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Anyone every put a barn/pasture/ring on top of recently tilled pasture?

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  • Anyone every put a barn/pasture/ring on top of recently tilled pasture?

    The (seemingly) never-ending farmette search continues. Today we saw a place that is a house surrounded by 14 acres of recently tilled farmland which, for the past few years, has been planted bi-yearly with cucumbers and sweet potatoes. The land was literally just tilled and not yet planted.

    I am wondering how long it will take grass to grow if we fertilize/seed part of the land. Can the horses be ON the land while that's happening? How long between when the grass seed is planted and they can go on?

    In my brain, I am thinking this is IDEAL site prep for a barn and riding ring-- it just needs to be graded on top, but maybe that's just a layman's misunderstanding. Tilled land sure sort of LOOKS like footing I wasn't planning to be able to afford to put in a ring/footing immediately-- but am I in a position to do it cheaper if I start with tilled land versus well-established grass?

    Anyone ever done anything similar and have thoughts to share?

    And then the dumb question... if I keep a bunch of adjacent acres for farmland, are routine farming activities going to freak out my horses? I am imagining one of those GIANT water cannons going down the rows and watering my horses in their pasture along with the crops
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"

  • #2
    Our place was farmland when we purchased. He harvested late June/early July then came back then end of August and sprayed round-up. He then planted our pastures. Ideally, horses should be off for the first season so the grass can get established.

    They came in and had to excavate/level for the barn, so the ground condition didn't matter

    We have 20+ acres farmed and the horses look at the equipment but give it little bother. We don't have irrigation next to the field, but seeing they desensitize to planes (ours ignore our neighbors ultralights that fly over them), trains and what not, I would think it would get boring quick
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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    • #3
      The fact that it is tilled shouldn't make a difference for building anything. Getting down to dirt is not one of the expensive parts of building an arena. It's great if it's pretty level though!

      We just redid several pastures. The grass grew in within a few weeks of sowing, but the conditions were good (nice amount of rain). The experts have told us that you must wait 2 months before you let horses graze on it. This is so the roots can become well established. After that, they recommend not mowing it any shorter than 5" so the horses don't rip the roots out when they graze.


      • Original Poster

        LOL, at least tell me it'll be easier to sink the fenceposts in!
        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


        • Original Poster

          Super level


          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


          • #6
            For building, agreed, it won't matter, as it will need to be leveled and compacted with equipment anyway. For pasture or riding use, it will need to settle and rest while vegetation is established. It depends on your soil type and moisture -- some places that are tilled deeply for crops here will need to settle for a year before horses won't jab holes in it and sink. Some will be ok after a few months. I'd talk to your extension office.

            ETA -- you don't want to ride on tilled soil, it will be way too soft and it will turn to muck and erode away, it's extremely unstable. Established turf is far far far better for regular riding.
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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            • #7
              In regards to your second question, I was scared when I saw the huge harvester(?) in the field next to my horses. It was two stories high. I'm fine with city cranes 30 stories high,I'm a mostly city girl, but that combine was huge, and on a hill, all I could think was its going to topple over and the horses are going to go crazy when they see it.
              My horses, originally from the burbs, pricked their ears and went to the fence line to say "hi". Since they've had a couple of years now seeing it, they are fine with it. Me, it was the first time.


              • #8
                Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                LOL, at least tell me it'll be easier to sink the fenceposts in!
                LOL, not really, the soil should not be tilled that deep...


                • #9
                  For any foundation for any building you must go down to undistributed ground.

                  When we built our riding ring we had to cut and fill .....the fill settled for two years (mainly because we had no money to finish) once we decided to go ahead and complete we had a big paving roller come in and roll the ground and the double layer base we put down.



                  • #10
                    No thoughts on the the first part of your post, but your horses will get over it. My gelding can be nutty, and nothing has been better for him than being pastured with and near cows, having the tractors going by his field every day in the summer, and even the kicker baler spitting out bales in the hay field right next to his pasture. They get over it. We used to live next to a railroad track that used freight cars and Amtrak - the first few times, holy moly! Glad I wasn't riding him when it went by...but after that, they never picked their heads up when they heard it coming. Old news.
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                    • #11
                      I can't comment on the suitability of tilled land, as I have no experience with that. I do have some thoughts for you, however, particularly since we just put in a 110 x 210 riding ring.

                      First, I can tell you that unless you are capable of doing some of the work yourselves, it's damn near impossible to do a ring on the cheap. The excavation and grading are very expensive, and because they are probably the most important aspect of your ring, they need to be done right. If the slope is wrong, your footing will never be right. (And re footing: start with less than you think you will need. I put down 2" of sand and it is more than enough.) I would imagine that starting w/tilled land vs other won't be of any particular benefit.

                      Second, you would likely have a hard time getting grass to grow at this time of year. Planting really needs to be done in the spring or fall. Once the seed is down, the horses cannot be on it for several months. I know they say two months, but I'd allow closer to four to really give it a chance. Horses are so hard on their pastures - you will be surprised.

                      Third, you will be surprised how adaptable your horses are. They will not be bothered by farm equipment, and you will probably find that you worried far too much about them while boarding (I know I did!). I treated mine like delicate flowers / children. I don't anymore! lol

                      Last, expect pretty much any project you do to cost more than you thought it would and go over budget. I am of the opinion that at the end of the day, what you save in board, you spend on your property in maintenance / improvements / repairs. The rest goes to your hay and bedding suppliers. It's great having the horses at home, but it's a lot of work and the farm will be of considerable expense.


                      • #12
                        I'm the last person to ask about putting in pasture on former fields (even though that's exactly what my barn, paddock & pastures are built on).
                        Fields had been farmed the Summer before I bought the land, I just declined to renew the lease and had my barn built & fencing put up the following Spring.

                        If you heed the good advice here about establishing a pasture you s/b able to put horses on it by Year 2.
                        Or, like me, you can let them have at it right away and spend the next 8 years waiting for grass to get established to where I feed barely any hay as long as there's grass.

                        As for the equipment problem - it's not.
                        My pasture is right next to a filed still in use and the tilling, planting, dusting, harvesting, etc do not bother my horses a bit.

                        A neighbor makes hay from the narrow L-shaped field that surrounds my pastures - literally right along my fenceline - and the horses ignore the tractor, rake & baler as well as the team-effort to load the baled hay onto wagons.

                        When I mow the pastures on my little riding mower they follow me hoping for the cuttings.
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015