General Paddock Maintenance

In order to avoid colic in your horses it is best practice to move your horses gradually to fresh pasture.

Turning out your horse into the new pasture for one hour a day at first, and then gradually building up the hours to a full day, will ensure that your horse’s digestive system can become accustomed to the high nutritional content of fresh grass.

Moving a horse into a new paddock too quickly can potentially cause harmful bouts of grassy colic, which can be extremely painful for the animal.

For more information, please read our free guide to paddock maintenance here.

Soil Aeration

At MC Country Services, we recommend that soil aeration is carried out in the spring and early autumn. This allows for improved plant development, ensuring new seeds and roots can develop away from the birds and the elements.

For more information, please read our guide on  maintaining a healthy paddock here.

Pastures that have been heavily compacted by livestock hooves and agricultural machinery, are an ideal case for soil aeration.

When the soil on your pasture is clearly compacted it will not provide the growing conditions required for a healthy sward.

Compact pastures can often be identified when they begin to look bare, and have visible signs of standing water.

Check your soil by digging a spade into the ground. When your spade reaches resistance this means compaction has started.

Ideally, aeration should commence when compaction is up to 15cm deep.

For more information about maintaining a healthy pasture, read our guide here.

Over Seeding

Livestock such as sheep can be returned to the paddock immediately after overseeding has taken place as their hooves help ensure the new seed makes contact with the soil. Sheep can also help in keeping existing grass down to allow the new seed to germinate.

However, it is essential that horses remain off the pasture as they can devastate any new seedlings by grazing and trampling them.

Once over-seeding has taken place, pastures should have between six to eight months rest before grazing continues. If this is not a viable option, it may be best to consider using temporary fencing and over-seeding half a pasture during one half of the year, and half the pasture during the other half of the year, alternating seasonally.

For further information  please read our guide on the importance of over-seeding your paddock, here.

To achieve the best results from over-seeding, at MC Country Services we recommend that pasture over-seeding should be carried out when there is enough moisture in the soil and the soil temperature is above 7c.

The months of March and September are often the best time to re-seed a paddock. However, it is advised to avoid re-seeding in May and June, as these months see increased grass growth which can smother new seedlings.

For further information on the importance of over-seeding your paddock, read our guide here.

Depending on the variety of grass and the conditions for growth, germination time can range between 5 – 30 days.

To ensure the seed can continue to flourish once sewn, it is essential to keep the soil moist and avoid contact with horses.

For further information on the importance of over-seeding your paddock, read our guide here.

Topping

No, it is highly recommended that horses should not be allowed to graze on the pasture until any cut grass and weeds have been completely removed from the paddock.

As topping manages the removal of dangerous plants and weeds, it is important to ensure these are safely removed before the horses are put back to graze.

For more information about topping, read our free paddock maintenance guide here.

Harrowing & Rolling

While it is generally recommended to rest a pasture after harrowing and rolling, there is no evidence that this improves the grazing.

Therefore, at MC Country Services, we would recommend that horses and livestock can be moved back onto the paddock once the procedure has been completed.

For more information about harrowing and rolling, read our paddock maintenance guide here.

At MC Country Services, we advise that harrowing should be carried out in the spring, as this is when you will see the best results. However, early autumn harrowing can also be beneficial for the following season.

For more information about harrowing, read our paddock maintenance guide here.

Plants & Weeds

Unfortunately, brambles are a notorious plant that regrow once cut back.

If the bramble is fully grown, it will need to be dug up from the bramble stump and saturated with a chemical weed killer. This will then cause the bramble to breakdown within six weeks.

As with any rigorous weed killing, it will need to be carried out by a certified specialist who is qualified in using the chemicals required.

For more information about removing plants and weeds effectively, read our guide here.

Weed killers can cause irritation in all living things, from livestock to humans, so it is important that horses are removed from the surrounding area.

Treated areas should be fenced off from horses, and they should only put back onto the paddock at least a week after treatment.

For more information about removing plants and weeds effectively, read our guide here.

Fertilising Paddocks

At MC Country Services, we recommend a strategic fertilisation process to ensure a healthy, and nutritious sward remains all year round.

We spread 80kgs of Suregrow in the spring and early summer, and a further 60kgs from September to November.

For further information on implementing a fertilisation process, read our paddock maintenance guide here.

When you hire MC Country Services, there is no need to remove your livestock or horses from the paddock during the spreading of fertiliser. We use Suregrow fertiliser, which means spreading can take place while your livestock and animals are still in the paddock. Removing the stress of moving them or transferring them to another pasture.

For further information on implementing a fertilisation process, read our paddock maintenance guide here.

While you can spread fertiliser yourself manually, this can be a laborious task if you do not have the correct equipment available. Many off-the-shelf fertilisers will also not have the unique benefits of Suregrow. Such as being able to spread the fertiliser while the horses remain in the paddock.

Therefore, hiring a specialist such as MC Country Services can ensure your fertiliser is spread efficiently and in the most effective way possible.

For further information on implementing a fertilisation process, read our paddock maintenance guide here.