A Walk in the Rain Tells You A Lot About Your Pasture’s Health

I usually appreciate rain when we get it, but too often we don’t get it when we need it. I really prefer that precipitation doesn’t get too heavy in the winter because whether it comes in the form of rain or snow, it increases work load. The solid form might look pretty, but it certainly makes driving interesting sometimes. If it is not in the form of snow, then it’s usually worse, especially when the ground is not frozen! This is one of those years so far where I’d appreciate a little bit more “free concrete” as in frozen ground. If you are not on heavy stockpile then you are most likely fighting mud. I’ve probably spent too much time walking fields, especially when it is raining. It’s not the most enjoyable thing to do in the winter time, especially in a cold rain, but it is educational. I would encourage every landowner to take a walk in the rain to see what is going on in your fields. I don’t blame you if you want to wait until a warm day, but walk and see what the rain is doing. Is it disappearing into the forage and soil or is it flowing across land? If it is flowing, then where is it going? Is there a lot of overland flow or runoff? The amount of residue and/or forage residual left behind and how it stands makes an impact on runoff. The more retardance, something that breaks impact and slows movement, the less runoff. The more retardance, the more likely the incr

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One thought on “A Walk in the Rain Tells You A Lot About Your Pasture’s Health

  1. I have a question about this sentence: “A one percent increase in organic matter in the soil can increase the water holding capacity of that soil to the tune of about 14,000 gallons of water.” Is this per acre? Could you send me the research on this, please? (Question asked from the viewpoint of a sympathetic reader, not at all critical.)

    A comment about “Areas that are torn up under wet winter conditions will usually have poor forage production the next year and are subject to invasion of weeds that love disturbance, high nutrients and organic matter. These fields often require establishment of new forage to be productive again.” I make it a practice to topseed all pugged or heavily-trodden areas on my small farm with red clover, low-coumarin yellow sweet clover, and a little orchard grass. It works on the sacrifice fields, too. If trefoil is desired, “fling it on”; my goal is no bare spots in the field.

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