Building first farm - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 12:14 AM
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Why a 2 stall barn if you plan on having 3 horses? Now I am not a fan of stalls and mine stay out 24/7/365 but having lived in the south, the bugs can be brutal and a dark stall is the only place they can get away from them and maintain their sanity. In the heavy rainy season, you will want to restrict their access to the pastures to protect it as well. Their hooves will cut up a wet field in a few days and it can take years to come back. You also need to budget a "sacrifice" area typically attached to the barn where you can lock them up when necessary. You are not going to get away from providing hay. Might only be 30% depending upon how much land you dedicate to them, how it is managed, the variety of grass and the stocking rate. Budget at least 1 ton per horse per year. 2 ton would be more realistic. Grass grown on sandy soil will require tons more water than other soils. It is also easier to be ripped out of the ground and requires more time to get established because you need more roots to hold it in the ground. If you are planting traditional southern grasses like bermuda, budget lots of extra money for fertilizer. You will get decent yields but it requires over 200# N (that's available N) per year. You can and should amend the soil with any manure you generate but that only will contribute 20# N per ton (dry).

I would take a very conservative approach. You think the land can support much more than it can. If you think the land can produce X, budget that it can only produce 1/2 X. Your neighbors and extension office are your best source of relevant information for your specific situation. If you overestimate what you can do with the land and don't plan accordingly, you can spend years and lots of extra $$ correcting the damage that was done in one short season.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I am changing the plan to have a 5 acre main pasture and a 2 acre relief pasture. The cows were just an idea. I am not that upset if I don't get any.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 08:21 AM
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We have 5 horses on approximately 4 acres of pasture. It IS doable. But. I have 4 different sections that I'm able to rotate them on. They spend about 3 weeks in each section. I never let them stay on it until it's eaten to dirt...I will pull them off to recoup. It grows back right away and we have no irrigation system.

I do have to feed hay in the winter. We are in Michigan and grass doesn't grow under snow.

Once I pull horses off a section, I rake the poop out so it's not in certain areas only. And then I'll mow it so it's all one length and all the weeds don't take over. It took me years to learn this. But it works. I feed no hay from May through October and my horses are all very healthy. And 2 have to be dry - loted due to fatness.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 09:25 AM
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I would consider dividing into three pastures to rotate through so you have 2,2 and the 3 acre you are sprigging. With 20 acres though you have the acreage so I would actually do four. The one you sprig can be left until spring and then each year thereafter take the worst and rehab it in whatever manner is necessary. What are you doing with the balance of the land? ETA and yes, Talk to neighbors and your county agent. They will know your soils and the best varieties of grass for your area.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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We'll my garage, driveway and house is spread out on about 1.5 acres. 4 acres is zoned wetland. Then I have 5 acres of planted coconut palm trees that were there when I bought the property. I don't really want to rip those out for a couple years till they are big enough to sell.

I believe the 5 acres is enough. Where I keep my wife's horse is on 5 acres down the road. There is total of 3 horses there. We have never killed that pasture. Never needed to hay. I am in south florida. Temp very rarely gets under 60 and we get rain all year round. I really believe the 5 acres plus a relief pasture will be more then enough.
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-18-2014, 11:05 AM
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The 5 and 2 should work great. I have 3 horses on almost 7 acres right now, and have had 4 on it before. We have never had to rotate or muck the pasture and it does fantastically. We just have to mow it. I honestly couldn't see them going on any less land than that though, maybe because I see how much fun they have running about and playing :) but yes, I think the 5 acre should work. Keep in mind though, I'm in Kentucky, so the land is sort of built to handle horses I know nothing about Florida, so you may have a harder time since I believe it's quite rainy down there.

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post #17 of 17 Old 06-21-2014, 08:54 PM
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My neighbor has part of his property set aside for hay. He also travels down the road and has an agreement with some local landowners to bale their lots.

Might be an option if you'll have any unused land, might be able to find someone to bale it for you, or bale it to sell.

Just an idea..
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