The Horse Pasture Doctor

Restoration of over used Horse Pastures

Our Company provides complete pasture restoration and renovation services and supplies
to the discriminating horse owner. We offer affordable solutions and services to restore or
renovate overgrazed and infertile pastures on farms, acreages and equine facilities to
productivity and vitality once again.

Mistaya Land & Water Services

Toll Free 1-877-894-9378 ----- Direct Dial 1-403-638-8090
Email : ecograss@mac.com


Pasture Restoration & Rejuvenation Services

Restore Your Horse Pastures to productive fertile grazing once again.

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Our pasture restoration and rejuvenation processes can fully restore a non productive pasture to vigorous growth in a short time. Over used and over grazed pastures are commonplace on smaller acreage's and once they start to take a turn for the worst, they can deteriorate quickly.

We have many level of treatments to suit all budgets. The costs are reasonable consider the intensive work and use of supplies some pastures require.

Many pastures were never planted as such. Often they were simply a field of native grass and plants that was fenced in and used immediately as a pasture. Often these are the most common pasture we find in Alberta. These pastures are generally not very productive when grazed intensively. The native grasses simply don't bounce back quick enough. These varieties of grasses are also usually low in nutrient value for horses. Weeds can overtake the pasture quickly as the grass struggles under intensive grazing and soon the entire pasture can be overrun with noxious weeds like thistles, pigweed, cleavers and dock.

Don't dispare , we can usually fix that in short order.

Some pastures simply need some simple soil treatments and amendments and maybe some new seed with vigorous grass and grazing plants to be fully functional again. Others need to be completely tilled under, the soil treated and restarted with new seed.

When a pasture has gone over to the weeds, this is usually an indication of a major problem. When the soil is exhausted and the grasses can't make it, certain native weed species move in. These plants have adapted themselves over time to make use of and actually thrive in poor or waste soils. Thistles love soil with low phosphorus, higher PH and can survive in almost completely depleted soil.

Sometimes the only recourse is to kill the entire pasture with a non selective herbicide and start over by tilling, treating and re-balancing the soil, adding nutrients, organic mass and other soil amendments, then reseeding with a high quality grazing mix that can support your horses.

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Check the overview of services below.
These are just outlines of the basic processes, each pasture will require some tweaking and blending of processes depending on it's needs. This will help you understand what we can do for your pasture.

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Soil Testing & Treatment
 
Here we access the pasture and decide on a course of action. Establishing a pasture is a key step in having a thick, lush, profitable stand. A Perfect Pasture begins with good soil preparation. The first step is to obtain an accurate soil sample and improve soil conditions accordingly.

Pasture Seeding
 
Selecting the right seed mixture is extremely important! Depending on your geographical region and application (grazing or hay, dairy cows or horses) you'll need to choose the mix that is right for you. Each Pasture Perfect mix is formulated specifically for its region AND application so you can be assured you're getting the best and most productive seed product.

A properly prepared seedbed is the next step in getting that pasture up and producing! Pasture seed requires a fine, firm seedbed for optimum establishment. Large clods and excess sod will diminish results.

A no-till method of seeding can be successfully used as well. Its best to spray out all vegetation to provide best results. A delay between spraying and drilling will aid in moisture retention and reduce pest populations.

Till, Treat Soil
& Seed

 


If your pasture is not level, lumpy and filled with dips and bumps, it is often a good idea to completely rework the entire pasture by tilling, cleaning the debris out and adding the necessary soil amendments like clay doctor, humates, soil softener, soil flocculents , nutrients and organic materials like manure or compost pellets etc.


Kill, Till, Treat Soil
& Seed
 
Sometimes existing pasture situations are so poor, the best recommendation is for a complete renovation of the site.

This process will include tillage or the use of herbicides to eliminate existing vegetation, adding soil amendments (fertilizer, organics and clay treatment), and reseeding. Complete renovation will also allow for improvements in soil conditioning such as irrigation or soil drainage improvements if needed.

 

A note on seeding methods :
In places like Alberta and the Prairies broadcast seeding is NOT an effective way to seed. Broadcast seeding is the most popular way for homeowners and small farms to seed because it uses the simplest and cheapest equipment. Use of spin seeders, ATV and tractor mount conical broadcast spreaders and hand/push type fertilizer spreaders are the common types . The problem is that it's NOT very ineffective thanks to our climate.

Grass seeds require good soil contact, which means they need to be covered or they may not germinate. Grass is very fussy with conditions for germination, it needs constant moisture, a narrow window of soil temperature and protection from UV rays.

This means scattering seed on the surface of the ground with these devices will result in a major die off of seed, often 80% or more. In places like Tennessee, Illinois, southern Ontario, lower mainland in BC and Vancouver Island you may use this method with good results as the climate is warm and moist for extended periods but not in the Prairies, The swings in temperature and humidity is too radical from day to day for many grasses.

The reasons why it does not work well here are many. The days are hot and roasting in the late spring and summer, while the nights can be extra cool. Our altitude is a major factor in this. The ambient air moisture is low as well and we most often have strong drying winds blowing daily. The seed has no chance to germinate when it's alternatively roasting and freezing, drying out in a matter of hours and sitting in salty/alkali hard pan crust from our clay soils.

Germination requires anywhere from 6 to 12 days of the seed being kept in a narrow window of temperature (around 16-18 c), constant adequate moisture and protection from the suns rays. Are you able to keep your seed bed moist and at a constant temp when it's exposed to the sun, wind and air temps ? usually not. The seed can dry out in 2 -3 hours on a hot or windy day, it then will start to die. The germ may pop and then get killed in an early frost or dry out and shrivel in one day.

