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Herbicide on pasture question-is this stuff safe for horses?

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  • Herbicide on pasture question-is this stuff safe for horses?

    Hi everyone!
    The ranch owner where we board sprayed one of the pastures with Trillion broadleaf herbicide a few days ago. Is anyone familiar with this stuff? It it safe for pasture land? I did not have much luck finding good info on it online. How soon after application is it safe to turn livestock out on it? I want to be absolutely SURE that it is safe to turn my horses out on it before I do it. I need to move horses around and want to use that pasture. He said it's OK to put them on it 24 hours after application, but I'm not so sure... We've had enough horse drama here this past couple of weeks, I don't need anymore for a while!

    Thanks a bunch all....

  • #2
    People differ on pesticide use in general but the directions say safe after it dries. 24 hours should be a good buffer. Do 3 days if you are worried. I wouldn't worry personally and keep my horses on the field when I spray, though I use a different product designed for that. As long as you follow directions poisoning is not the issue people get worked up about. The concern is stuff like long term cancer risk, impact on groundwater, drift, etc.


    • #3
      I have seen a lot of discussion regarding compost and herbicide residue remaining in the compost for years. This then makes for a dead garden where used for three years, so I would recommend mowing rather than a herbicide if you compost your horse manure and bedding.


      • #4
        I tend to err on the side of caution as many of these sprays, the mfgr. says are safe and in such a short period of time when if you really do some deeper research you'll find that they almost NEVER break down and remain in the soil for years and years.

        While they may appear to be safe in the short term, what are they really doing to your animals in the long term.

        I don't use any weedkillers or herbicides on any pastures, i just don't trust the manufacturers.
        "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


        • Original Poster

          If it were my pasture, I would NEVER spray, I would use a weed dragon blow torch. I don't trust chemicals, period. This pasture belongs to our neighbor though, where we board, since we only have three acres here and four horses.

          I AM very worried about the long term health effects, one of my mares already has endocrine problems, and a lot of those chemicals are known endocrine inhibitors, not to mention possible carcinogens.


          • #6
            Trillion is only registered for lawns, not pastures. There is no residual effect from this herbicide, it is a contact herbicide. If there are any noxious weeds in the field, I would keep your horses off the field for a week. The issue is not with the herbicide itself, it is with the sugars that are produced in they dying weeds. Things like buttercup and tansy that are poisonous to horses are more palatable and the ingestion of too much of the weed can make the horses sick. AFter a week, the weeds should be crispy enough the horses won't touch them.

            ETA: Herbicides are fine as long as they are used properly. Also, one of the above posters is correct about using the manure from a field that has been sprayed with a residual type herbicide. It does pass through the manure, so don't put it in your garden or flower beds.


            • Original Poster

              Wow, thanks Saffire__100! That was very helpful information. I will wait several more days before I move them in there then... I think it was mostly dandelions in there.


