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  1. #1
    Silver Member Tractorbeam's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    127
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    Winchester
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    New Holland T2320 and Kubota ZD326 ZT

    Default Battle of Horse Poo

    I have, new to me, 16 acres to play in, divided up into 3 fenced pastures. Two are for hay, and the back field is a paddock area for horses.

    Over the winter, seven horses had run of all three fields. The two hay fields were well fertilized by the horses, but in relative good shape otherwise. The paddock field was all torn up, especially in the areas where their hay ring was located. Well the horses are gone, thankfully. There were too many!

    So first job for me was to drag the fields. The chain drag pictured below made fairly quick work. I had to be careful not to get myself boxed in... the harrow was 10 or 12 feet wide I believe (didn't measure it). Managed to find some old insulated electric fence wire and NUMEROUS sticks. Quite a job to clean up the tangled mess from the chains!

    The back field needed more care. After dragging it, I hand broadcasted 50 pounds of Southern States Horse Pasture Hay Seed Mix in the bare areas and then re-dragged. Now all we need is some rain. Scant snow and rain here in the top of Virginia. This year is starting off as the last half of '08 was... DRY!

    Previous owner is going to hay the fields. I'll help and get to learn as I go. We'll split the hay.

    After the back field recovers, I plan to get my own horses. Another first for me. I enjoyed the boarders so much I now miss them. Seven were too many though. Three tops, maybe 2 of my own, and a renter would be nice.

    Poo-infested field.


    Twelve foot(?) chain harrow, spikes up.


    Crushing defeat of the poos.


    Flawless victory!!!

  2. #2
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    4,986
    Location
    Kasilof, Alaska
    Tractor
    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; Ford Ferguson 9N: JD X300R

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Beautiful pastures! First glance it looked like an infestation of gophers! Really cleaned up nice!

    Thanks for the pics. Really good to see other parts of the world not wrapped up in snow..

    AKfish
    "Most people want to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    529
    Location
    Chicago suburban
    Tractor
    Kubota 2710

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Beautiful place. You might think about a different strategy for manure handling, around here what you're doing would get you a visit from the ag department and board of health. If you were out in the middle of nowhere it might be OK, but with all those expensive houses someone's going to complain. Harrowing manure does help with runoff and appearance, but it broadcasts parasites and weed seeds. The more you drive over your fields, the more you compact the soil and reduce moisture absorption, so the quality of grass decreases. If you're not having good rainfall this is especially important. 16 acres is a lot for 7 horses, but if you're only keeping them on 1/3 of the land, that's 7 horses on 5 acres. That might start getting you into manure trouble. If you only have 2 horses on 5 acres that's a pretty low load. I'd suggest looking into composting, or at least storing the manure under cover and on a sealed floor of some kind to heat it up and kill the parasites and weed seeds, then buy a cheap manure spreader and spread it during the hot months of the year and keep horses off it for at least a few weeks so you don't get a reinfection cycle going. The extension office does manure and pasture management seminars around here, if they have something like that where you're at it would give you a headstart on different ideas.
    Mark Leininger

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
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    Mar 2008
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    10,032
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    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkLeininger View Post
    Beautiful place. You might think about a different strategy for manure handling, around here what you're doing would get you a visit from the ag department and board of health. If you were out in the middle of nowhere it might be OK, but with all those expensive houses someone's going to complain. <snip> I'd suggest looking into composting, or at least storing the manure under cover and on a sealed floor of some kind to heat it up and kill the parasites and weed seeds, then buy a cheap manure spreader and spread it during the hot months of the year and keep horses off it for at least a few weeks so you don't get a reinfection cycle going.
    Um, as I understand it the manure he is dealing with is the manure that the horses have "spread" while out grazing, this is not directly from the barn, and it would be rather difficult to gather up and store.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  5. #5
    Gold Member Mike_Kanzer's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    278
    Location
    Chester county, PA
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    Kubota L3830 HST, JD Gator 855D

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Tractorbeam-
    Congratulations on the nice property. I handle my fields the same as you do. The main pastures I have I drag periodically to break-up the manure. It is especially good to break it up in the summer, as the higher temps do help to kill off the parasites in the manure. The manure from the barn is composted and spread after it has "cooked" for several months. My "guys" (3 geldings) also destroy the padock near the barn. They churn it into a sea of mud by the end of the winter. I usually drag it to smooth it out and then overseed it in the spring to help stabilize the soil. Generally they say 2 acres per horse is ideal, but a lot of people exceed that. A rotational grazing program, with resting of portions of fields periodically, probably helps perserve the pastures the best. Periodic mowing helps control weeds. The idea is to mow the grass at about a 4" height. This cuts the weeds down before they have a chance to go to seed. Good luck with your property - Mike

  6. #6
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    May 2003
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    14,942
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Tractor
    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Beautiful place. Those homes are very impressive.

