Pastures are the most economical feed that can be provided to ruminants, it is necessary to take into account that there is no miracle grass since everything will depend on natural conditions such as climate and soil of the production unit. On the other hand, to obtain an excellent pasture ecosystem it is essential to apply essential agronomic practices such as land preparation, seed selection, sowing, fertilization, weed control, pest control, among others.
According to Fusagri (2005), the fundamental aspects that can be taken into account at the moment of establishing a forage area are the following:
Species selection: identifying the species that can be established in an area is essential so that the forage yield can meet the needs of cattle, that is why it is necessary to know the climate of the place, the adaptation of the species to wet surfaces and above all the destination that the forage will have if it is for cutting or grazing. It is necessary that any technician, before planting, performs a diagnosis in the production unit to know in detail what type of pasture adapts to the ecosystem, since, from my own experience I have observed how some technicians recommend pastures that have an adequate yield in temperate zones, but due to lack of a diagnosis, they establish these pastures in areas where their yields are insufficient.
Soil preparation: the soil where the grass is to be established must have certain conditions that are ideal for seed germination, seedling emergence and root development for good anchorage and nutrient absorption, for soil preparation some tools are used such as plowing to remove the soil before planting, this activity can improve soil porosity, similarly, the harrow is also used to help break up the soil, favoring aeration.
Planting time: Knowing which is the ideal time for planting can mean the success of the crop establishment, it is important to do it in the rainy season, since the soil moisture will allow the seeds to have enough moisture for germination, in Venezuela there are rainy and rainy periods, which is an indicator that the rains are distributed throughout the year, but although there is a well-marked time from April to October where the rains can become more constant, these are data that any producer should have for the establishment of forage crops.
If the aforementioned aspects are managed efficiently, it is possible to observe what Guzmán (1996) called the development of the prairie, divided into germination, establishment and growth, which are stages that are related to the behavior of climatic elements, soil fertility, certain biotic factors such as pests and propagation material.
As for the propagation material, botanical seeds and vegetative seeds can be used for planting, it all depends on the species of grass from which the seed comes, some species of grasses do not produce botanical seeds because, according to Machado (1997), in the reproduction of these plants seeds are produced without meiosis or fertilization, therefore, they are not viable for propagation by this means, therefore, for their propagation, vegetative parts of the plants are used such as stolons that are stems that grow on the soil surface, the grasses that reproduce by this means are Cynodon nlemfuensis, Brachiaria mutica, brachiaria arrecta among others.
Also as mentioned in the previous section, there are grasses that are propagated by botanical seeds, this type of seeds are also known as certified seeds, since they are treated by some companies to offer seeds of excellent quality that results in a high percentage of germination, they go through a process of scarification, this technique is used to break some physical barriers of the seeds so that they can absorb water and accelerate germination; Another process applied to the seed is pelleting, where the seed is wrapped in a protective layer incorporating insecticides, fungicides and some are inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Certified seeds that go through the scarification and pelleting process are known as nucleated seeds.
Dear readers, this dissertation shows the importance of the agronomic management of pastures, taking into account that pasture is a crop and some producers neglect its management, the success of any livestock production unit is to efficiently manage their forage crops so that their biomass yield allows them to have an adequate stocking rate. In future editions we will deepen in some of the aspects mentioned, as well as socialize some experimental trials related to certain agronomic management.
FUSAGRI (2005). Pastures (2nd ed). Ediciones Astro Data: Maracaibo.
Guzmán, J. (1996). Pastures and forages of Venezuela. (2nd ed). Editores Espasande: Caracas.
Machado, R.; Seguí, E. and Alonso, O. (1997). Methodology for the evaluation of herbaceous species. Matanzas, Cuba: Publications of the Experimental Station of Pastures and Forages Indio Hatuey.
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