? on seeding pasture and maintenance
 
 

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? on seeding pasture and maintenance

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        05-15-2014, 12:02 PM
      #1
    Yearling
    ? on seeding pasture and maintenance

    Hello all!
    I have a few questions regarding pasture care.
    We sorta over grazed our pastures when we moved in 2ish years ago. So we decided to reseed it Oct. 2013. I used a dryland pasture mix which is designed for our area, and meant to not have irrigation, as we don't irrigate.

    I was told to keep them off of it for 2 years, as they can rip our roots, or their hooves cut them up too much. Other than that in the high of winter, they could go on it for a few hours at a time- if we wanted to let them have the space- as the snow and ground frozen-ness would protect it for the most part.
    This winter was very wonky thaw-wise, so they never even touched it.

    So fast forward to now... we have a good bit of green stuff coming in. I can't ID what was the original grass vs. what is seed, but don't care either way.
    We have weed sprayed, might fertilize soon, aside from just trying to do a good job dragging old manure to and fro.

    The grass is about knee high. If they aren't allowed on it to graze it, what do we do now? Do we leave it be, then it dies back in winter and comes back okay again in spring? I see the wild kept fields here do that, and they seem no worse for wear growth wise, come spring.

    Or should we mow it down to a more growth helping length, say 6-8inches?

    I am hoping we can leave it, as our property is FULL of rocks and boulders and old lava flow. The horses really can do a much better job of mowing than we ever could. I also don't own anything but a push lawnmower. Anyone you for several acres with that thing!?

    Thanks for any insight! :)
         
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        05-15-2014, 06:31 PM
      #2
    Yearling
    Do you know what species were in the mix you seeded? Some do better with mowing, others do better when left to go to seed the first year or 2 and every few years.
    I would be inclined to say leave it for this year.
    As for maintaining it, splitting it and rotating sections helps. But no matter what, deferred grazing is always important, that is defering grazing until the grass reaches 6-8 inches in height. You will want to pull them off when the grass gets down to 4 inches. This is not only good for the longevity of the grass, but it also controls the sugar spikes somewhat and is good for the horses.
         
        05-15-2014, 09:09 PM
      #3
    Showing
    If the ground is dry enough put the horses on it. If it goes to seed it will stop growing.
    stevenson likes this.
         
        05-15-2014, 09:15 PM
      #4
    Yearling
    Okay, so I need to call Big R to find out the specifics on our combo, but here is one I found online, for the Great Basin area, which I think this is, right?
    Crested Wheatgrass
    Orchardgrass, Paiute
    Meadow Bromegrass
    Dahurian Wildrye
    Thickspike Wheatgrass
    Alfalfa

    I am with you, I think, Karlie... in leaving it to do as it will. I just didn't know if it would just leave the old plant laying on the ground at the end of the season, and grow new again come spring. Lol
    Saddlebags... I was told to not let them graze, as they will pull the roots out, dry, wet, whatever the ground is... I would think that to be more important to be careful of than it going to seed, right?

    Karlie, I do plan to be MUCH more careful in our future grazing. We had so much going on when we moved in, and most of the pastures was 3ft tall wild flower stuff anyhow, so we didn't have a clue what to do! I REALLY need to pay attention to the 3-4inch rule... so important for good pasture health! And even the yard! I had to get after my DH because he trimmed the yard to short... tisk tisk... more work for the plant!

    Thanks!
         
        05-15-2014, 10:01 PM
      #5
    Green Broke
    How big are your pastures, OP? I agree that you need to watch for root damage until the plants are well established; however I think that if your grasses have reached knee height, it won't hurt to let your horses out for short periods to graze. If the grass is still quite green, the horses will tend to bite off the upper portions leaving the stems close to the root alone. When pasture grass gets too old (ie not growing), the horses tend to leave the top stuff and hunt for new growth at ground level putting the roots at more risk - so you'll need to watch for that happening and keep them off the pasture at that point. If you keep them off the pasture entirely and don't mow it, the grass will come back next spring. If you keep them off the pasture and do a mow with the grass being as tall as it is and don't pick it up you can leave quite a bit of debris which may block growth (kind of like putting mulch down around shrubs - blocks the sun and prevents new growth) - the grass will still come back but may not be as thick.
         
