PasturesPlus+TM

"Let the Experts Do It"

Professional Pasture and Forage Management

Pasture Maintenance

Mowing
 
Besides the aesthetic value, pasture mowing serves a very important role in the management of horse pastures. Horses find the most palatable grasses to be short and tender, which is best suited for their method of gathering forage, mastication and digestion. Grass plant species vary in leaf density and acceptability by animals, depending upon season and physiological needs.

Mowing pastures can vary between 4” to 6”, depending upon the season, the forage growing cycle, grazing density, age of forage establishment, and soil moisture. Typically, during the drier months, the pastures should be mowed higher to prevent the actual killing of the pasture forages. Conversely, in the months of higher moisture, a shorter length is more desirable.

One important aspects of mowing is to keep the plant forages in a growing vegetative state, preventing the plants from reaching maturity and seed head production. Mechanical control of weeds and noxious plants can be a secondary benefit to mowing pastures. Instead of applying chemicals to control weeds and noxious plants, mowing on a regular basis can have a negative effect, thereby reducing the undesirable plant population.

Chain Harrow

The use of a chain harrow to break-up and disperse manure piles is an important management practice. The research demonstrates that one method of controlling the internal parasite cycle is to expose the parasite eggs to sunlight, and extremes in temperature. By doing so, the parasite eggs are destroyed, and therefore interrupting their life cycle. Dispersing the manure piles offers a form of soil fertilization.

One of the psychological elements we must remember is the horse will not graze close to its species feces. Thus, dispersing the manure piles tends to ‘dilute’ the effect of concentrated manure piles, and increasing the grazable forages.

Aeration

Soil compaction, overgrazing, low soil moisture, and heavy soils can be aerated to improve the forage growing conditions. Although the research demonstrates limited benefits under normal conditions, there are many cases where the aeration process, improves the soils ability to provide a productive pasture.

"Let the Experts Do It"

Contact: For Services & Estimates
Wayne G. Hipsley, BSc, MSc
Lexington, Kentucky
859-621-6995 Phone
PasturesPlus@aol.com