ACTIVITY + FORUM: Assess Your Pasture
There are many tools for monitoring pasture health. Your task is to try one or both on just ONE PADDOCK (with FIVE samples from that paddock) on your farm. You are encouraged to share your experience and answer the questions at the end of this activity in the Comments section below.
You will walk into the paddock and with a rock, flag, arrow, or dart and toss it 5 times to pick 5 spots at random. You will then take a photo of each spot and examine it as you fill out the worksheet.
To complete this activity:
1) Choose one or both of the worksheets below and print out:
- The Scorecard - where you read descriptions and rate each spot, then add them all up and get a score
- The Descriptor – where you write a description of your observations in each box, noting any differences between each spot in your paddock
2) Print one or both of the documents above and head out to the pasture! Take with you something you can toss randomly to “choose” your five spots within the paddock.
3) Toss your item, and examine a roughly 6” radius circle from the spot your item landed. (about a 1 foot circle with your object in the center)
4) Take a picture of this spot and number it 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
5) If using the “Scorecard” worksheet, work down the blue columns to the left and place the number in the box with the description that best matches your condition. When you’ve done this for all five spots, add up the points and divide by 5 to get the average for each category. Then multiply by the “Wt.” column to get the final score. Add up your scores in the last column to the right, and then note your overall pasture condition score!
6) For the “descriptor” worksheet, write your observations for each category, noting differences between each numbered spot.
7) We are asking you to do just ONE PADDOCK and five spots WITHIN that paddock. Obviously, repeat as desired with other paddocks!
8) In the Comments section below, share your results and list three ideas that you feel will work well to improve the productivity of the pastures on your farm, and a short explanation of why.
See the example PDF posted below or ask questions in the Comments section if you need further help!