              • #8
                There seems to be a bit of generalizing going on in this threat based on my experience with pasture, paddock and field management in the mid-Atlantic region, SE PA to be exact. The weeds I mainly deal with are butter cup, plantations, both domestic and the imported large leaf European, carrot/queens lace, horse nettle, thistle and a few other common weeds. While mowing can keep the population down it is very difficult if not impossible for the average person to eradicate a large weed population just by mowing.
                It can be done I would think but has to be time right and depending on the weeds mowed at least once a week. Even with this method it could take several years to get the paddocks they way you want just by mowing. Weeds put out a lot of seeds each year and not all germinate the following year but lay dormant. Especially buttercups.
                2-4-D is the most widely used broadleaf herbicide developed in the early 40’s. It is very effective by itself on most of the above weeds. Especially if timed right and using a proper concentration. Thistle, horse nettle and several other “wood like” stemmed weeds of reasonable maturity may need a mixture of 2-4-D and another herbicide called Clarity to really knock them out.
                2-4-D and Clarity as the label states have no grazing restrictions except for diary cattle, which I think is 7 days. I have applied it from time to time pastures with grazing horses, mares and foals. With absolutely no ill effect just as the label says. Given the fact that 2-4-D has been around so long I tend to trust the label and what other managers have said. If there were major concern and or there have been numerous proven cases where horses have died from it the company would have been sued and possibly put out of business or certainly would have changed its label.
                2-4-D and Clarity have no residual effect on compost when it passes through a horse in manure or urine. The mushroom industry is quite large around here and we are blessed with the fact they pick up our straw muck out and pay us nicely for it. Bad hay also. The mushroom industry allows its use. So, no, compost made from manure of horses that have grazed on paddocks where 2-4-D has been use will not kill your garden. It hasn’t mine nor have any horses gotten sick let alone died.
                Now, there are herbicides that will pass through livestock with residual effect in compost. I believe the brand Grazon is one but don’t quote me. A simple web search will give the brands. Most of which are used out west on really pesky western weeds and the residual effect is not a concern.
                Trillion is mostly made up of 2-4-D as is Pasture Pro. I am not familiar Trillion but I am with Pasture Pro. Pasture Pro is “consumer” oriented, pretty label with horses grazing. But it is just diluted 2-4-D with some other stuff in it and doesn‘t work very well. It is much more cost effective to buy Ag 2-4-D, plan label, 86% strength around $65 dollars for 2 ½ gallons verses 1 gallon of Pasture Pro 35% 2-4-D at around $40 per gallon. I believe Trillion is another version of Pasture Pro. Again, an internet search will get you the label and grazing restrictions. But given the fact it is mostly made up of 2-4-D I doubt there is any.
                Before the nanny police jump down my throat I have read some of the concerns and possible side effects of 2-4-D. Nothing conclusive given the fact it has been in use for over 50 years and is used on most of the worlds corn, wheat, etc. The average person has ingested more 2-4-D then the average horse. I am an old hippy in nature and have been part of the environmental movement long before it was popular. 2-4-D is used judiciously and once the majority of unwanted weeds are gone proper mowing will keep them in check. Though another application maybe warranted in the future. But at a lower “dose”.
                This is all based on my experience with an average Thoroughbred horse population of 40-50. As always to each their own. Believe what you want throw out what you don’t.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by saffire_100 View Post
                  The issue is not with the herbicide itself, it is with the sugars that are produced in they dying weeds. Things like buttercup and tansy that are poisonous to horses are more palatable and the ingestion of too much of the weed can make the horses sick. AFter a week, the weeds should be crispy enough the horses won't touch them.

                  ETA: Herbicides are fine as long as they are used properly. Also, one of the above posters is correct about using the manure from a field that has been sprayed with a residual type herbicide. It does pass through the manure, so don't put it in your garden or flower beds.
                  I completely agree with the majority of your post.
                  But here in SE PA buttercup are the bane of pasture management. April and May just about everywhere you look you will see paddocks, fields of yellow. They are a SOB to control and eliminate. I have read that they are poisonous to horses but have yet to see a dead one in a field. Nor have any of ours gotten sick. When the buttercups get out of control I use 2-4-D, see my previous post, it takes longer then a week for them to get “crispy”. I have not restricted grazing and have not had any problems. This is a very heavily horse populated area and I have not been told of this by any of my fellow horsemen. I understand the premise of what your are saying which holds true with a number of poisonous plants that I have read about. I am not saying that there is no truth to (buttercups) this but based on my experience it would be the exception not the norm. I suppose if the majority of a paddock was covered in buttercups with little else to graze on this maybe be of a concern. Will have to do some “fact” checking. Interesting, we work pretty closely with New Bolton a major horse clinic and vet school. I will bring this up and given the fact buttercups are abundant around here I’ll see what their experience has been.

                  As to the residual effect on garden compost it depends on the herbicide used as I explained my previous post. From what I have been told by the “experts’ and my experience.


                  • #10
                    Gumtree, you are correct that there isn't a grazing restriction on 2,4-D. I just use a week because I have extra pastures and it makes my boarders feel better. We actually normally use Grazon as it is a much better product, IMHO. My hubby worked for Dow and helped bring Grazon to Canada so we are well versed in chemicals.
                    Regarding buttercup, there may be differences between types. The type we have out in Western Canada causes liver issues. It rarely manifests itself but it can definitely be a problem if horses have nothing else to eat. I have only heard of a few cases in my lifetime in my neck of the woods.


                    • Original Poster

                      The pasture that I am talking about is apparently burdened by mostly dandelions. I believe he may have sprayed most of the 1-2 acre paddock with Trillion. I was hoping and planning to move my two and nine year old geldings in there. It is the only field on the ranch that does not have either hot wire or barbed wire. I wanted to introduce these two horses in a field with safe fencing to minimize the chances of someone being run into the barbed wire or electric fence while they sort out the pecking order. The younger gelding came from a farm fenced in barbed wire (as is the norm here), I don't think he's ever been exposed to electric fence.