Helpful Tips | Improving Grass Quality and Quantity
Improving Grass Quantity and Quality
Many owners only have a few acres of land for their horses. In my experience the key is to utilise the land which is available to its full potential. Try to implement the following techniques:
Rotation is a method adopted to gain the most out of land. The concept relies on dividing the area of grassland available into smaller paddocks so that each area is managed more effectively. Each paddock can therefore be grazed, rested, nutrient applied, weeds treated, mechanical tasks carried out in rotation.
Grazing helps to keep the grass short which creates young grass and encourages the grass to spread, covering areas which have become bare. Sometimes within a rotation other livestock can be included, three or four sheep following the horses will graze some of the less favourable plants left behind, also as the area being grazed is smaller it is much easier to pick up droppings.
Resting allows the grass to catch up, to provide a future source of feed. If droppings have remained on the ground they can be spread around allowing the sun to dry them out and then rain to wash them into the soil.
The nutrients which are required for grass to grow well are constantly being depleted in the soil. There is leaching from the soil with water, air and sunshine. Grazing horses will convert the energy derived from the grass very effectively, added to the often necessary discipline of picking droppings so that little nutrient is being returned back into the soil, so it is important that this is addressed by adding nutrition back onto the land. Land which has been grazed intensively will often become acidic, this would be addressed with an application of calcium rich nutrients most commonly crushed or pelleted lime or sea sand. Conventional fertilizers are the popular method to replenish quantities of phosphate and potash in the soil although there are natural products which can be applied for example gafsa rock phosphate to address a phosphate shortage or wood ash to address a potash deficiency. Farm yard manure if well rotted will improve the nutrient levels.
Weed treatment could be carried out manually by cutting, pulling or spraying as necessary. As the animals are in other areas it gives an opportunity for any decaying vegetation to completely decompose.
While the paddocks are empty they can be chain harrowed, topped with a grass cutter and fencing repaired without the inquisitive attention of our four legged friends!!
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