A Cowboy’s Faith:Chemicals essential grass investment – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith:Chemicals essential grass investment

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Tame grass pastures will not produce tonnage without nutritional supplementation.”

Most farmers-ranchers have tried to “save money” by not fertilizing their brome pastures and hay ground. That without exception has resulted in very little tame grass growth, proving more costly than fertilizer investment.

Yes, fertilizer expenses are at record levels, known from experience with “high wheels” spreading plant nutrition over several hundred acres.

Steep statement in the mail makes every rancher cringe and shake their head in disbelief. Yet proven time and again fertilizer is an essential investment in order to have respectable brome production.

Of course, other factors contribute to sufficient tame grass growth. Time of fertilizer application does make a difference, generally earlier the better, maybe not too early.

Likewise temperatures are an influencing factor in brome yield, seeming cool rather than too hot too soon. Like with all crops, most important even more so than fertilizer is rainfall. There must be moisture for plants to grow, but the time and amounts when it is received definitely influence yield. Mother Nature is in charge of those thermometer readings and rain gauge amounts.

Soil type does come into play with brome typically planted in uphill gumbo or poorer quality land detrimental to production. Yet most waterways lowlands with richer soils that are seeded to brome generally yield well.

Fertilizer makeup varies widely so ingredients must meet earth needs. Only way to know that is soil testing on a regular if not annual timeframe.

Nitrogen seems to be the most essential element for tame grass growth, typically the more the better. Phosphorus and potassium as well as several trace minerals further influence production.

Opinions vary whether dry pellets or liquid fertilizers are most effective. Seemingly one might work better than the other depending on the year.

While following exact nutrient recommendations is essential, the applicator must go over every inch of ground. There’ll be telltale signs if certain areas don’t get what’s needed.

Despite experiences in national land judging contests, college chemistry, botany and crop science classes, it’s still tough knowing what’s best. Using the advice of soil scientists and fertilizer professionals accompanying personal experience and conscience are all that can be done.

Reminded of Second Chronicles 19:7: “This is serious work; do it carefully.” And, Psalm 80:18: “Care for what you once tenderly planted.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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