The earth today has almost as much water as when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Nearly three quarters of the Earth is covered by water in the form of rivers, lakes and oceans, but only 3 percent of the water is fresh and two thirds of it is ice. About 0.6 percent of the water on Earth is in the underground aquifers of the Earths, and a small but very significant amount (0.003 percent) is in plants, animals and the soil.

In the Netherlands, an average of around 800mm of water falls annually in the form of precipitation; but a large part of it disappears through evaporation or run-off. The amount of water that ends up in the soil partly determines the life and productivity of plants.

Effects of crop management on water storage capacity 

Crop choice management strategies can be both water management or the water retaining properties of the plot and beyond by taking into account the composition of the crop and the characteristics of the soil.

The quantity and quality of groundwater largely depends on:
– Crop Selection (Composition and choice of plants)
Soil structure
– Management (Mow and/or grazing)

Effects of grazing management on water storage capacity

The ability to control the number and timing of grazing is absolutely essential for controlling the effect of grazing on the crop. Of all available grazing systems, the correct stocking density and checking the grazed roughage is of utmost importance.

Overgrazing is the main cause of the deterioration of pasture quality. A meadow where grazing is 'too short' means higher erosion and run-off of water and nutrients.

The grazing system Management Intensive Grazing where we follow the rule of thumb; 1/3 grazing, 1/3 trample and 1/3 rest, improves water use efficiency due to its high proportion soil coverage.

Want to know more about the grazing system Management Intensive Grazing, check out Thursday's webinar!

Register here for the webinar!