How to look after paddock

Hazel and Arnold

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Hi there. I'm on a very small livery yard, with my own little paddock to do with as I wish. The top quarter of the paddock is trashed from the winter and my horse seems to like to hang around in this section. I'm thinking of halving the paddock so that the bottom half can rest and get some grass on it - maybe fertilize it? I don't mind him not having too much grass at the moment as I can give him ad lib hay. I'm just wondering what my best options are really. I have no farm equipment available and access to my paddock would not be possible for machinery. I was thinking about overseeding (?) the trashed part but I don't know when to do this or if it is possible to do this by hand without a roller or harrow etc. Any advice would be welcome. My boy has summer pasture rao so spends part of summer in stable and on the concrete yard so resting the whole paddock is an option. Thanks for your help.
 

OWLIE185

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The first thing to do is to make sure that the poo's are picked up each day to avoid worms getting out of control and also preventing the grassland from becoming sour. Poo's will starve the underlying grass of light and the grass dies off allowing weeds to take over.
To re-seed your best bet is to get the ground cultivated first and then drilled with appropriate grass seed, however the field will need resting while the seed takes. This is something your livery yard owner would be responsible for and becomes established so you will need alternative grazing.
However it may well be worthwhile in having drainage installed so that the fields can drain better.
If access is not possible for large tractors then smaller ones may be used with appropriate smaller machinery.
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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Depends how big it is, Can you make off a circuit round the edge to make it a paddock paradise?
Yes you can re-seed by hand, anytime from now on, seed will grow if temp is above 5 degrees C and there is moisture, the variety of grass wants to be less "polleny". Since it is a small area, I would ask for advice from one of the specialists.
http://www.meadowmania.co.uk/natural-renovation-paddock-grass-seed-nh02.htm?___store=default
You will get best results if you can rotavate the worse areas and broadcast the seed,[measure out what you need per square metre. It may be possible to hire a small garden rotavator, but the cost will probably be same as more grass seed. Don't tell them it is for a field!
The alternative is to use a garden fork and or rake, jst prep a small area every so often, assuming you have a lot of time to spare!
Fertiliser is ok but there has to be grass.
Liming is the other thing to consider if land is sour, and showing signs of over grazing. Liming can't be done at the same time as fertiliser, they interfere with each other. I am assuming you are on acid soil not chalk.
 
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Polos Mum

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If it's a small paddock and it doesn't belong to you and the YO won't get involved in maintenance I'd just use it as a turnout pen and feed hay all year round, if grass grows - great less hay if not no bother. Proper field care takes a lot of time and money and I wouldn't be doing it on a field that wasn;t mine.

To be sure if you re-seed by hand, rest etc then come the winter someone who's not bothered with their field and best mates with YO will find a good reason to swap with you !!!
 

Hazel and Arnold

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Polos Mum - very true. I think your right. I'm quite happy feeding ad lib hay all year round, just thought if there was something I could do that was easy and cheap then I would do it - but I don't think there is an easy cheap option. Thanks
 
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