Does it Pay to Fertilize Pastures? Part 1 of 2

Thanks for this article go to Bruce Anderson and Jerry Volesky of Nebraska Extension, University of Nebraska, Lincoln and to UNL Beef Profit Tips. If you'd like to listen to this as a podcast instead, click here.  And let us know if you like listening to podcasts. We can find more for you! Pasture and hayland grass growth is stimulated by fertilizer just as it is with other crops. While nitrogen (N) is the primary nutrient most commonly needed for grasses, others, such as phosphorous (P), potassium (K), or sulfur (S), also may be deficient and needed for increased growth. Soil testing should be done to determine the specific nutrient needs and amounts. Common reasons for fertilizing pasture or hayland include trying to increase the vigor and density of the grasses or increasing production for hay or to support more grazing livestock. On sub-irrigated meadow that can be grazed or hayed, research has shown that a suggested fertilizer application of 70 lb N, 25 lb P, and 20 lb S per acre results in an average grass increase of about 0.75 tons/acre. If hayed, the economics of this would simply be related to the cost of the fertilizer application and the value of the hay. As one would expect, the greatest returns are when hay values are high and fertilizer costs are low. If $60 per ton is the anticipated hay value, no more than $45 ($60 times the 0.75 ton/acre yield increase) could be spent on the fertilizer application to break even. At $100 per ton hay value, the breakeve

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2 thoughts on “Does it Pay to Fertilize Pastures? Part 1 of 2

  1. Here, that additional ton would also cost $ 33 in baling. 1200 lb bale at $20, plus whatever it costs to get it to your hay yard. $4 bale for me.

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