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Visual indicators of soil condition

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What do you see and when?

  • Dark green patches with greater growth of grass or clover, paler green in other areas.
  • Best time to look is late winter and early spring
  • Increased or fast pasture growth surrounding manure pats, shorter paler green growth elsewhere.

What could this indicate?

  • Pale green areas deficient in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus or sulphur
  • Dark green areas are urine patches or manure pats. Urine contains high amounts of nitrogen and potassium and some sulphur. Dung affected areas also contain phosphorus
  • Selective grazing may be occurring. Stock avoid pasture near dung while odour remains (up to 3 months).

What test can I do to confirm?

  • Soil testing with reference to potassium, nitrogen and sulphur. Avoid sampling the dark green areas.
  • Test strips of potassium, nitrogen and sulphur fertiliser.

Pictured: Nitrogen response (left) with 25kg/ha applied in May.
Photo Lisa Warn Ag Consulting

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