Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

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By Dave Scott and Nina Prater, NCAT Agricultural Specialists

Published: 2001

Updated: May 2018



24 pages


This publication looks at the pathways and drivers that move nutrients into, out of, and within pasture systems. It attempts to provide a clear, holistic understanding of how nutrients cycle through pastures and what the producer can do to enhance the processes to create productive, regenerative, and resilient farm and ranch systems. Effective management of nutrient cycling in pastures is simply understanding how nature cycles nutrients in natural grasslands and then mimicking those processes.

Table of Contents

The Rhizosphere
The Photosynthetic and Microbial Bridges
Soil Food Web
Organic Matter
Abiotic Soil Properties
Soil pH
The Base of the Soil Food Web: Bacteria and Fungi
The Predators: Protozoa and Nematodes
Macroorganisms: Earthworms and Dung Beetles
Herbivores' Role in Cycling Nutrients
Managing for Optimal Pasture Nutrient Cycling
Nutrient Cycling's Effect on the Water Cycle
Plot Your Progress: Monitor
Further Resources

Note: Digital downloads are in full color. Printed, mailed copies are only available in black & white.


This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019