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What to Use for Inexpensive Manure Drag and other Pasture Mgmt ?

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  • What to Use for Inexpensive Manure Drag and other Pasture Mgmt ?

    My husband and I have a five acre field in which we wish to drag/break up the manure (have 4 horses). We have a 40 hp Kubota tractor, but want to utilize some sort of drag that is inexpensive, but will break up/spread the manure. What do you all use? Do you keep the horses off the field after the manure is dragged, and if so, for how long? We have 3 other smaller grass paddocks (about 1 to 1/2 acre each) and an 80' x 150' long sacrifice/riding ring. Also, we plan to overseed with pasture mix seed this fall - in late September (we live in NH), which the feed store person told us would be a good time to reseed. The pasture is in great shape. What are your experiences with this?

  • #2
    TRY a 4'( or bigger, depending on you tractor size, etc) section of chain link fencing with a few concrete blocks wired onto it for weight. That's what we're using in our 5+ acre of rocky pasture. We've also used the riding lawnmower to tow it, so it's not that heavy, but does the job.

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    • #3
      The rule of thumb I've heard is you should keep the horses off the field for at least 2 weeks in warm weather after you drag it, so the manure breaks down and parasites in it are exposed to the elements and die. In cooler weather, it might take a bit longer.

      With a tractor that size, you can use a fairly large piece of chainlink fence as a drag (as wide or wider than your tractor). A landscape timber or wood fence post wired to the front edge helps to keep the edges of your improvised drag from curling up and concrete blocks or more timbers add weight.

      You might talk to your local agriculture extension agent before spending the money on seed. Grass seed has to be in contact with dirt in order to germinate, so you have to 1. have bare or sparse patches and 2. rough up the dirt before seeding. Broadcasting seed over a pasture that "in great shape" is probably just going to waste your money. If your grass is in good shape, you might be directed to just add amendments (for pH, fertilizer) at the appropriate times for your area.
      ---------------------------

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      • #4
        We reseeded a 200' by 100' paddock last fall and had wonderful results. The area was prepared by dragging it and breaking up the groud just at the surface. We put down a pasture mix designed for our area plus 100# of whole oats. I covered the seeded bare spots with straw and old hay and the horses were kept off of it until mid-May which meant the new growth had sprouted 6 or 7 weeks earlier.

        I completely forgot about fertilizing it until early May. But I got one treatment on it and the field went from nice to lush, lush!

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        • #5
          I question the mid- to late-September timing of seeding. Check with your local agronomist at the cooperative extension service about that.

          Down here in SE PA, we need to seed in mid-August. My understanding is you want the grass up enough that it's not killed off by frost.

          Also, I would look into cross-fencing your five acres so you can do rotational grazing. We have about 3.5 ac. in grass and 3-4 horses. It's split into 6-7 sections so that I can rotate the horses through each and give the others time to rest.
          Laurie Higgins
          www.coreconnexxions.com
          ________________
          "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."

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          • #6
            Chain link works well for a drag. An old twin bed frame works really well too. We used a couple of cinder blocks to keep it from bouncing (totally hillbilly, I know, but it worked) but it did the trick.

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            • #7
              I am not fond of chain link or a bedframe but I have a 6x6 with hugh long thick bolts screwed in and this works very well. It also tends to arriate (sp) the ground.

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              • #8
                I use the chain link also with cinder blocks attached. It is ugly as sin but it works really well. I hide it behind the barn when not in use.

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                • #9
                  My first drag was a piece of chain link.
                  Then I found a real harrow online for about $300. It's 4' wide, seperates into 2 4'X4' sections. I can drag the whole thing with the tractor or truck and if I take it apart I can use the riding mower to get right into the corners.

                  Horses don't move when I harrow - by that I mean They. Wont. Move!!!! They are not scared of the tractor or truck and just keep eating while I buzz around the pastures.

                  Try to harrow right before a rain, you wont even see any manure afterwards.
                  You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

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