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Renovating Horse Paddocks, what's involved?


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presented at a Horse SA event by Andy Cole

Why not find out more about the work of Horse SA and also check out future events and webinars

This project is jointly funded through Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board levy, HorseSA and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme

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Renovating Horse Paddocks, what's involved?

  1. 1. Renovating Horse Paddocks What’s involved?
  2. 2. Land Management Advisory Service Andy Cole Land Management Consultant (16 Years Consulting for Small Landholders) Contact: 0437 299 268
  3. 3. CONTENT Steps to re-seeding pasture (renovation) Soil testing & fertilisers Weed control Selecting pasture mixes Are native pastures appropriate? Preparing ground for sowing After sowing Grazing strategies and ground cover
  5. 5. ESTABLISHING NEW PASTURES A two year program Assess the quality of pasture before deciding. Year 1 Soil test in Summer / control weeds / lime the following Autumn if needed. Control red-legged earthmites. Year 2 Graze down pasture to 3cms in Autumn. Spray with glyphosate and re-seed after opening rains. Shut up paddock and wait for grasses to seed before grazing
  7. 7. SOIL SAMPLING Randomly sample the paddock and collect 400g of soil for laboratory analysis
  8. 8. SOIL TEST - EXAMPLE Pasture in 750mm rainfall area, average stocking rate 10 DSE/ha, not used for hay, unknown fertiliser/lime history. Sandy loam soil, no major constraints to root depth. Note: Phosphorus buffering index is used to more accurately determine phosphorus requirements. PBI for this sample is 110 with a critical Colwell P value of 34mg/kg . Result Interpretation Target level pastures Recommendation pHwater 5.6 Acidic pHCaCl2 4.7 Acidic 5.2 – 5.5 Apply lime Ext P 20 mg/kg Low 25 – 45 Apply P Ext K 150 mg/kg Adequate 120 – 250 Ext S 9 mg/kg Marginal >10 Apply S Ext Cu 0.4 mg/kg Low 1 – 2 Apply Cu Ext Zn 1.5 mg/kg Adequate 1.2 – 2 Ext Mn 15 mg/kg adequate 10 - 50
  9. 9. FERTILISERS Nutrient analysis “language” Percentage of major nutrients: N : P : K : S eg. DAP 18 : 20 : 0: 1.6 N = Nitrogen P = Phosphorus K = Potassium S = Sulphur
  10. 10. TYPES OF FERTILISERS Conventional - mostly water soluble, readily available to plants Base fertilisers N:P:K:S eg. superphosphate 0:8.8:0:11 triple super 0:20:0:0 DAP 8:20:0:1.6 urea 46:0:0:0 sulphate of ammonia 21:0:0:23 muriate of potash 0:0:50:0
  11. 11. TYPES OF FERTILISERS Organic Examples: Blood and bone 5:5:0:0 Fertico organic 3:4:2:3 Neutrog Rapid Raiser 4:3:1.5:2 Manures vary
  12. 12. TYPES OF FERTILISERS N P K S Ca Mg Cu Zn Mn % % % % % % ppm ppm ppm SHEEP 1.70 0.80 0.63 0.24 2.74 0.58 25 286 144 COW 2.49 0.47 1.34 0.28 2.99 1.38 18 73 377 PIG 3.50 3.00 1.04 0.28 4.79 0.79 92 72 320 FOWL 6.10 2.24 1.40 0.45 8.30 0.77 42 371 367 Composition of manures (variable)
  13. 13. WEED CONTROL
  14. 14. BROADLEAF ANNUAL WEEDS Capeweed Salvation JaneGeranium If necessary spray with a selective herbicide in late May early June - e.g. Tigrex or Agtryne MA
  15. 15. Capeweed sprayed with Tigrex in early June - clovers not damaged Capeweed BROADLEAF ANNUAL WEEDS
  16. 16. If recommended spray with a selective herbicide in Late July - August e.g. Brushoff, Dicamba/MCPA Catsear (Flatweed) Dock BROADLEAF PERENNIAL WEEDS
  17. 17. ANNUAL GRASS WEEDS Barley grass Silver Grass Graze in Spring to avoid seed set. Could ‘Spraytop’ in spring or ‘Winterclean’ in autumn
