1 Penn State University Equine Environmental Stewardship Program In partnership with the Northeast Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program
2 Penn State Equine Stewardship Program Promoting Care of the Horse, the Environment, and the Industry Through Research and Education
3 Mission Statement Due to the continual growth and diversity of the equine industry in Pennsylvania and the increasingly important role that the industry plays in supporting agriculture, the Penn State Equine Stewardship Work Group has been established to provide current, research-based information that is both relevant and timely. The program promotes care of the horse and the environment for the entire industry by providing research and education designed to enhance environmental health, water quality, sustainable farm management practices, and horse health and wellbeing.
4 Module 1. The Grass is Always Greener: Forage Biology and Grazing Management
8 Horses should consume 1.5 to 3% of their body weight in feed each day. At least 70% should be forage!
9 Most horses can be maintained nutritionally on well-managed pastures, if provided with water and trace minerals.
10 Enhances overall health Reduces stress Reduces feed costs - more $$$ for more horses!
12 A well managed pasture can recycle nutrients from dropped manure and reduces the need to deal with manure and bedding from stalls and dry lots.
13 Soil erosion Weeds Water contamination
14 Pasture-related health issues: Excessive weight gain Colic and laminitis Spread of gastrointestinal parasites.
17 Plants that provide animals with nutrition. Plants that supple proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and are high in FIBER!
18 Horse pastures consist of grasses such as timothy, brome, orchard grass, ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue
19 and legumes such as white clover, red clover, or alfalfa. What are legumes?
20 Cool season grasses.. Are the mainstay of most horse pastures. Grow best at temperatures of 65 to 80 F. Growth slows in summer.
21 Species April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Kentucky bluegrass Orchardgrass Reed Conarygrass Alfalfa Red clover White clover
22 Pasture Species Ky. Bluegrass/ white clover Alfalfa/grass Tall grass plus nitrogen Warm-season grass Annual Pasture Yield Acres required to provide forage needs for one animal unit 1 Prod. (T/A DM) Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Low Medium High Low Medium High Low Medium High Low Medium High Based on an animal unit consuming 25 lb dry matter (DM) forage per day with 70% of pasture utilized.
23 April May June July Aug. Sept. White Clover Bluegrass 1 ton / acre Tall Grass (fertilized) 2 tons / acre
25 Non-reproductive stage which has higher nutritional value than mature reproductive stages Why?
26 In early summer, grasses that are not mowed or grazed will develop a seed head. Once the seed head emerges, the grass will not produce additional leaves. Reproductive grasses are lower in nutritional quality than vegetative grasses.
27 Increases nutrition. Reduces weed pressure. Reduces stress caused by mowing when stems are elongating
28 Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass should be maintained at 2-3 inches in height. Tall grasses should be maintained at 4-5 inches.
29 Site of plant food production, which is called Requires: CO2, water, sunlight, minerals, favorable temperature. Produces simple sugars (glucose/fructans) and carbohydrates.
30 During night time hours, the sugars and carbohydrates supply energy for the synthesis of proteins and structural materials used for plant growth. Sugars are used in the process. Energy use and growth ceases when night time temperatures fall below 45. Sugars may accumulate in plants when bright, sunny days precede cold nights.
31 Species Storage Site Alfalfa Tap root Red clover Tap root White clover Stolons and tap root Bluegrass Roots and rhizomes Tall fescue Lower stem (0-3 ) Orchard Grass Lower stem Timothy Lower stem and corms
32 Horses bite off pasture grasses with their front teeth and can graze the pasture at ground level. Forage species that store food above ground can be eliminated if grazing pressure is high. Plants must have time to recover!!!
33 Horses spot graze favorite areas, selectively graze favorite species, and are capable of eliminating plants if pastures are not managed.
34 Exercise area < 1.5 acres per horse Pasture > 2 acres per horse
35 One horse can be maintained on: ½ acre of pasture, if turnout time = < than 3 hr/d 1 acre of pasture, if turnout time = 3 to 8 hr/d 1 ½ acre of pasture, if turnout time = 8 to 12 hr/d > 2 acres = unlimited turnout time Mowing, irrigating, fertilizing, over-seeding, and rotating pastures can allow higher animal densities while still maintaining proper vegetative cover.
36 S W KEY Stable Water
37 Corral S W
38 Corral S W
41 Small enclosure such as a paddock, corral, or pen. Called a sacrifice area because a small area is sacrificed to benefit the rest of the pastures on the farm.
42 During wet conditions During drought Early spring If horse population exceeds carrying capacity of the pasture
43 Site the sacrifice lot on higher ground, at least 100 feet from wetlands, streams, or ponds. Look for an area with a slight slope. Most Importantly Do not locate the sacrifice area in a bowl or depression where water naturally gathers.
44 Is it located close to manure and hay storage for easy daily chores? Do your horses have access to fresh water? Can horses be fed without walking through the sacrifice area? Can you move horses easily?
45 12 x24 is the minimum size for one horse x 100 in length horse can trot x 200 in length horse can gallop NRCS standard is 1,000 square feet per animal unit (1,000 lbs)
46 Cover the area with a layer of stone aggregate topped with a minimum of 2-3 inches of finer stone dust. Slightly slope the area so that water runs off of the stress lot. Surround the sacrifice area with vegetation to filter out any organic matter and sediment that might run off.
47 Reduces urine odor Higher maintenance due to wood breaking down Know type of trees used and avoid Black Walnut and Cherry.
48 Crushed stone (stone dust) original surface- will pack and may be hard, manure can be picked. Gravel - 3/8 to 5/8-6-8 for best results Coarse, washed sand DO NOT feed horses on sand surfaces
49 Geotextile used to separate layers Cover geotextile with 4 to 6 inches of crushed rock (1/4 to 1 ½ ) and a minimum of 2 to 3 inches of stone dust. Can follow by a choice of footing gravel, sand or wood chips
50 Do not turn horses out on lush green pastures all at once. Horses may experience: Colic Laminitis Gradually increase grazing time or use a grazing muzzle
51 It is very important to regularly monitor and evaluate pastures.
53 Provides unbiased, quantitative data on pasture composition and canopy cover. Why is canopy cover important? Used to determine % canopy cover of all plants Used to determine % of plants that supply nutrition
55 Numerical system used to rank pastures as very poor, poor, good, or very good.
56 0-10 = very poor = poor = good = very good
57 1. Grazing value of plants 2. Density 3. Diversity 4. Plant health (vigor) 5. Legumes 6. Intensity of use 7. Uniformity of grazing 8. Plant residue 9. Soil erosion 10. Woody canopy
58 Evaluate your pastures often. Set attainable goals for pastures and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Rest and rotation are critical practices on high density equine operations.
59 Remember..It is much easier to maintain healthy pastures than to repair pastures that have deteriorated.
60 Penn State University Equine Natural Working Group Chairs Dr. Ann Swinker, PSU Equine Specialist Tom Walker, Extension Central CEO Donna Foulk, PSU Northampton County Educator
61 Team Members Helene McKernan, PSU Equine Specialist Nancy Kadwill, Extension CEO Southeast Donna Zang, Extension CEO West Lisa Jones, York Extension 4-H/Youth Pat Comerford, PSU Horse Specialist Andrea Graeff Kocher, PSU Horse Specialist
62 Donna L. Foulk Extension Educator Equine Natural Resources Penn State Cooperative Extension, Northampton County or The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA ; Tel /V, /TTY This publication is available in alternative media on request.
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