Assessing chronology of soil nutrient status in pastures across a topographic gradient

Farmer: Andy Macdonald

Farm: Highland Farm

Region: Central

Publish Date: August 11, 2021

Article Type: Research Project

Research Priorities: Pasture Regeneration 

To help him optimize pasture growth, Andy assessed soil nutrient status from the top slope, side slope and bottom slope of a 50–year old pasture and a hay field that he will start grazing in 2021.


  • Organic matter was higher in the older pasture but did not change significantly with topography.
  • Potassium, phosphorus and iron were also higher in the old pasture and potassium was higher on the top slope. Andy observed variations in manganese and copper for reasons that are unknown.
  • Andy’s observations of better soil health at the top of the hills weren’t supported by the basic assessment of soil nutrient status used in this study.