  18. 18. PASTURE PESTS Lucerne flea Lucerne flea damage Redlegged earthmite In severe cases chemical control may be necessary. Dimethoate and Le-mat are options. Timerite website (
  19. 19. In severe cases chemical control may be necessary. Fastac duo is one option. May - June best time to use. Pasture cockchafer Pasture cockchafer damage Pasture cockchafer tunnel PASTURE PESTS
  21. 21. Annual Brome (March) Phalaris - perennial (March) ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS
  22. 22. Cocksfoot Perennial ryegrass PERENNIAL PASTURE PLANTS
  24. 24. Veldt Grass – Kangarilla PERENNIAL PASTURE PLANTS
  25. 25. White clover PERENNIAL PASTURE PLANTS
  26. 26. Subterranean Clover ANNUAL PASTURE PLANTS
  27. 27. Subterranean clover burrs and seeds ANNUAL PASTURE PLANTS
  28. 28. Short term Italian Ryegrasses are commonly sown with a medic in low rainfall area < 450mm p.a. ANNUAL PASTURE PLANTS Tetrone Italian Ryegrass Barrel Medic
  29. 29. Example: Non Irrigated Perennial Pasture (650+mm p.a.) On heavier soils such as loams or clay loams, a mixture of perennial ryegrass, cocksfoot and subterranean clover is traditionally used. The following pasture is suitable for high rainfall areas of the Mt Lofty Ranges: - Perennial ryegrass @ 15kg/ha (Ausvic, Bronsyn AR1, Avalon AR1), - Cocksfoot @ 5kg/ha (Porto) - Subterranean clover @ 5kg/ha (Goulburn, Trikkala, Denmark, and Seaton Park). PERENNIAL PASTURE - HIGH RAINFALL
  30. 30. There are a range of different mixes. The following are examples to sow. Example 1 Oats – Wallaroo 40kg/ha Tetrone ryegrass – 17kg/ha Medics (Parabinga, Parragio and Caliph) – 5kg/ha Example 2 Oats – Wallaroo 40kg/ha Tetrone ryegrass – 17kg/ha Clover –Balansa – 3kg/ha ANNUAL PASTURES (LOW RAINFALL 350 - 450MM)
  31. 31. Example 3 Annual ryegrass (e.g. Tetrone or New Tetila) – 20kg/ha Clover – Balansa – 5kg/ha Example 4 (self regenerating ryegrass) Annual ryegrass 10 to 15kg/ha (Safeguard) Medics 5kg/ha Lucerne 2kg/ha ANNUAL PASTURES (LOW RAINFALL 350 - 450MM)
  32. 32. ‘Safeguard’ annual ryegrass is recommended as a self regenerating vigorous variety which is resistant to annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT). Safeguard ryegrass will crossbreed with the local ryegrass species such as Wimmera, to produce ARGT resistant seeds which germinate the following year. This has been developed for the drier regions of South Australia and has excellent winter pasture production and is resistant to the root disease Take-all. SAFEGUARD ANNUAL RYEGRASS (LOW RAINFALL 350 - 450MM)
  33. 33. On small horse properties kikuyu is a suitable pasture provided it is managed well. Some irrigation over Summer is beneficial. Late Spring, Summer and early Autumn are the main growing season. It will tolerate a range of soil types (both alkaline and acid), and can be established by runners. Best established by seed sown in Spring. A suitable sowing rate is 2kg/ha. If a legume is required use Balansa clover or Strawberry clover. KIKUYU FOR SMALL PROPERTIES
  34. 34. Weeping Grass (Microlaena stipoides) Is a highly-competitive C3 species (winter active) that responds well to increased fertility and moderate-to-heavy grazing. Production: 1.7 to 7.4 t/ha. Crude protein 10 to 27%. Wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma spp. - previously Austrodanthonia spp.). Wallaby grasses are amongst the most valuable C3 grasses due to its persistence and productivity. Production: 1.8 to 7.8 t/ha. Crude protein 10 to 25%. Digestibility 45 to 82%. COMMON NATIVE GRASS SPECIES
