Equine pasture and hay management workshop at Hocking College

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Athens Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council will be hosting an equine pasture and hay management workshop from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. April 20 at Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville, Ohio.

Pasture management

This workshop will be covering information on pasture management, pasture soil fertility, forage species selection, tall fescue management, horse nutrition on pasture, manure management, and a pasture walk where plants will be identified and designing a grazing paddock system will be discussed.

The day will end with a hay quality discussion and hay evaluation session. Attendees are encouraged to bring a sample of their own hay for evaluation.

Grazing specialist

Bob Hendershot, retired NRCS State Grassland Conservation and now part-time ODNR-DSWR Grazing Specialist will be leading the discussion. Hendershot helped develop the forage for horses program and has presented this material across the country. This workshop will provide tips to make better use of your horse pasture. Improving the productivity of your pastures can reduce the amount of hay needed. A well managed pasture can provide a large portion of a horse’s forage requirement mid-April through mid-November. Horses grazing well managed paddocks will spread their manure over the pasture instead of in loafing areas or in their stalls. Healthy grass and legume plants are more productive if given the opportunity to regrow in-between grazing events. You can improve forage growth by dividing the pasture into smaller paddocks and rotate the animals among the separate paddocks.

Forage management

Managing the forage is an important concept to understand to protect the environment, soil, water, plants and animals. Weeds compete with forage plants for moisture, sunlight and nutrients. Grazing management can keep most weeds out. Horse owners need to be aware of toxic plants and their control measures. A pasture that is continuously grazed, over grazed, or has inadequate soil fertility can make weed problems even worse. Selecting the right forage species for the use and the soil type can help in providing a healthy pasture.

Horse grazing areas should be long and narrow rectangles because horses tend to graze in a linear fashion different than cattle. The location of animal watering facilities is also a concern in designing a grazing system. This information and more will be discussed at the workshop. Register early to secure a place for the Hocking Valley Horse Forage Workshop.

Registration

Registrations are limited to 50 participants and needed by April 15 by contacting Athens SWCD 69 South Plains Road, The Plains, OH 45780, call 740-797-9686 or 800-582-8890 or email jillmontle@athensswcd.org.

A registration fee of $20 for the first participant from a farm (includes a 400+ page three-ring notebook, pasture stick, weed identification guide, snack and lunch) and a $10 registration fee for each additional participant from the same operation (refreshments and lunch included).

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