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1997 Results - Pastureland

NRI Logo1997 Results - Pastureland Utah

Pastureland in Utah covers about 1 percent of the total land surface of the state or 4 percent of the total nonfederal rural land. Between 1982 and 1997 there was an increase of pastureland in the amount of about 156,200 acres. According to NRI data, most of this was the result of cropland being converted to pastureland. 

Pasture is defined as introduced forage plants for grazing. It doesn't have to be grazed all the time to be pastureland. Many livestock producers have used it as a suitable practice to provide feed through the growing season. In some areas of the state, it will provide feed through the winter months. Land in pasture serves to stabilize soils that might otherwise erode under normal cropping conditions, thereby preserving a vital resource. Another advantage to using pasture for feed is the possible use of alfalfa or other legume, with the native or introduced grasses. It provides nitrogen to the plants and extra nutrients to the livestock that graze it. 

Pasture is a favored land use in virtually all areas of Utah. If irrigated it will be found in the irrigated valleys and basins with other cropping systems. If it is non-irrigated, it will be in those areas where the precipitation is over 12 inches per year and the frost-free season is over 50 days per year. 

Maintenance of pastureland includes fertilization, efficient watering, and control of undesirable plants and sustainable grazing pressure. Many of the state's dairymen and ranchers depend on this land use to sustain their operations.