anyone experimented with amending soil?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by harplade, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. harplade

    harplade loving life on the farm

    Jul 14, 2005
    louisana ( bush)
    I went to a seminar put on by Sweetlix last week. Being in South Louisiana, our soil is deficient in several trace minerals,etc, etc. My question is.. why are we supplementing with free choice minerals instead of fixing the soil? The answer from Ms Nix was that it is too expensive and difficult to fix the soil and that it is just 'not done' in common farming practices. I'm thinking that I might experiment with an acre of our land and try to fix the soil by adding the trace minerals,etc and having tests done since LSUag is still doing them for free in our area. Anyone have any experience with doing this and what happened? I have a friend who is a dissertation away from having a doctorate in horticulture and when I asked him, he said for sure it could be done. I'm confused-any thoughts out there?

    Thanks, Harplade
  2. Blue Oak Ranch

    Blue Oak Ranch Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Plants take up elements differently. You can't be positive that the plants and browse that are growing in the soil will take up the required minerals in the concentrations you need for goats. Doing a forage testing for trace minerals would be the way to go. You can submit samples to testing labs that specialize in livestock forage.

    For example, alfalfa is notorious for not taking up enough copper. It's worse if the soil is deficient, but since most goats are fed on alfalfa hay, they're usually deficient in this metal even if the concentration in the soil is adequate.

    If you have a large area, with a wide variation in forage plants, this could potentially work. Trees and shrubs have deeper roots with a wider span, and usually those will have greater concentrations of minerals. Grasses have fewer minerals and metals than broad leaved forbs.

    Different plants grow at different times of the year - mineral concentrations in the overall diet would vary based on what's available. If you didn't have fresh forage available in the winter months, you'd have to either make hay or supplement.

    For many it's easier to supplement with a mineral mix, easier than working with potentially dangerous compounds over acreage (breathing copper sulfate, sodium selenite, etc. when spreading it) and then sampling forage quality over the different seasons.

    I like the idea, myself, but I'm not ready to do forage testing yet....I just try to provide a wide variety of plants and even weeds for the goatie-o's in the pasture, and I cut willow and live oak branches for them. I plan on giving them apple tree prunings when mine are big enough.



    Blue Oak Ranch

  3. tlance

    tlance Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    We are planning on working on our soil. If you get into Acres USA they have a lot of books dealing with this. Pat Coleby in Natural Goat Care also talks about this. It seems like we are just covering up the symptoms not fixing the problems. I dont agree with normal farming techiniques either. I am using a sweetlix right now only because I havent quite figured out were I'm going from here.