Training Kit No. 1.6

BETTER SOIL STRUCTURE AND

LESS EROSION

WITH MEDIC PASTURE

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Photo No. 43

When the cereal crop has been harvested the stubble can be grazed by sheep in the usual manner.

 

Photo No. 44

When the rain falls in autumn a new medic pasture will germinate from the seed in the pods that remained in the ground from the medic pasture that produced the pods 18 months before.

This pasture replaces the weedy fallow.

It costs you almost nothing.

Just some phosphate fertiliser.

The land is not cultivated.

 

Photo No. 45.

Here is the medic-cereal rotation in action.

On the left is medic pasture that regenerated from the hard seed reserve. Last season this was sown to cereals.

On the right is a cereal crop. This was medic pasture last season.

 

Photo No. 46

Next season the cereal crop is sown on the medic pasture.

The medic regenerates in the cereal stubble.

Farmers have been able to operate a cereal - medic rotation for more than forty years without reseeding the medic.

 Their pasture costs are very low. They only apply phosphate.

Photo No. 47

Over the years as you use the cereal - medic rotation the fertility of the soil will increase, the soil structure will improve and the amount of erosion will decrease.

Photo No. 48.

During winter and spring the green medic provides a dense cover of the soil protecting it from runoff caused by heavy rainfall.

Compare this to the poor cover of weeds provided by the fallow rotation.

Return to Photos No 1 to 5 for a description of the fallow.  

Photo No. 49

In summer the dry pods and straw protect the soil from erosion by wind and summer thunderstorms.

Again compare this with the bare, cultivated fallow in Photos No 1 to 5.  

 

Photo No. 50

The dry matter from the medic and the animal manure is returned to the soil during all the year round grazing.

The organic content and soil structure is greatly improved.

Rainfall is absorbed better into a well structured soil.

   

Photo No. 51

The extra water and soil fertility available to the cereal crop will increase the yield.

   

Photo No 52

This is what happens when soil is poorly structured after years of continous cereal crops.

It is unable to absorb rainfall. The water runs off and creates gutters.

 

Photo No. 53 

Poor soil structure also produces hard surface caps.

Crops and pastures find it difficult to break through.

Rainfall penetrates only slowly.

Heavy rain runs off.

Photo No. 54

Again there is runoff and the crop is deprived of the moisture it needs.  

Photo No. 55.

Here is a typical cereal crop grown on a poorly structured soil with low fertility cause by years of fallow and deep ploughing.

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