A Brief Overview of Nutrient Cycling in Pastures


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By Alice E. Beetz

Published: 2002

Updated: 2002



11 pages


Nutrients in a pasture system cycle through soil organisms, pasture plants, and grazing livestock. Appropriate management can enhance the nutrient cycle, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Two practical indicators of soil health are the number of earthworms and the percentage of organic matter in the soil. A diversity of pasture plants growing on healthy soils use sunlight and the nutrient resources in the soil to effectively produce animal feed. Paddock design and stocking density can also affect the efficiency of nutrient cycling in a pasture system. Supplementation of natural fertility, based on soil tests, balances the soil's mineral composition, resulting in better plant and animal growth and increased soil health.

Table of Contents

Soil Organisms and Nutrient Cycling
Organic Matter is Essential to Soil Health
Pasture Plants Also Cycle Nutrients
Grazing Livestock Affect Pasture Nutrient Cycles
Nutrient Cycling in Relation to Other Natural Cycles
Supplementing the Nutrient Cycle
Further Resources

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This page was last updated on: December 5, 2018