Grass - getting the balance right!

MrsMurs

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16 February 2016
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Hi there, I know there have been lots of posts about grazing recently, but I just wanted to see what everyone else is doing about management. I think perhaps i am overthinking my management and confusing myself, but i just want to try and get it right for when the time comes to put my horses on it.
I have 4 acres of land. 2 acres was fertilised by local farmer to temporarily put a small herd of cows on. The other 2 X 1 acre paddocks I currently rotate between grazing sheep and resting it. The plan is i will be putting two horses on it at some point this year but will continue to rotate the sheep/horses over the 4 acres - cows will no longer be in residence by then. My question is, how do I strike the balance between not overgrazing and stressing the grass, and there being too much? How often do you rotate? As the paddocks are 1 acre 'plots' I don't really want to go down the sectioning off with electric fencing route, just rotate. 1 of the paddocks is on clay and also overlooked by oak trees, so this is restricted to summer only grazing. Obviously a lot of it is dependent on the individual horses and type of land, but when you look at a paddock, how do you all gage if there is too much or too little grazing?
 

Achinghips

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1 December 2009
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I shut off four acres during summer and use one and a half acres during summer. I alternate my summer grazing, by further splitting that in half while each half is fertilised, substituting with soaked hay, if necessary. I have four horses, good doers. I usually get a cut of haylage off the entire lot and graze on standing foggage over winter. I am on clay. Horses are always in if ground is soggy or turned out in yard.
I fertilise, reseed, scarify twice a year.
 

Mike007

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There are so many variables. here on the surrey downs ,grass is the best part of a month behind farms only a few miles either side. Also the chalk drains well and can cause trouble during drought. You will learn from experience as to what works best .But since you are already thinking, I suspect you will do just fine.
 

supsup

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5 January 2015
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IME, it is sometimes impossible not to deliberately overgraze a paddock if you want to keep the weight of a good doer in check. You have to limit intake somehow, and your only options are to put the horses in an area that is so small/grazed down that it limits their intake, or muzzle (which I don't like particularly). But since you are planning to rotate with sheep, you could use them as lawn mowers to graze the paddock first, then put the horses on it when the grass is shorter, then rest. I wouldn't rule out strip grazing either.
 
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