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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #237234

Title: Pasture Fallowing Fact Sheet

item Goslee, Sarah

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/2009
Publication Date: 3/3/2009
Citation: Goslee, S.C. 2009. Pasture Fallowing Fact Sheet. Northeast Pasture Consortium. p. 1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Pasture fallowing is the practice of leaving pastures ungrazed for a period to encourage grass reseeding and increase pasture diversity. Fallowing may have negative effects as well, by reducing legume cover and allowing thistles and other invasive weeds to increase. We looked at the effects of fallowing on pasture plants and on the seed bank of an organic dairy in Maryland. Plant cover was sampled in spring, summer and autumn of 2004-2006. Soil samples were taken in summer and autumn of 2005 and 2006, returned to the greenhouse, and seedlings counted. Short-term changes in total cover, decreases in legume cover and increases in thistle cover were observed, but no changes persisted past the second year post-fallowing. Total seed bank and numbers of tall fescue seeds increased, but the seed bank returned to baseline levels within two years. On this farm, no long-term changes after fallowing, either beneficial or detrimental, were observed in the pasture vegetation or seed bank.