Check out these tips from Kitsap County Conservation District about effective pasture management for our "special needs" horses.
A Prescribed Grazing System, will result in an increase in average annual production of forage.
Rotational grazing -- To gain optimal usage from the grass it is important to minimize immediate regrazing of new growth and to utilize pastures as evenly as possible.Rotate livestock to another field while resting the previously grazed field.Turn livestock in pasture when grasses are 6-8” tall and remove animals when grasses are 3-4” tall or after a two-week period which ever comes first.Clip and harrow, if needed, after each grazing period. Clipping maintains grass at an even height and eliminates tall unpalatable grasses and weeds.Harrowing spreads manure droppings and minimizes uneven growth.See attached “LIVESTOCK FEED & FORAGE BALANCE WORKSHEET” for forage provided by pastures and for an estimate of hay which needs to be purchased.
b) Livestock exclusion -- (1) Exclude livestock from wet or ponded pasture areas to prevent compaction and muddiness.(2) Exclude livestock from pastures during rainy season.
c) Nutrient management -- If possible, apply manure in spring of each year evenly to pastures to meet nutrient needs and improve soil tilth. A soil test is suggested to see if any additional fertilization is needed.Remember to subtract nutrient amount applied in manure from amount suggested in soil test. Do not apply manure/fertilizer to open water area.A fall test is recommended to evaluate residual soil nitrogen level to further “fine tune” applications of nitrogen the following years.