Topics

Fertilizer


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

Hi again, 

Thanks to all of you volunteering to share your experience and education. I am understanding how each situation and horse is unique and how hard that makes all of this caregiving! It sure helps to hear what works for others so I can try for mine. 


I fertilized my pasture last year to combat a new nasty invasive grass that had been encroaching And I didn’t realize it soon enough. It’s not a good fodder. Kills other grass by taking over in my zone. Called Nimblewill. Our University agent hadn’t heard of it so it’s been a journey. I had to kill it off with roundup unfortunately as the only targeted killer is called Tenacity and is not approved for crop or pasture use. Thanks fully only 1/4 of one small paddock/pasture  


So I need to fertilize. I’ve read that IR horses shouldn’t eat fertilized grass. That’s my confusion  


It made the grass grow wonderfully. It is a carefully balanced fertilizer by Midwest Bio Ag and supposed to also enrich my soils. I had soils tested by them to create the blend. 


The horses didn’t graze till late May and early June in moderate amounts then, since fertilizer so successful and grass so long, the four paddocks were robust enough for 24/7 summer graze. As temperature dropped I removed them when necessary and began early morning graze when appropriate. Right now we are only confined  


So, question is- is pasture that has been fertilized somehow riskier and if so why. It seemed to work well, combats weeds without the need for as much herbicide, and feeds animals in a healthy and natural manner giving them mental and physical stimulation  


Thanks in advance for your experiences and suggestions!! I’m learning so much from all of you. 

-- kind regards 
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


celestinefarm
 

Brenda, the concern over fertilizer stems from hayfields being fertilized with nitrogen to increase yield in commercial hay operations. Overfertilization or newly fertilized grass can increase the nitrates in the grass/hay and that is toxic to livestock. A carefully controlled application of nitrogen based fertilizer based on need from a soil test, and horses/livestock not turned out onto it until the resultant plants demonstrate an acceptable level of nitrates ( meaning the plant has used the nitrogen for growth and has been converted)  is prudent. 
--
Dawn Wagstaff and Tipperary   

Saline, MI  2003

Tipperary Case History

Juniper Case history: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Dawn%20and%20Juniper/Case%20history%20Juniper.pdf .


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Fertilizer applied according to soil testing does not make the grass more risky. In fact, it is grasses stressed by poor nutrition that may have higher sugar levels.

That said, overall pasture safety depends on many  things - sensitivity of the individual, sunlight/time of day, moisture, temperature stress, species of grasses/weeds.

Yes, pasture is the natural diet but feral "pastures" bear little resemblance to well maintained and seeded ones where the horse does not also travel double digit miles every day to find food and water.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

Hi Dawn,

First I don't know how that #understandingtrim applied to both my messages. I will try to removed on this reply.

Thanks so much! Super helpful to hear and better understand. 
--
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

Hi Dr. Kellon,

Thank you. I am learning a lot and read your other reply and article link regarding movement, I'll respond there.
 
Very glad to hear that the fertilizer use to maintain pasture health is not  abad idea. Learning the amount they eat given free access (other article you sent today) and the actual need not to have 24/7 food... will help in many ways including allowing more of the pasture to be healthy and not stressed in spots. 

I'll continue to adjust and understand the other information - I'm thinking that even on a sunny winter day when its below 40 degrees fahrenheit, the grasses will absorb the sun and create the sugars but won't release any to grow overnight. So oddly enough, now I want clouds and snow! HA HA. 

THANKS SO MUCH! 
--
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


Firstqualityhay@...
 

Brenda,

Here is a link to an article by Penn State regarding maintenance of horse pasture you might find helpful.

https://extension.psu.edu/downloadable/download/sample/sample_id/2954/

One of the thing often overlooked with respect to soil testing is expected yield in tons per acre.  That drives the recommended amounts of fertilizer required.  You can back into that number by estimating the number of bales you would need to feed/supplement for your paddock multiplied by their weight and divided by 2,000 lbs which gives tons per acre.

When your soil analysis comes back, don’t settle for standard ratios of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash) as in a bag of 10-10-10.  You can buy bags of urea nitrogen 46-0-0, phosphorus, which in our case is DAP diammonium phosphate at 18-46-0, which brings along 18% N along for the ride and Potash at 0-0-60.

