Managing Horse Pasture
Managing Horse Pasture . Hay and pasture make up a significant portion of a horse’s diet. A horse that weighs 1,000 pounds will consume around 500 pounds of food every single month. If there is no other source of food available, a horse will need around 28 acres of dryland pasture that is not irrigated each year. On the other hand, irrigated pastures produce far more feed per acre than dryland pastures do, thus they need less land overall. It takes around one to two acres of irrigated pasture to provide the grazing requirements of one horse.
It is suggested that each horse have access to two acres of pasture. The grazing that may be obtained from one acre of pasture is sufficient; nevertheless, additional pasture management is required. You should do soil tests, apply fertiliser, and manage manure in your pasture in the same way as you would with any other crop. Trampled grass or grass that has manure on it is something that horses will not eat. Horses will also easily overgraze areas that are too small for them. As a result, in order to reduce the risk of overgrazing, it is necessary to have a mix of pasture and a small lot or barn.
It is important to keep horses from overgrazing the pasture since this might prevent new grass from growing. Maintain a healthy grass cover in the pasture, since overgrazed pastures may never recover. In order to promote new grass growth, you should always keep approximately a third of the grass uncut at any one moment. It is possible to keep the horse within the lot or the barn and limit the amount of time it spends grazing in order to lessen the amount of damage it does to a tiny pasture. The use of rotational pasture lots is one of the keys to maximising the potential of pasture land that is limited in size to a few acres. A pasture may be sectioned off in a time and cost-effective manner with the assistance of portable electric fence. It is not possible to prevent your horse from overgrazing by providing excessive amounts of hay and feed to your horse.
A horse certainly does not have to spend all of its time grazing in the pasture. There are times when a lush green pasture is not an option. Even without access to grass, horses may be adequately nourished. However, pasture offers a number of benefits, including the fact that it is the natural nutrition for horses, that it lowers the expense of feeding horses, that it gives your horse the opportunity to exercise, and that, in general, horses tend to be healthier when they are kept outdoors on pasture.
The installation of a profitable pasture and its ongoing upkeep are not particularly challenging tasks. Spending a few dollars on soil nutrients for your pasture is a sensible investment that will pay off in the long run. Your pasture will be able to grow more productive and provide a greater amount of fodder if you fertilise it. In most cases, the expenses of fertiliser will be compensated by properly rotating pastures and by reducing the amount of money spent on hay and grain supplements as a supplement to feed.
The mowing of pastures is also an essential part of pasture management. It helps prevent the spread of weeds, which is important for maintaining a better quality of feed. The proliferation of weeds may be limited by mowing them down before the plants generate seed heads. The grass should be cut to a height of three to four inches.
It doesn’t matter how carefully you maintain your pasture; it will almost certainly become less densely populated over time. Every year, fresh forage seed should be broadcast over the pasture in order to maintain its capacity to produce healthy grass. The planting of new seeds should ideally take place in the spring or the autumn. It is possible for germination and growth to take place under moist circumstances throughout the spring, but only if the conditions are not too wet or muddy. The autumn season will see a reduction in the amount of competition from weeds. In order to ensure that the new grass seedlings have the time to develop healthy roots, they should not be grazed for the first six to eight weeks after they have emerged from the soil.
Caution! It is risky to turn out your horse on a green, lush pasture before teaching him to adjust to a change in diet since it might result in illness or even death for your horse. You should get your horse used to grazing by allowing him to do so for a few minutes each day, and then gradually extend this time until he is grazing for several hours each day.