Law number 1: Make use of a long crop
Roots are the anchors of the plant in the soil. They absorb water and nutrients and enable the plant to survive stress, cold, heat and grazing. One of the basic problems we encounter is that farmers like to work with a short crop. And try to get the most out of the crop with this method. Which produces just the opposite result.
Crider's (1954) research has shown that if you want to achieve the highest growth per day of a fodder crop (monocultures and polycultures), it is important to grow the plant long to get the most out of the plant. Then you should think of calf or knee high. About a year later, a third of a plant's root system dies, replacing the plant itself.
Mowing or grazing a forage crop (grass mixtures/feed herbs) has a direct effect on the growth of new roots. When mowing or grazing too short, the forage crop dies. If the leaf area is kept at an optimal length, roots will support more plant growth.
Law number 2: Keep your soil covered at all times
Bare soil is soil that is not protected by plants or grazing residues. Pastures with a high percentage of bare soil are at greater risk of runoff and erosion. Bare soil has no protection against drought, rain and temperature rise or fall. With continuous excessive grazing, the biodiversity will decrease.
By keeping a forage crop short, there is a greater chance of weeds. If this happens, there is a greater chance that the forage crop will suffer from drought and grass production decreases.
A tip for a better soil coverage:
Use a crop that has length in it. A Saladebuffet can grow to knee high and is still very leafy and very digestible. This keeps the bottom covered and creates a “mini-rainforest”. The soil remains cool, dark and moist.
In addition, the forage crop continues to maintain a high yield, because you leave more residue, so that re-growth starts immediately.
3 tips to prevent drought in feed herbs:
– Let the crop grow to length; mid-calf, just below the knee. (1st year around 30cm/2nd year or older around 40-50cm)
– Mow as high as possible (10-12cm); by leaving the rest, the root system remains intact and re-growth starts immediately.
– Or graze half of the crop; this keeps the root system intact and re-growth starts immediately.