2016. The initial soil tests showed sufficient amount of K in the soil, so no K fertilizer was applied.
8. Spray herbicide + direct seed forage in spring (RSS) - Sprayed Roundup at 1.5 L/acre on May 30, 2016. Seeded forage seed mixture at 15 lbs/acre on June 7, 2016.
9. Spray with herbicide in fall & broadcast forage seed mixture th