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Get a jump start on 2013 horse pastures – Step 1: Get soil tested

Christine Skelly, Michigan State University Extension Published on 06 November 2012

If you want to increase your pasture’s productivity next year, you need to prepare your pasture for the winter this fall. Follow these three steps to maximize your pasture’s nutritional value for next spring:

1. Test your soil’s nutrient content
2. Apply recommended nutrients or lime based on the soil analysis report
3. Rest your pastures

Step 1: Get Soil Tested
The first step is to take a soil sample of your field. With the high costs of fertilizer, it doesn’t make any sense to buy nutrients that you may not need. The soil sample analysis will give you a tailor made recipe for fertilizer along with how much to apply per acre.

You should have your soil sampled in your pastures and hay fields every three years so you can evaluate your soil fertility both to maximize your forage yield and provide soil nutrient information for your manure management plan.

The Michigan State University Soil Testing Lab provides quick turnaround for soil analysis. If you have questions about collecting your sample, contact your county extension office.  FG

—From Michigan State University Field Crop Production Digest, October 2012

For part two of this series, click here.

For part three, click here.