Dear readers, in livestock agroecosystems the establishment of forage surfaces is one of the fundamental tasks to guarantee plant biomass for animal food and nutrition, to start with an adequate formation of pastures apart from acquiring sexual and vegetative seeds of excellent quality, it is necessary to perform a series of steps that guarantees the germination and emergence of pasture seedlings and in this way ensure significant coverage throughout the surface that will be destined for grazing animals.
In consideration of the above, a series of steps that we must take into account before and during the planting process will be described, let's start by pointing out that soil analysis is one of the fundamental agronomic activities before planting the pastures, soil sampling must be carried out by collecting different subsamples and then taking a composite sample to the qualified laboratory to perform the respective analyzes as mentioned in one of our previous articles concerning soil sampling. When it comes to plants with a superficial root system such as grasses, the sampling depth can vary between a range of 0 and 20 cm, on the other hand, it is important that a specialist analyzes the results issued by the laboratory to recommend the type of fertilization that can be applied if necessary and see the type of poacea that can be established in such soils.
Next, if there are acidic soils, it is important to apply an amendment to reduce acidity levels by applying agricultural lime, for example, soil preparation should also be carried out to leave the soil loose, taking into account that some soils may be compacted which can significantly influence the germination and emergence of seedlings, generally producers implement primary and secondary tillage, that is, they start with the application of plowing to turn the land over and then apply the harrow to dig up the soil to make it looser, it is important to clarify that when the application of this type of practices is exceeded, it can affect the biological activity of the soil and also influence its erosion.
Another aspect to consider at the time of sowing is the soil moisture, therefore, determining the sowing date is important, it is usually done at the entrance of the rainy season because water availability is guaranteed in the initial period for the germination and growth of pastures, in production units that have an irrigation system can be sown in any month of the year, because there is the availability of water at all times.
Of course, before carrying out all this process, the grass species must be selected according to the climatic conditions, the conditions presented by the production unit and the benefits of the pasture such as, for example: resistance to some type of pest that is in the geographical area, plants with resistance to moisture in areas where humidity is high, what purpose will pasture have on the farm if it is desired for grazing and cutting erect-growing tillered species can be an option such as Megathyrsus maximus and the yield of plant biomass that it can offer for the sustainability of animals.
For sowing seeds are needed, if they are sexual seeds, you need to buy those that guarantee a higher percentage of germination and purity, for this, these seeds must be purchased in advance up to 30 days before sowing to be able to verify through some tests their quality, then they should be stored in a cool place with low humidity and free of any agent that may affect them such as rodents.
Dear readers, at the time of sowing, usually in the southern area of Lake Maracaibo Venezuela, the method of volley is used, which consists of dispersing the seeds on the ground with your hands or any equipment that can help disperse them, the seeds can be mixed with amendments such as agricultural lime and / or fertilizers, which allows a simultaneous application of these two elements (seed-fertilizer). After dispersing the seed, some mechanisms are sought to be able to cover them with the ground, such as using the branches of a coconut tree tied to a tractor since, the surface is removed and the seeds are covered, it could also be used rakes, it is necessary to ensure that they are not too deep to facilitate their germination.
Finally, when the pastures are established at approximately 65 days, the youngest animals can be introduced so that they do not generate a high grazing pressure and that they only stand out and at approximately 120 days, larger animals can be started with the introduction and make the necessary rotations, since the pastures should have their most developed radical system and there is no risk that a large animal will extract the root plant when they consume it.
Durán, F. (2009). Cultivation of pastures and forages. Grupo Latino Editores. Bogota: Colombia.
González, B. (2005). Production of pasture for grazing. In Alexander Bermúdez, Alirio García and Lidio Parra (Eds.). Pasture. Maracaibo, Venezuela: Astro Data.
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