Our clay soils are another issue, some areas the soil is high in sodium, alkali and carbonates. when you water the seed, these compounds leech to the surface pool and form a chemical crust that can both cook a seed and dry it out in combination with heat and UV so it won't germinate. Seed under the soil is less susceptible.

Note: dragging a harrows over the seed is pretty iffy, it may cover some seed, but often simply pulls and pushes the seed into drifts and clumps resulting in a patchy growth pattern. It is not considered to be effective.

Seed buried beneath the surface is protected from these elements , temperature is much more constant, moisture is conserved and UV is not a factor. No till seed drills , cultipackers and roller type seeders are best in this climate.We use a variety of these seeding machines in our Pasture Renovation services.

Broadcast seeding can and does work under certain circumstances here, but you need to be in total control of the soil moisture and drying effects.This is a lot of work, but can be done. There are weeks of the year when you can depend on nature, the weather and soil temperatures can be almost ideal, this is mostly luck however.

We can provide you with seeding advice when you purchase your seed to insure you have good results,

 


Old pastures can cost the producer money!
By: Jeff Medlin--Ampac Seed Company

Here is a typical "pasture scenario" that I have witnessed time and time again. Farmer Joe has a "pasture" that is more then 10 years old and seems to produce some green forage. It just doesn't seem to holding up to grazing conditions or produce forage for very long. It is critical to note that pastures do decline in their effectiveness over time, and it is a process that can be avoided. So the question continues to come up, "How can we make our pastures better?" followed by the question "Is it worth it?" Yes, but only if you want to make more money. Pasture renovation can be defined as a process to improve species composition and extend the productive life of pastures.

The first step in recommending pasture renovations is to take a complete soil sample in order to analyze what you've got to work with. I like to think of good soil test results as my roadmap for the trip I am planning. My father once told me that if you don't care where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go. On this trip, I want to make sure and optimize my existing pastures, without spending every dime to do it! Without proper soil tests, all we are doing is guessing (at best), and probably not providing the proper fertility requirements for the crop we are about to grow. So, let's live by this motto: "Don't guess, soil test!"

Inter-seeding and no-till pasture renovations have doubled and tripled the production of low yielding pastures. While we understand the importance of adding soil amendments to improve forage production, we also should consider introducing new species and varieties to our pasture conditions to improve productivity and quality to our grazing systems. Improved varieties of legumes and grasses like Kopu II, Starfire, Quartet PRg, and Feast II have been University tested to show significant benefits compared to many "old" legumes and grasses. Starfire red clover and Kopu II white clover have been shown to not only offset some of the nitrogen requirements of pasture, but also help improve forage quality, digestibility, and palatability to grazing systems. This means as a producer you save money on your fertilizer bill and your animals will be more productive. Quartet and Feast II ryegrass both are "low aftermath seed heading" varieties. This means that when at maturity instead of continuously trying to produce seed heads (like most other forage grasses) Quartet and Feast II will return to vegetative forage production after one flush of seed heads. What does all of this mean to the producer? Quartet and Feast II will produce high quality forages longer then most other forage grasses resulting in better animal performance.

Sometimes existing pasture situations are so poor, the best recommendation is for a complete renovation of the site. This process will include tillage or the use of herbicides to eliminate existing vegetation, adding soil amendments (fertilizer and lime), and reseeding. Complete renovation will also allow for improvements in soil conditioning such as irrigation or soil drainage improvements if needed.

An idea that is gaining in popularity is the use of a "break crop" before establishing a totally new pasture. One such type of "break crop" is using an annual such as Perfect FitTM Forage Brassicas. Most producers do not want to have any "down" time between taking out their old pasture and establishing a new one. Perfect FitTM Forage Brassicas offer an excellent forage source, in a relatively quick amount of time. By no-till drilling or by broadcasting on to a lightly disked pasture ground you can establish a productive, high quality forage source in 50-60 days (depending on climatic conditions and fertility kevels). Perfect FitTM Forage Brassicas will allow for the opportunity to "break" the current cycle of available forages, and allow for the reintroduction for improved varieties in the upcoming season. For example, a producer in the Midwest could spray out his old pasture in May. Then no-till Pasja Forage Brassica into it and have a forage source in 40-60 days until mid August. In mid August the producer would once again spray the pasture with a non-selective herbicide. Following a "good kill" the producer would seed the pasture to a Pasture Perfect® seed mixture for a productive permanent pasture.

Benefits of renovating pastures include:

Greater Return on Investment (yes, pasture land is an investment!)

Improved Animal Performance and Productivity

Improved Feed Quality

Improve Pasture Growth throughout the year to help regulate growth curves

Introduction of Improved Pasture Genetics
Removal of undesirable traits (weeds, endophyte infected species)

Improve soil drainage and aeration

 


If your Horse pastures are looking like these photos above , it may be time for a Horse Pasture Renovation..

If you have an intensely used small pasture for your horse on a farm or acreage that just won't produce grass anymore, you're not alone. This problem is common on smaller pastures where horses are not able to be moved for significant periods of time to allow regeneration of grass or forage.

Call us for details.
We are accepting booking for this spring.
April and May are ideal months for this work

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Mistaya Land & Water

Toll Free 1-877-894-9378 - Direct Dial 1-403-638-8090
Email : ecograss@mac.com

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