Pasture recovery time - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-16-2020, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Pasture recovery time

If I had a well-established pasture, and I allowed the horses to trash it (go in when it's wet, eat the grass, churn up mud, tear up the whole thing), then took them off, how long might I expect it to take for the pasture to recover and re-grow? Obviously it would depend on the weather. Would it depend on the type of grass as well? Like, grass that has a better root system would recover faster? Is it possible that even with decent weather, the pasture might not recover unless I went in and re-seeded?

I'm sure that there are a lot of variables here, but let's imagine the pasture was rye grass, has been completely torn up, then the horses were taken off, and it's now a nice mild and rainy springtime.

Don't worry, I haven't trashed any pastures. I'm just wondering for future planning purposes. I'm wondering what to expect if I ever had to confine them in a small paddock for a while.

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-16-2020, 03:25 PM
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If pastures get thoroughly trashed, it may be helpful to have someone disc it. Then seeding it with benefifial grasses may help.

Avoiding weed growth is paramount.

You're right that it's weather dependent and impacted by the type of grass that is/was there.

If you don't re-seed, it will take longer and minimizing weed growth will be very important.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-16-2020, 04:19 PM
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Speaking from experience - often lived with this when agisting, no control over what happens, and current place was overgrazed when we moved, and I have them on a track mostly, so that gets trashed while I look after the rest of the land. Yeah depends on lots...

Have seen paddocks come back thick & fast in only a couple of months, have seen them take a lot longer, and have seen them come back with little but weeds & require long term careful management - my current place, tho little grazed for 2.5 years I've been here is still very much a work in progress & capeweed & others are a big roblem.

I too would reseed if poss, if it were eye grass or such, with a mix of better grasses(I know many consider the wonderous...)
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-16-2020, 04:26 PM
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Here when a pasture gets thoroughly trashed because of owners not moving livestock fast enough..
Shallow disc the fields and most do liquid seed/fertilize combination done.
Right now some fields are being fertilized "naturally"...putting down well fermented/composted feces of cattle and not sure what else cause it stinks, absolutely stinks.
Pitch black where the spreaders drop the yuck but 10 days later the fields look healthy, deep green in growth occurring but the stench is awful, just awful for a few weeks.
Did I mention it smells bad...

Our grass is extremely fast in reestablishing, but most don't put any animals or anything on that field for about 6 weeks minimum.
I don't see the adult cattle running like horses do, and they follow the leader often just a walk path from field to field seen.
With horses and the churning up they get a strong root base, dependable grass growth and the ground to recover...probably near 3 months of off.

Sure you can put them on it before but being grass is yet sparse and inviting of weeds to move in and take over.
Over grazing any pasture does this and it does take weeks for recovery and stilted recovery if you not fertilize to help it heal.
Once destroying the ground and roots system the horse farms here have the ground lightly tilled, seeded, fertilized, mowed twice before returning horses carefully to that now new pasture content.
Grass really needs to be established in roots to withstand horses, think more established for horses than cattle.
Our soil is a very sandy base and that may make a soil where I grew up was rich, dark colored, heavy dirt in your hand. Here in Florida what they call and consider topsoil I call sand, nearly white sand of the Atlantic Ocean it looks like to me ...big difference.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-16-2020, 05:46 PM
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When there is a strong stench to the fertilizer/manure slurry being spread it usually is poultry or pig manure. Around here a lot of times the poultry manure also has dried blood mixed with it and it is putrid . I personally don't use either. I do use composited cattle manure and hay and spread it with a manure spreader. I also use commercial pelleted fertilizer to but, if horses are on the pasture I keep them off it till we have a good rain. While fertilizing I over seed with rye and fescue. Fescue is very drought resistant and hardy but, if you have pregnant mares on it there is another consideration. I don't breed so it is not as important. Well attended pasture will come back very quickly. Mowing a couple of times a season also will help keep weeds out and if done at the right times will keep weeds from seeding.
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