The amounts shown, ie 10-10-10 are percent of actual fertilizer in a pound.  So a 50 pound bag of 10-10-10 has 5 actual pounds each of NPK in the bag.  We typically buy separate NPK and make 3 passes, one for each across our fields.  Each field is different and gets a separate soil test, so a one size fits all doesn’t work.  I should think your paddock would be the same.  Fertilizer is expensive and if you can meter the amounts of NPK, you will get the most bang for your buck and be exacting with your soil analysis.

Also do not under estimate the importance of lime and soil ph.  Improper soil ph can inhibit fertilizer uptake too.

Here is a link to a soil analysis form we use from VA Tech for reference.

https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/452/452-124/SPES-174.pdf

Keep in mind, I’m no expert, just a humble haymaker in the VA mountains.  Someone set me straight if I’m getting in the ditches.

Good luck!

Bill

--
Bill J. in VA 2020
FirstQualityHay.com


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

Hey Bill,

Thank you. Lots to absorb there so I shall work on it.  The more I learn the better. My three acres are a weird shape on hills of the Driftless zone in WI and not hayed. If I can no longer let them graze at some point I’ll ask local farmers if the could hay but frankly very few in WI will do small bales. And I’m just human muscle power for all that so large bales or rounds not an option. Anyhow, thanks much. I’ll read and ask if have questions. 
--
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


Cindy Giovanetti
 

Brenda, I have a similar problem.  Before my horse got laminitis, I was hoping to maintain his weight by strip grazing long-stem native grass at the time of night when the sugars were lowest.  Alas, no, he was not able to handle that much grass. 

 

So, now he can’t eat my amazing native grass, and my property is too small to get equipment on to bale it.  I am much too old to do it by hand.  L  It’s a sad waste.  I have to just not think about it.

 

Cindy


--
Cindy, Oden, and Eeyore, North Texas
On ECIR protocol since 2/19
https://www.facebook.com/LifeWithOden/
History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Cindy%20and%20Oden
Photos:  https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=91125


 

Cindy et al.,

There are dealers in the U.S. that sell hay equipment designed for smaller acreage.   We purchased some this year because we were mowing down most of our 8 acres of pasture.  The bales from a mini round baler are 40 to 60 pounds and easy to lift and store.  

Carol Broyles 
Spring Valley,  OH 
August 2007


 

Hi Carol,
Could you please share some links for this sort of equipment?  I’m not too likely to start on that project now although we used to hay many years ago with antique equipment.  I am curious, however.  The last thing we did was to bale up the tarp protecting the baler, at which point we gave it all away.
--
Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

Martha and Logo


 
 


Frances C.
 

Hah! Baling up the tarp is good reason for giving it all up. Oh what things you can find in a bale of hay! Brings back memories of my 90 year old plus neighbor with his 2 stroke tractor (Phut Phut, never to forget that sound.) and his sickle bar, then rolling the bales into the bucket of his tractor. Wouldn't accept any help - loved that old tough devil.
On the questions re fertilizer - since my horses tolerate alfalfa with no problems and having the opportunity of buying commercially grown or a dry land crop, sort of a wild native whose soil has not been disturbed for over 20 years nor fertilized, which would be the best? I try to get the last cutting of the season, 4th for the commercial and 2nd for the wild.
--
- Frances C.
December 2017, Washington & California
Case history: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Frances%20and%20Phoenix
Phoenix's Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=12382


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

Hi Gindy

Great minds think alike. I picked up some Scout Indian Grass seed to plant this fall. Have half a pasture in Reed Canary that’s supposed to be safer late in season and they do like that. I might be able to graze them some if I can be careful on timing. So hard to know. 


I feel the same about the pastures. Maybe time to find a rescue livestock animal that can happily spend years grazing out beautiful horse pastures. 
--
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


Brenda Gasch Mittelstadt
 

That was Cindy. Sorry
--
-Brenda

September 2020, Dodgeville WI USA

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Brenda%20and%20Stormy


 

Here's where I purchased our equipment.   www.tractortoolsdirect.com.  There is a dealer of Caeb equipment in Texas I believe. 

Lots of YouTube videos out there. 

Carol Broyles 
Spring Valley,  OH 
August 2007


 

Thanks, Carol.  I Googled small scale hay harvesting or something similar and found there was an entire new world out there.  I will check out your leads!
--
Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

Martha and Logo