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Improve Your Pastures and Soils With Radishes

By   /  December 8, 2014  /  1 Comment

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When this video starts, you might say to yourself “Precision Cover Cropping?! I do pasture!” But don’t turn it off! What this video has to tell us about soil fertility from cover crops is something that we can use in pasture to great benefit! And in only a couple of minutes.

Dr. Joel Gruver of Western Illinois University discovered that soil samples taken from the rows where radish cover crops had been winter-killed were much higher in phosphorous and potassium than soil samples taken just 15 inches away between the rows.  In effect, they had created “bands” of soil fertility.  Even better, there was more fertility than the cover crops could have acquired.  Gruver summarizes it this way: “There was an accumulation of nutrients but there was also a liberation of nutrients that were already in that zone, that were not brought up by the radish plant but rather were simply made more available.”

So watch this video, and then check out this past On Pasture article, “Radishes to Garnish Salads or Pastures,” for some planting and grazing information that will help you get started adding forage radishes to your pasture.

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About the author

Author and editor emeritus

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.

1 Comment

  1. Jenn says:

    Love this article Rachel and love that we know Dr. Weil and Dr. Gruver who promote and sustain this work! Go UMD!

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