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Pasture Questions: Sod over manure? Grazing on fertilizer?

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  • Pasture Questions: Sod over manure? Grazing on fertilizer?

    I know there's a thread already that's kinda on these subjects, but I have these specific questions which I need opinions on asap.

    1.) I've used manure to fill holes and depressions in my sacrifice areas. I'm thinking of spreading a layer of sand (that's the soil here) on top of the manure and then laying down sod, which will be fenced off from the horses). The manure is old and so isn't letting off heat any more (at least, not uncovered--will it get hot if I put sand over it?). Do you think the sod would grow roots through the manure, which would range from 3" to @10" deep under the sand layer?

    2.) How long do you have to keep horses off a fertilized field (using 15-5-whatever-it-is)? What if it rains--can you put them back on it more quickly then?

    Thanks!!!
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

  • #2
    Sure, things can grow very nicely over composted manure. Fresh manure even!

    However, manure eventually breaks down, a lot, and if you're using it to fill in a depression, in time the depression will be back because the manure "disappears". Things that compost are worked down to from bigger volumes to much smaller volumes.

    Fertilizing - generally, keep them off until there's a good solid rain that dissolves all the granules.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      I've done the same thing to fill in "holes" in my field, and I put some bermuda grass seed in with it, which really helps hold the manure in place (and also helps it to turn to soil more quickly. I didn't top mine with sand, just sort of mounded up the manure, and toss on the seed. This works better in the rainy season (dang it, where is that rain anyway?).

      You could try bahia seed also, but I found that the bermuda seems to anchor it better, and eventually the surrounding bahia will take over.

      I would think that if you go the sod route, that you will need to water it frequently until the roots start to take.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Ah, yes, I do make sure the manure is 2-3 times higher than it needs to be. Interesting about the bermuda grass. I was planning bahia, but got a little put off when I read you have to cover it with a thin layer of soil--not sure how I'd do that. I'm off to rearch bermuda now. Thanks!

        Also, thanks for the confirmation of grazing after a good rain. That's whatI thought, but wasn't sure.
        Sportponies Unlimited
        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

        Comment


        • #5
          In my experience of over 30 years of applying granulated fertilizers to horse and cattle pastures, there is no need to remove the grazing animals during application or to keep them off the pasture after application.

          I've never done this, and I've never heard of anyone doing this. Just leave 'em on and fertilize.

          You might want to take a little care to keep them some distance from the spreader, as I suppose in theory the spreader could throw the granules in the horse's eye. Never heard of that happening, but I suppose it could happen.
          "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

          Comment


          • #6
            Not trying to Hijack this thread, but does anyone spread manure on thier pasturesd?? I do and I always have a negative stool for the horses. I have recently been told Never, never, never ever do it bad bad management. This is due to parasite infestation, however my horses that travel are on continuex and get regular fecals, all negative.

            RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

            "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

            Comment


            • #7
              Don't let horses graze on a fertilized pasture until a good rain. Fertilizer tastes salt - something they like. Unfortunately, it contains nitrate. High levels of nitrate can kill a horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ok I don't know if this is true or not but..........a BO told me that her broodmare and others at a farm to be bred by AI all got laminitis and founder and died because of fertilizer on a pasture.

                I have never let my horses graze on fertilized pasture until after a rain and was appalled once when at a barn the 3 pastures were all fertilized and then horses were turned right out on it, I grabbed my 2 and brought them in.

                You can broadcast seed and then apply a thin layer of sand/dirt/manure over it and the seed should sprout without the cost of sod. As long as you keep the horses off of it until the roots are well established. Bahia is better than coastal too. Sigh, wish we had timothy growing down south instead of bermuda.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I spread the composted manure on a poor part of our pasture every spring. I've tried all sorts of ways including tilling it in with a tractor rototiller-67" wide. My best results are not to till it in but to spread it with the tiller.
                  I set the skid shoes so the tines are spinning right above the top of the ground and chain the flap on the back with chains I added on the sides so that it is limited to coming 1 1/2" above the ground. I have a dumptruck come and spot it around the poor parts. Then I spread it roughly with the loader so I can drive the tractor over it and come back with the tiller/now spreader. It leaves an even and smooth layer over the ground. The last thing I do is go over it and reseed some Bermuda seed. That part of the ground had already been gone over with a subsoil ripper so the nutrients will go down in the fractures a couple of feet deep.

                  I've gotten some pretty remarkable new stands of Bermuda like this over reclaimed woodland but the droughts of '06 and '07 were a pretty big setback.

                  I make the phonecall for lime and fertilizer after the ripper and just before a nondrenching rain.
                  www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Eventer55 View Post
                    Not trying to Hijack this thread, but does anyone spread manure on thier pasturesd?? I do and I always have a negative stool for the horses. I have recently been told Never, never, never ever do it bad bad management. This is due to parasite infestation, however my horses that travel are on continuex and get regular fecals, all negative.

                    Yes, I have been doing it for the 4+ years that I have been here, and my horses were getting wormed every 6 weeks, and are now on the "worm by fecal results" method, and have been clear for the past year.

                    The first two years I put fertilizer in with each stall load (to break down the shavings), but have since refined my stall management so that I have mostly manure in the spreader (the wet shavings get used as mulch on the fence lines to keep the weeds down). I now put a bit of lime on top of the manure in the spreader.

                    My pastures look 100% better than the weed infested pastures that I bought in 2004. I have also noticed that my horses do not graze where the manure is freshly spread.
                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MikeP View Post
                      In my experience of over 30 years of applying granulated fertilizers to horse and cattle pastures, there is no need to remove the grazing animals during application or to keep them off the pasture after application.

