Cultivation of herb-rich grassland

9 August 2021

Herb-rich grassland differs from conventional grassland in a number of ways and has a number of advantages in cultivation and feed value. For herbs to flourish in grassland, however, cultivation requires different management.

 

Better drought resistance thanks to deeper rooting
Herbs root deeper than grass. This allows them to retain moisture in the soil longer than grass. The field will therefore remain grazed longer, even in drought conditions.

More resistant to weather changes
In addition to conventional grass, production mixes also contain various herbs. If grass sinks a little due to drought, for example, certain herbs will flourish and vice versa. As a result, less fertilization is needed to still get a good yield from the land.

Crude protein
Butterfly plants (red and white clover) bind nitrogen from the air. In the plant this will be converted which increases production. Besides more crude protein, herbal grass mixtures also give a higher quality of crude protein in the product.

Animal Health
Rumen acidification is less common with rations rich in structure and herbs. In addition, higher mineral contents will reduce the incidence of deficiency diseases and some herbs in the grass contribute to a better natural defense system; for example, tannin in clover can help against gastrointestinal worms and the bacteria in narrow plantain help liver and kidney functions because of its urinary diuretic effect.

What to look out for during cultivation?

Cultivating herb-rich grassland is not as simple as it may seem. Over-fertilization, for example, can cause English ragweed to take over the plot, causing the herbs to emerge less or not at all. In that case there is no other option than to sow again. Therefore, preferably use solid manure and postpone the mowing until?

If possible, alternate mowing with grazing. Cows generally regulate their intake themselves. Cows that receive an excess of protein in the barn will consume less clover during grazing. The pH of the soil also plays an important role. For optimal cultivation it should be above 5, this will ensure better emergence of herbs.

So look carefully at your soil analyses and use them to select the appropriate plot. Scarce pastures with a good pH lend themselves well to cultivation of herb-rich grassland.