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Grazing and Pasture

Pasture Bites: August 2016 - Ready, Set, Sow!

August 2016

If you haven’t already started thinking about sowing Summer-active pasture species, start now! Spring will be upon us very soon and that is the time to start sowing Summer-active species, although the exact time of sowing does vary from area to area.  As a guide, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says these species should be sown when day time temperatures have consistently been above 20oC and night-time temperatures about 10oC for ten consecutive days; this generally doesn’t occur in northern inland New South Wales until November or December each year. 

Series: Pastures for Horses


Pastures Bites: July 2016 - Does Pasture Management Pay?

August 2016

All you wanted was a place to keep your horse and, suddenly, you’ve had to learn all this stuff about pasture management! And, what about the expense!  Is it worth it? Does pasture management really pay?  Let’s delve into these questions... An investment in your land Firstly, as a landowner, there is an obligation to maintain your property. Basically, that means preventing erosion and nutrient run-off, controlling weeds, maintaining fences and minimising fire risk. 

Good for the Land, Good for the Horse

August 2016

It’s the height of Summer when I drive up to Brimham Park agistment near Hurstbridge, Victoria. I can’t help but be surprised at the amount of grass that’s still on the paddocks in this picturesque spot, when every other horse property I’ve seen is dry and bare. It’s not witchcraft - just a deep understanding of their land that makes managers Jane and Howard Ashton the competent grass farmers they are. 

June Pastures: Watching Grass Grow

July 2016

Whoever said it was boring watching grass grow didn’t own a horse! Watching the grass grow is an important skill to develop so you can better manage your pasture. You need to know at what time of the year your grass grows fastest, when it slows down, when it dries off. Ideally, you’ll learn a bit about the species that grow well in your area, as well as the legumes and weeds that grow with them. Pasture growth is the result of the interaction between the species present, the soil, the climate and how it is managed.

Renovating Damaged Pastures and Soils

June 2016

The key problem on horse properties is compaction and, in this article, I’ll explain what compaction is and how to recognise it. I’ll provide some practical and integrative solutions for de-compacting soils by means of biological and mechanical management, as well as explain how property design and pasture planning can help reduce these problems in the future. 

Plan Ahead for Better Growth

June 2016

With shorter days and cooler weather, plant growth slows down in many regions. But sunny days and good soil moisture can also provide good growing conditions in some regions.  Good pasture management requires close observation of your local conditions. Monitor pasture growth and mange grazing accordingly. Now is the time for fertilising and liming pastures. Fertiliser and trace minerals

We Are Grass Farmers

May 2016

When we own horses, we sign up to become the caretakers of large herbivorous animals that have adapted to eating a plant-based diet primarily made up of grasses. This is why we, as horse owners, should think of ourselves as ‘grass and forage’ farmers for our horses, even on the smallest of properties.  The more you learn about how plants in general and grasses in particular work, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions about the diet and, therefore, long-term health of your horses. 

April Pastures: Get Ready for Winter

May 2016

In Winter rainfall areas, April brings cooler days and rain (with a bit of luck), while in Summer rainfall areas, it brings cooler, drier days.  Regardless of where you live in Australia, April is about the time to plant cool-season annual pasture plants so, in this instalment of Pasture Bites, that’s our focus. Planting annual Winter pastures

Sub-Dividing Pastures: Advanced Paddock Grazing

April 2016

Most horse owners recognise a horse-sick pasture; the one with poor quality grasses containing weeds, compacted, eroded soils and manure build-up with parasite pollution.  Some think the problem is caused by overstocking with too many horses but, did you know that over-grazing and under-grazing are likely to be the biggest issues?   In this article, Certified Permaculture Designer and Equine Nutritionist Mariette van den Berg explains how a well-planned rotational grazing system could turn your horses from pasture destroyers to eco-friendly land managers and genuine soil builders.


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