Importance of pastures
Pasture management should be thought of as grass farming. Think of the grasses as your crop, while you use animals to harvest.
Pastures should be looked at as crops which need care, need weeding, well prepared seedbed and fertile soils. Once you embrace this, then you will enjoy farming.
Grasses need Nitrogen fertiliser to grow vegetative and increased production, so we normally advise to mix grasses with Legumes that add nitrogen to improve the quality of the grass and production.
Over the years, research has been made and new pastures and management systems have been developed to handle challenges mostly lack of enough feeds for animals during dry seasons and improving production by providing the required nutrients.
Some are drought resistant solving the biggest problem of lack of enough feeds during dry seasons.
They can easily be ensiled and stored for future use. They are highly palatable. Value can easily be added (processed into feeds).
Why should farmers grow pastures?
Pastures have high ability to colonise the places where they are grown. They possess high levels of required nutrients that are needed by animals for quick maturity, increased production, good health and quality products.
They have high regeneration potential (after grazing), improve soil fertility by nitrogen fixation .
There are several pastures that can easily help dairy farmers yield more. These include chloris gayana, brachiaria mulato and the improved napier varieties. Others that are however not main feeds are are lab lab, alfalfa, desmodium and calliandra.