The Importance of Diversity
A note on diversity…
Diversity is key in many aspects of a farm including your pasture and forage blends. At PCS, we recommend various grass and legume species that are a great place to start when making decisions about your blends. You can also look at adding forbs in your blend. Depending on your operation and your harvest method, as much diversity as possible is best and can improve forage quality, soil health, and the overall ecosystem of your farm.
By increasing diversity, the improvements to forage quality can be seen visually as well as through animal performance when grazing. Having a blend of different grasses, legumes and forbs provides livestock a salad bar style forage. These forage types will vary in levels of fiber and protein throughout the year. This allows livestock to receive a balanced ration from higher protein legumes and forbs while getting highly digestible fiber from grasses in the mix. Different plants also have the ability to pull up different minerals and compounds that livestock need.
The underground livestock benefit from diversity as well. As much as the plants are unique above ground, their root systems provide various benefits below ground as well. Diverse rooting types means a mixture of thick fibrous roots, taproots, deep structures systems as well as dense, shallower roots. Why does this variety matter? Structurally, these roots systems hold your soils where you want it and create a sound base for your forages to grow. Soil biology benefits from the diversity because all plants release their own root exudates for biology to feed on and flourish.
Watch here for more about how to create diverse blends!