  35. 35. Wheat grass (Elymus scaber) This is a tussocky cool-season C3 perennial grass which grows early in spring and is generally a minor component of most pastures. Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) This grass is one of Australia’s most widespread C4 species (summer active). A drought-resistant, deep-rooted, warm-season perennial grass. Production: 1.6 to 8.3 t/ha. Crude protein 5% (winter) to 17% (summer). Digestibility 45 to 75%. COMMON NATIVE GRASS SPECIES
  36. 36. Red Grass (Bothriochloa macra) Red grass is a warm-season C4 perennial grass that forms a prostrate tuft of basal leaves with numerous wiry stems. Leaves are usually reddish or purplish in colour. Highly nutritious leaves are readily eaten when green. Windmill grass (Chloris truncata) Windmill grass is a short lived (2 to 3 years) C4 perennial grass which makes good growth in spring and responds well to improved soil fertility and grazing. COMMON NATIVE GRASS SPECIES
  37. 37. Wallaby grass and Windmill grass pasture. December 2015 Pt Augusta COMMON NATIVE GRASS SPECIES
  38. 38. Most native grasses will respond to fertiliser applications. Do not over fertilise. Often, application rates can be half the rate recommended for introduced pastures. Soil test to determine actual requirements. Most of the evidence to date suggests that liming is NOT cost beneficial . NATIVE GRASS FERTILISER REQUIREMENTS
  40. 40. Use a non selective herbicide after the opening rains in autumn to kill the old pasture. For example glyphosate. ESTABLISHING NEW PASTURES
  41. 41. Prepare a clean seed bed before sowing a new pasture ESTABLISHING NEW PASTURES
  42. 42. DIRECT SEED NEW PASTURES Minimum disturbance
  43. 43. DIRECT SEED NEW PASTURES Minimum disturbance
  44. 44. NEW PASTURES CAN BE HAND SEEDED With small paddocks it is possible to hand seed. Clean paddock of high grass and thatch. Spray out weeds in autumn. Lightly harrow to disturb surface few mm of soil. Use a chain or old gate etc. Hand spread seed and fertiliser. Drag chain or weldmesh sheet behind a four wheel drive.
  45. 45. AFTER SOWING
  46. 46. AFTER SOWING Shut the paddock up and do not graze horses. A light mow at strategic times will help to thicken pasture. Alternatively graze sheep for a short time. Allow perennial grasses to flower and set seed before grazing (or slashing). Do not cut hay from a first year pasture.
  47. 47. Cocksfoot – January after sowing ALLOW PERENNIAL GRASSES TO SEED
  48. 48. INTEGRATED CONTROL OF WEEDS Use a number of management techniques and don’t just rely on chemicals: - soil test & add fertilizer and lime acid soils - rotationally graze (12cms to 5cms) - do not overgraze (avoid bare patches) - oversow with pasture grasses & legumes - rotate hay paddocks to avoid a build up of annual grasses - use low toxicity herbicides if necessary
  51. 51. 70% cover will minimise the risk of erosion and soil loss. GROUND COVER
  52. 52. ROTATIONAL GRAZING MEANS PADDOCKS ARE RESTED Overgrazed plants take longer to recover and do not maximise production At 12cms GRAZE At 4 to 5 cms REST 12cms
  53. 53. STRIP GRAZING Strip grazing is ideal using electric tape
  54. 54. CUTTING HAY
  55. 55. CUTTING HAY Soil test in summer. Control annual weeds in autumn. Remove horses in late August. Apply nitrogen and potassium fertiliser as required (refer to soil test). Usually 20kg/ha of nitrogen is beneficial. Cut and bale in late October early November depending on the season.
  56. 56. Andy Cole - Consultant Land Management Advisory Service M: 0437 299 268