It should come as no surprise that over time pastures and hay yields can start to decline.

There are a number of reasons for that decline from nitrogen loss, to environmental conditions like drought, low-productivity soils or grazing management strategies.

With the rising costs of land and fertilizer prices, climate conditions and more, it's important for producers to recover the productivity of the land.

There are a variety of options to consider when looking at pasture rejuvenation whether it be controlled grazing, fertilization, break and re-seed, sod-seeding, broadcast seeding, mowing or prescribed burns.

When it comes to evaluating which method is right for your operation it's important to not only look at production yields but also at what pencils out the best in the budget.

Kathy Larson is a researcher with the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources focusing on economics. 

"I think lots of people are seeing that the land prices have quadrupled in the last ten years and so now it's about okay maybe my I haven't been doing that work. We saw examples today about people who haven't done any sort of manure application or fertilization. So they need to find a way to recover the productivity of those stands over time because they decline in yield."

During the "Foraging into the Future" conference, Larson talked about the economics involved in a project focusing on rejuvenating Crested Wheatgrass in South West Saskatchewan.

The research trial involved three rejuvenation options - breaking and re-seeding, sod-seeding and nitrogen fertilization. 

She notes sod-seeding a legume into the pasture was the cheapest, and helped to increase the nitrogen needed to boost the pasture productivity.

"The cheapest was the sod-seeding, then we came in with the nitrogen fertilization. The breaking and re-seeding was the most expensive. So it's not surprising then to see that on the net present value basis, the breaking and re-seeding was the least profitable, rejuvenation activity and sod-seeding was the one that did the best, compared to doing nothing."

It's noted that sod-seeding legumes can increase forage yields and quality, and fix nitrogen.

To hear more of the conversation with Kathy Larson click on the link below.