    The drag does wonders on your field. I like it allot!!!!

    Eddie

  7. #7
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    2,562
    Location
    michigan
    Tractor
    jd 1070

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    I think that hay you take off the fields where manure has been spread may not be that great for horses. They may not eat it. Cows, maybe. It doesn't taste like chicken, either. Get a lawnmower out there with a leaf vacuum and suck up the remnants as much as possible. A rotary rake used now may break up the pieces, too.

    Even if you set the mower up to avoid the crumpled manure, the rake WILL probably pull it up and it will get into hay bales. High end horses are notoriously picky.

    Been there. I use the leaf vacuum attachment method and burn the results. (And you sure don't want to sell any hay with manure in it. Your reputation will spread thruout the horse community).

    BTW: Start sending out feelers for helpers when hay season calls. Its GREAT way to get the neighborhood involved in a very gratifying endeavor. I also suggest getting a few neighbors together to have a large garden this year. Something you can irrigate if necessary. Get a 3pt rototiller and put an acre into corn, tomatoes and other cannable veggies. You won't regret it !
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2004
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    529
    Location
    Chicago suburban
    Tractor
    Kubota 2710

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Quote Originally Posted by zzvyb6 View Post
    I think that hay you take off the fields where manure has been spread may not be that great for horses. They may not eat it.
    This is a good point for pasture as well as hay. Some horses won't eat in a pasture after it's been dragged. I think they're genetically programmed to avoid the taste of manure to minimize chances of infection. Also the climate has a large effect, humid climates making it harder to kill off parasites.
    Mark Leininger

  9. #9
    Bronze Member VAChesterfield's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
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    84
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Tractor
    NH TC 30 9x3 with Rhino FEL

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    Tractorbeam, very nice place you have there. The pix are great. Have you checked out Live Search Maps to see if there is a "bird's eye" view of your place?

    We have 10 acres in an Equestrian community about 22 miles SW of Richmond. With about 3 ac. devoted to the house, barn and paddock and 1/2 acre too low and boggy to do anything with except look at (future site of a water feature?), we have about 3 ac. in pasture and another ac. left wooded at the back end to keep the neighbors happy (their houses are back there).

    We have three horses, and with the drought we've had the past few years I've cross fenced one of my pastures as a sacrifice field and feed a round bale there. Once the grass comes up in the spring I let my girls (nothing but mares here) enjoy the feeling of being real horses, but as soon as they clip the grass down low I pull them back to the sacrifice field & round bale. Which means I clean up the sacrifice field about once a month and add the manure to my compost pile.

    I like your approach to manure management out in the field. Just have to make sure you've allowed enough time for the elements to kill the parasites before letting horses back onto the field to feed. Have to break that cycle of eat the bugs, dump the bugs. :-)

    As for growing hay on it, I know a few owners of really large (100 ac.+) places and they usually spread their composted manure on the fields they use to grow hay. Never seen a horse yet turn up its nose at their hay. Can't say I see much difference between what they've been doing for years and what you plan to do. Once you bale the hay, make sure you let it dry in the bale (season) about 4 weeks before feeding.
    Steve
    Equus Keepus Brokus
    NH TC 30 (9x3) w/Rhino 2408 FEL

  10. #10
    Platinum Member ampsucker's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    569
    Location
    Southeast Kansas
    Tractor
    BX24

    Default Re: Battle of Horse Poo

    around here, 16 acres might be a bit marginal for 7 horses. i would reconsider any "borders" adding to the horse load on the land, if that's what you meant.

    horses are considerably more aggresive to the land than cattle. especially during dry conditions, three acres minimum per horse PLUS another three resting is more the norm. i don't think you can expect cutting 16 acres into thirds to support 7 horses with one of the thirds always in a resting/growing state....

    amp
    Kubota BX24 (loader, hoe, 60" belly); Ford 800 tractor; Scott's/Deere 42" mower; 5' and 6' rear blade; 54" Howse tiller; 20' 7,000 lb carhauler trailer; 2 other trailers; 5' dethatcher; 10" single bottom moldboard plow; middle buster plow; 600 lb roller; 3pt auger; front tire chains; Stihl and Honda small engine equip.

    Growing with you season by season.

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