Improving Soil Micronutrients

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 1999: $2,028.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $3,250.00
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine, sheep


  • Animal Production: mineral supplements, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    Rotational grazing is widely used practice on my farm. I have been grazing for years and have read books and papers on grazing and soil fertility in pastures. I would like to look at micro nutrients in my pastures (such as calcium, magnesium, sulfate, iron, manganese, zinc, cooper, boron, chlorine, aluminum, sodium and others). I believe that if my micro nutrients are brought into the optimal range on a soil test that my forage production and animal performance will improve. The livestock will get the micro nutrients from pasture therefore reducing the amount of micro nutrients that I must provide in feed or minerals. This is a problem for all grazers in our area. We have not developed a good easy way to provide these minerals. This will also allow me to increase my stocking rates therefore making my operation more efficient. My plan is to take a comprehensive soil test and then balance the soil micro nutrients by applying a natural rock dust. This dust is available at any limestone quarry in southwestern Pennsylvania. The dust would also have to be tested to determine the content and concentrates of the micro nutrients. After this is determined an application rate can be calculated.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.