# Aspects to consider in the management of pastures.

(Edited)
In livestock farming, the management of fodder crops is essential to obtain adequate yields of these crops. In this publication, some of the aspects that are considered important when managing pastures and balancing the animal load on areas cultivated with pastures will be described.

Without further ado, let's get started.

• The grass sampling
It is an important practice for livestock producers, since it allows them to know through a portion of the forage material that is found on the forage surface the yield and the nutritional quality of the forage that is being offered to the naimales

There are several sampling methods the most used is the destructive one which involves cutting a representative sample of the grass in the field, drying it and analyzing it in a laboratory to determine its dry matter content, protein, fiber, minerals, among other nutrients. This method is important because it provides accurate information about the quality of the forage, allowing producers to adjust the diet of their animals to meet their nutritional needs. In addition, it is useful for monitoring the quality of grass over time, which helps producers to make informed decisions about the management of their meadows and the feed supplementation of their animals.

Nowadays, with the advent of advanced technology, the milling of grasslands can also be carried out with drones with rga cameras which, through remote sensing, take images that can measure the capacity of the grasslands. This can undoubtedly lighten the field work of producers and carry out this type of practices in the shortest possible time.

• Calculate the dry matter in the grass
To determine the dry matter of the grassland, a drying and weighing process is carried out on a part of the sampled plant material. First, a representative sample of the fodder grass is taken and weighed in its fresh state. The sample is then placed in an oven at a constant temperature (usually around 60-70°C) for a specific period of time (usually 24-48 hours) to remove all moisture.

After this drying process, the sample is weighed again, the difference between the fresh weight and the dry weight represents the amount of dry matter in the fodder grass. This value is expressed as a percentage of the dry weight and with it the yield of dry matter that exists on the forage surface can be calculated.

Adjusting the animal load is essential to maintain the health and productivity of the pasture, since if the animal load is too high, the pasture can be overgrazed, which can lead to the degradation of the pasture. On the other hand, if the animal load is too low, the grass can grow uncontrollably, which also affects its dry matter yield and can decrease the nutritional quality of the forage.

Adjusting the animal load in an appropriate way allows optimizing the use of pasture, ensuring an adequate supply of feed for livestock, and promoting the regeneration and health of the pasture. It is important to regularly monitor the condition of the pasture, the weight and body condition of the livestock to adjust the animal load, this will contribute to maximizing the productivity and profitability of the livestock or agricultural operation in the long term. To calculate the animal load first, the yield of dry matter produced in the paddock must be calculated and once the amount of dry matter is known, the animal load that can be supported can be calculated.

• Forage supply
It is defined as the kg of forage (dry matter; MS) per kg of live weight (PV) animal, it is an excellent tool to control the grazing intensity. It is essential to establish that the consumption of dry matter in animals is an important measure to calculate the food requirement and provide adequate nutrition. It is generally considered that ruminants should consume about 3% of their live weight in dry matter daily to maintain their health and performance. However, it is important to note that the consumption of dry matter may vary depending on individual factors, such as genetics, size, age, physiological state and environmental conditions.

Final considerations
Dear readers, these were some of the aspects that can be considered when managing pastures, this will allow there to be a balanced interaction between the animal and the pastures, allowing the pastures to be more sustainable and not degrade in the short term. Grass is a very important crop and animals are a component that can significantly affect the yield of these crops if they are not properly managed in the forage ecosystem.

Bibliography consulted
• Rodríguez, J. Gutiérrez, E. and Rodríguez, H. 2010. Dynamics of grazing systems. (1st ed.). Mexico: Editorial Trillas.

• Estrada, J. 2004. Pastures and Forages for the Colombian Tropics. Manizales: Publications of the University of Caldas.

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