Equestrian, Agricultural & Amenity Contractors

Paddock Maintenance Specialists

Summer Pasture Management Advice

by Mark Smith - 12th July 2012

The warm and very wet weather so far this summer is giving grass and less favourably weeds, a field day. Simple grassland management can help you get the most out of your grazing now for the months to come.

A very worthwhile method to control your horses’ grass intake while growth is strong is to introduce strip grazing, creating smaller segregated paddocks within larger fields.

Horses are notoriously fussy grazers and it will give you the opportunity to rest and improve the less productive or most popular areas. If you have an abundance of grass which is more than your grazing requirement it is best to keep it topped to around 5 – 10cms during the summer months to prevent it becoming tall, tough and unpalatable. Topping also helps to control weeds where spraying is not an option. This is most beneficial before weeds go to flower and drop their seeds.

Strip grazing will allow you to direct your horses to areas of good grass growth utilising it better whilst allowing other areas to rest. These areas with slower, less vigorous or patchy growth can then be improved through spraying, fertilising and over seeding.

These simple management methods will ensure you do the best to avoid excessive grass intake whilst preparing your fields to give better grazing later in the year when growth slows and cooler and wetter conditions turn the current feast into a famine.

Rotating grazing will help your paddocks develop a stronger and thicker grass sward which will help minimise poaching, prevent weeds taking over and avoids earlier dependence on more expensive bought in forage or compound feeds.

Don’t forget that regular muck collecting decreases the number of harmful parasites and encourage the horses to eat all the grass in the field.

It is also worth taking advantage of the recent warm and wet weather by reseeding any bare patches particularly around water troughs or gateways. Improved grass coverage significantly reduces the potential for weed invasion.

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