Clarion, Iowa- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is proud to present a horse pasture management program that will be held at the Hancock County Extension and Outreach office in Garner. This program is for horse owners who are interested in improving their pastures. Topics will include identifying your pasture goals, creating reasonable expectations, how to maintain existing and or establishing a new pasture and grazing management strategies.
Stocking rates provide information on how many horses a pasture can carry in a month. In general the approximate pasture needs per average-sized mature horse, with pasture providing most, if not all, of the nutrition is:
- 1 - 2 acres with an excellent, dense sod, permanent pasture
- 2 - 2.5 acres with an average permanent pasture (spring growth will be OK but summer forage is average)
- 3+ acres with a thin, poor sod that is unmanaged (supplemental forage will likely be needed)
Grazing management allows for maximizing pasture use and nutrient availability. The average horse will graze continuously for a few hours, rest, and then continue eating. Horses are selective grazers, or they prefer young, immature plants and will graze some areas down to the bare ground. In other areas of the pasture, they will allow the plants to grow to maturity. Mature plants have lower palatability and nutrient availability. By utilizing management techniques, the quality of the pasture the horse consumes can be enhanced.
Listed below are the decisions required for improving a pasture. Does the pasture need to be renovated, reestablished or can it be left alone? If you renovate, what method will be used?