In the past I’ve discussed how effectively pastures can run on legume nitrogen (N) alone. While legumes can put quite a bit of N into the pasture, the next question is how effectively are you recycling N in your pasture system?
Whether it comes from legumes or fertilizer, N in pasture can be recycled for new pasture growth. The more effective job you do of managing the natural N cycle, the less money you will spend on N fertilizer.
While cattle consume a lot of N as protein in the forage, less than 5% of the N is retained in their bodies. The rest is excreted as either dung or urine.
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