What is Litter and Why is it Important? Litter is organic matter, mostly in the form of trampled grass that is physically placed on the ground. We can create litter without the use of livestock, but in this scenario I’ll be discussing litter created by cattle. Litter can be placed on the ground by grazing livestock a high densities. To learn how to create more or less density please see this post. The reasoning for placing litter on the ground is just like mulching your garden. It cuts down on weeds, retains moisture and add fertility to the soil.
Litter is essential if you want to keep your pasture/range healthy! The benefits of placing litter on the ground are:
- Keeps the soil covered
- Helps retain moisture in the soil
- Provides a food source for soil microbes and critters
- Sequesters Carbon
- Provides drought resistance
- Builds organic matter
- Water can infiltrate into the soil easier
- Reduces erosion caused by wind and water
- Extends growing season in both spring and fall
- Provides “flood insurance”
- Increases the amount of livestock you can run, AKA increased stocking rate
- Enables you to grow more grass in the future
- Heals the water cycle
- Heals the mineral cycle
And another picture after I’ve peeled back some litter.
So there you have it. Keep the soil covered.
Please remember to go read this post to learn how to get more litter on the ground! You can subscribe to Agricultural Insights and get notified of new posts via email by going here.