                      I've never done this, and I've never heard of anyone doing this. Just leave 'em on and fertilize.
                      need to be very very careful. As said, typical NPK fertilizer can easily mean a horse ingests too much in the way of nitrates - bad news.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I fertilize about 180 acres of pastures twice a year and have never pulled my horses off when doing it. Bred mares, mares and foals, studs, young stock they all stay on the pastures 40 years 100's of horses 0 problems.
                        Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I prefer not to spread fresh manure on my pastures, and am in the habit of composting it anyhow, so if I have composted stuff left over after I advertise it on Freecycle I will spread it, either in late winter after snow melts and before it gets muddy, or late fall after the horses are off the pastures. But this is more to get rid of extra composted manure than for the benefit of the soil/grass. Since I don't know the composition of the manure (I suppose I could get it tested) I prefer to get the soil analyzed and fertilize based on that so I know the soil/grass is getting what it actually needs rather than what I happen to have lying around.

                          I have filled holes/ruts with old composted manure and overseeded and it seems to do fine, but yes, you do need to mound it up a little or it will settle more than you think.
                          Click here before you buy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are 43,560 square feet per acre. 500 pounds of granular fertilizer per acre is a very heavy application (13-13-13 is common in these parts). That works out to 0.01 pounds of fertilizer per square foot. Yes, that's 1/100th of a pound per square foot. Now, go outside, spread 1/100th of a pound of anything on a square foot of ground and see if it's reasonable that a grazing animal could get enough of the stuff to be harmed by it. You could lace your fertilizer with arsenic and still not do any damage.

                            Anyway, along with operating a cattle and horse farm for over 30 years, I've worked for USDA assisting livestock farmers for 27 years. Never heard of any problems with animals grazing newly fertilized pastures. Never heard any specialist recommend removing grazing animals from a fertilized pasture until it rains. Never heard this even discussed until right here in this thread.

                            In short, if leaving grazing animals on newly fertilized pastures could cause a problem I would have heard about it. I've heard nothing.
                            "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When having fertilizer spread we put the horses in the barn so we can leave all the gates open for the truck to get around easily. After I hand the guy driving the truck a check on his way out, I close all the gates, and let the horses back out. I still like to have it spread as close as possible in front of a moderate rain because if it sits there for days. relying on a days ahead forcast. I worry about what sort of rain will come. We're on top of a hill and a heavy rain is a washing rain. It must be that most farmers who use the fertilizer companies services don't worry about beating a rain as close as I do since I can always get them a few hours before a rain gets here.
                              www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                As MikeP said 500 lbs is a very heavy rate we use 200 lbs in April and again in Aug. there just isn't enough on the ground to be an issue.
                                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Great stuff in this thread. Thanks!

                                  I think I have it worked out. I have a tine harrow that leaves channels in the earth. I'm going to fertilize before the next rain (er, if it ever comes--we're in SUCH a drought here!), and then seed and roll during or immediately after the rain so I can get the seed good contact with the soil.

                                  I do spread manure on my fields, both fresh and also more-or-less" composted" from my run in sheds. I've had them on continuous wormer, but my vet recommended just doing fecals and customizing my worming as a less wasteful and more effective technique. I have found an amazing variance in the worm counts among horses on the very same pastures.

                                  It's interesting, in fact: the older horses have lower counts, the younger ones higher (in general, but not always). Anyone know why that's often the case?

                                  Also, another question: anyone know how long it takes for bahia or bermudagrass to grow strong enough roots to let the horses back onto it again, assuming normal (FLorida?) spring rainfall? Thanks!
                                  Sportponies Unlimited
                                  Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                                    Great stuff in this thread. Thanks!

                                    I think I have it worked out. I have a tine harrow that leaves channels in the earth. I'm going to fertilize before the next rain (er, if it ever comes--we're in SUCH a drought here!), and then seed and roll during or immediately after the rain so I can get the seed good contact with the soil.

                                    I do spread manure on my fields, both fresh and also more-or-less" composted" from my run in sheds. I've had them on continuous wormer, but my vet recommended just doing fecals and customizing my worming as a less wasteful and more effective technique. I have found an amazing variance in the worm counts among horses on the very same pastures.

                                    It's interesting, in fact: the older horses have lower counts, the younger ones higher (in general, but not always). Anyone know why that's often the case?

                                    Also, another question: anyone know how long it takes for bahia or bermudagrass to grow strong enough roots to let the horses back onto it again, assuming normal (FLorida?) spring rainfall? Thanks!
                                    I hear you on the lack of rain! I'm amazed that my bahia is growing as well as it is, just using the overnight dew for moisture.

                                    You and I might have the same vet, she recommended the same protocol to me last year, and we have also found that the older horses are not shedding, but the younger one was. I'm having another fecal run tomorrow, will let you know the findings. My three horses are all in the same pasture also.

                                    No clue on the grass growth rate, I don't keep my horses off, since mine has been spot fixes, and I have not had any problems with the grass growing.

                                    Sounds like you have a good plan of attack.
                                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The traditional rule-of-thumb is 60 days between seeding and grazing. This allows the seedling grass time to develop a root system. Graze it too early and the animals will pull it up, roots and all.

                                      Of course, weather has a bearing on how quickly the grass develops. With spring seeding and good moisture, 45 days could be enough.
                                      "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                                        It's interesting, in fact: the older horses have lower counts, the younger ones higher (in general, but not always). Anyone know why that's often the case?
                                        Immune system

                                        Healthy horses develop a certain immunity to parasites as they mature. That's why with ascarids particularly, if properly dewormed for them as a foal, they are not a problem for an adult horse.

                                        Besides that, some individuals, just as with people, have a naturally stronger immune system, and some are naturally less strong.
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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