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Introduction to Pasture Management. ANSC 110 August 31, 2010. The basics…. Pasture is healthy for your animal Sunshine Room to roam, play, socialize with others Allows for natural eating behaviors Nutritious. The basics…. Properly maintained pasture:

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introduction to pasture management

Introduction to Pasture Management

ANSC 110

August 31, 2010

the basics
The basics…
  • Pasture is healthy for your animal
    • Sunshine
    • Room to roam, play, socialize with others
    • Allows for natural eating behaviors
    • Nutritious
the basics3
The basics…
  • Properly maintained pasture:
    • Can provide adequate energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to maintain most animals
    • A cheap source of feed for your animal
what is a high quality pasture
What is a High Quality Pasture?
  • Characteristics -
    • Dense
    • Diverse
    • Weed-free (relatively)
    • Well-drained
    • Crumbly, porous soil
    • Palatable
advantages of pasture
Advantages of Pasture
  • Promotes normal healthy behavior
    • Providing space for play and exercise
    • Promotes social interaction
    • Reduces development of vices
advantages of pasture6
Advantages of Pasture
  • Reduces likelihood of colic
  • Lowers incidence of gastric ulcers
  • Decreased incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Heaves)
  • Increases bone mineral content in young horses
advantages of pasture7
Advantages of Pasture
  • Can produce 1-4 tons of forage matter/acre/growing season
  • Reduces hay costs by approx. $60-100/month
advantages of pasture8
Advantages of Pasture
  • Reduces fertilizer costs when manure spread properly during year
  • Pasture recycles nutrients from dropped manure
  • Reduces need to manage bedding from stalls and drylots
  • $avings
advantages environmental returns
Advantages – Environmental Returns
  • Reduces erosion
  • Recycles nutrients
  • Supplies land surface for ground-water recharge
  • Provides an aesthetically pleasing environment for rural and residential neighbors
disadvantages of pasture
Disadvantages of Pasture
  • Some weeds, grasses, and legumes contain toxic compounds:
    • Weed examples:
      • Jimsonweed, yellow star thistle,

pokeweed

    • Grass examples:
      • Tall fescue
    • Legume examples:
      • Aslike clover, red clover
disadvantages of pasture11
Disadvantages of Pasture
  • Spread of gastrointestinal parasites
    • Infective stage of parasites shed in feces
    • Optimal conditions for larval development
    • High stocking rates  increased risk of infection
  • Manure management, appropriate stocking density, and deworming important for horse health on pasture
disadvantages pasture associated laminitis
Disadvantages – Pasture Associated Laminitis
  • Condition of the foot characterized by inflammation of the tissues connecting the hoof wall to the major bone of the foot
    • Severe cases may result in rotation of coffin bone
    • High prevalence in overweight animals
    • Hereditary trait in ponies
creating a quality pasture
Creating a Quality Pasture
  • Things to consider…
    • Management of the animals
    • Grazing management
    • Pasture management
    • Timing
    • Utilize your growing season
    • Optimize the stocking rate
horse grazing behavior
Horse Grazing Behavior
  • Time spent grazing varies
    • Weather
    • Forage availability
    • Alone vs. with pals
    • Flies
    • Age
  • Will consume approximately ~ 2 – 2.5% BW in DM on a daily basis
horse grazing behavior15
Horse Grazing Behavior
  • 40-80% time spent grazing
  • 9% of a horse’s time is spent walking
  • 5-10% time spent lying down
    • Primarily 3-4 hours before dawn
  • SELECTIVE GRAZERS
grazing management
Grazing Management
  • Optimize forage available
  • Leave some for later. Avoid overgrazing.
  • Know when to graze, when to rest
  • Grazing Systems
    • Continuous
    • Rotational
    • Strip
grazing management18
Grazing Management
  • Periods of occupation
  • Recovery periods
  • Stocking rate and density
  • Paddock/pasture design
  • Climate considerations
optimize the stocking rate
Optimize the stocking rate
  • Stocking Rate - a measurement of the long-term carrying capacity of a pasture; the number of animals on the entire grazing unit for the entire grazing season
  • Stocking Density - the number of animals on a given unit of land for a specific amount of time (short-term measurement).
pasture management
Pasture Management
  • Obtaining that optimal pasture requires management of the:
    • PLANTS
    • SOIL
pasture management21
Pasture Management
  • Species Selection
  • Pasture Ecology
    • Water requirements
    • Temperature
    • Plant anatomy/growth factors
    • Pest control
pasture management22
Pasture Management
  • Pasture Nutrition
    • Sunlight / Water
    • Nitrogen
    • Potassium
    • Phosphorus
    • Other nutrients required
    • Soil acidity (pH level)
    • TIMING!
timing
Timing
  • TIMING IS EVERYTHING!!!!
    • Seeding
    • Grazing
    • Resting
    • Irrigation
    • Fertilization
    • Climate-dependent
utilize your growing season
Utilize your growing season
  • Different species of plants have different growth curves
  • Variety  healthy pasture year-round
what s coming up
What’s Coming Up?
  • What plants do I want?
  • What plants do I NOT want?
  • How do I get rid of the “stuff” that I don’t want?
  • How do I keep my pasture looking good?
  • Pasture Ecology
  • And more . . .