        05-15-2014, 11:01 PM
      #6
    Yearling
    Nice mix! Don't be surprised if the horses go after the orchardgrass and brome, and leave the thickspike and the crested wheatgrass. Smaller roatational pastures will make for more uniform grazing. Crested Wheatgrass should help substantially with the soil stability once it is well established.
         
        05-15-2014, 11:05 PM
      #7
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karliejaye    
    Nice mix! Don't be surprised if the horses go after the orchardgrass and brome, and leave the thickspike and the crested wheatgrass. Smaller roatational pastures will make for more uniform grazing. Crested Wheatgrass should help substantially with the soil stability once it is well established.
    I can only hope then that those are the grasses in it! Lol I just pulled that from some company's page... I need to call Big R and ask what is in their mix. I just know it is meant for local pastures, and meant to survive being non-irrigated.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chevaux    
    How big are your pastures, OP? I agree that you need to watch for root damage until the plants are well established; however I think that if your grasses have reached knee height, it won't hurt to let your horses out for short periods to graze. If the grass is still quite green, the horses will tend to bite off the upper portions leaving the stems close to the root alone. When pasture grass gets too old (ie not growing), the horses tend to leave the top stuff and hunt for new growth at ground level putting the roots at more risk - so you'll need to watch for that happening and keep them off the pasture at that point. If you keep them off the pasture entirely and don't mow it, the grass will come back next spring. If you keep them off the pasture and do a mow with the grass being as tall as it is and don't pick it up you can leave quite a bit of debris which may block growth (kind of like putting mulch down around shrubs - blocks the sun and prevents new growth) - the grass will still come back but may not be as thick.
    It is about an acre, the other, about 2, I believe. So there really isn't much chance of them pulling roots out? When we take them out to ride, and let them graze there, it is all established, and they pull out probably 50% of the roots in what they grab. And these are in non-cultivated areas, all the same length roughly as our pastures. . So that is what worries me. :) I totally hear you on if I were to cut it and not remove it. I definitely did not want to do that.
         
        05-15-2014, 11:15 PM
      #8
    Trained
    I seeded our pastures with the dryland pasture mix about 15 years ago. We plowed and seeded in the fall. The following summer, it was good and thick enough for horses to graze on. We just finished plowing the bottom pasture again,as various weeds and wild rose bushes were coming in, also the ground needed to be aerated anyways, not bad for 15 years of grazing. I think next year after the snow melts and the grass starts growing, it will be ready for grazing. I have 10 acres, separated in to 3 pastures, the other two seem to be fine.
         
        05-15-2014, 11:25 PM
      #9
    Green Broke
    Since you are in a high moisture area, I would not mow and leave forage on the ground.
    Can you get it mowed, dried and baled for winter use ? Then next year you will have the pasture for grazing, and still get some use from it ?
         
        05-16-2014, 12:59 AM
      #10
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by waresbear    
    I seeded our pastures with the dryland pasture mix about 15 years ago. We plowed and seeded in the fall. The following summer, it was good and thick enough for horses to graze on. We just finished plowing the bottom pasture again,as various weeds and wild rose bushes were coming in, also the ground needed to be aerated anyways, not bad for 15 years of grazing. I think next year after the snow melts and the grass starts growing, it will be ready for grazing. I have 10 acres, separated in to 3 pastures, the other two seem to be fine.
    Huh... Interesting. I did a bit more research just now, and only could find something from the you. Of Utah, it said keep off for 2 years... but they are even drier than us still lol.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevenson    
    since you are in a high moisture area, I would not mow and leave forage on the ground.
    Can you get it mowed, dried and baled for winter use ? Then next year you will have the pasture for grazing, and still get some use from it ?
    I don't think we are in a high moisture area, comparatively speaking to the rest over here. We are in the desert-ish area to the west of Spokane. Or I think this is what everyone tells us. Lol We aren't from here, so we are still learning the geography and weather. I had assumed there was a reason that we did dryland seed... in part because our rainfall isn't enough to support it?

    I think as a semi-compromise, I might try them out on it tomorrow for a bit, and watch to see what they yank up or not. Oh, and as to my previous thought on them yanking up the wild fields when our riding.. my husband says it isn't 50%... so who knows! I just know that it happens frequently enough to note. :)
         

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