Rotational grazing, also referred to as planned grazing, is an excellent way to keep your horses healthy. The act of dividing pastures into separate, small areas and grazing horses that way comes with a multitude of benefits.
Rotational grazing increases pasture productivity while preventing soil compaction and overgrazing. One crucial aspect in the importance of equine health is a healthy grass plant. These plants need approximately 3 inches of leafy material for optimal and expedited regrowth. Even grazing allows these pasture plants to grow and allows for the bio-filtration of nutrients from waste, sediment, and chemicals. Managing pastures is important for high quality and quantity of grass and plants. Rotational grazing also minimizes the risk of your horses ingesting toxic weeds. Taking the following steps will assure that you achieve proper rotational grazing:
1. Assure that grazed grass is no shorter than 3 inches. The bottom few inches are home to the energy collecting area of the grass, which is imperative for rapid regrowth. This also means the most sugars lay here, making it less healthy for the animals. Rotate horses once grass is down to this level.
2. Use permanent fencing to separate the different grazing areas. Beginning with dividing a pasture into 2 halves may be the best way to ease into the rotational grazing process, while subdivisions can be added in later on. Portable electric fencing is highly recommended, because it is affordable and lightweight which makes it easy to move around when dividing pastures into different sections.
3. Gates should be considered for easier transfer between grazing areas. Also make sure there are shady areas and a water source in each section so horses can stay hydrated and out of constant direct sunlight on hotter days.
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