Farm Stewardship Blog

Equine Pasture Management Field Day 

Sagamore Farm

University of Maryland (UMD) Extension

September 18, 2019

Take-Away Points

By: Jane Thery, Chair Farm Stewarship Committee

Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Committee 

(1)  Erika Crowl ( ecrowl@umd.edu) ; 410-887-8090) is spearheading renewed outreach to the horse community. She will answer your questions and/or direct you to the best sources of farm stewardship technical and financial resources.

(2)  About 60 people attended the field day to learn about pasture management and to visit beautiful Sagamore Farm.

(3)  Grazing pastures should be 3-6” tall.  Should let pastures get to about 6-8" to start grazing and stop grazing at 3-4".

(4)  Rotational grazing - moving horses off pasture to let it grow and rotating them in small pastures to eat the whole field down - is the best way to maintain healthy pastures. 

(5)  A mix of grasses is best for all-season growing and soil health. Use orchard grass, tall fescue (find endophyte-free varieties), Kentucky bluegrass, timothy, reed canary grass (for wet areas), alfalfa, and red and white clover. 

(6)  Base your liming/fertilizing program on soil samples. UMD staff will help you analyze your soil test results. We can provide a list of recommended soil testing labs. Use composted horse manure to recycle nutrients. 

(7)  Wait until we get at least some rain this autumn before fall seeding and fertilizing. 

(8)  UMD will analyze your weeds. Take a photo and discuss weed management. 

(9)  Take into account pasture slope and moisture conditions in pasture management. 

(10)  Maryland law requires you to have a Nutrient Management Plan if you have eight or more animal units (1,000 lbs. equals 1 animal unit) and/or gross income of $2,500 a year.  UMD nutrient management consultants can provide you with a plan for free, based on your soil samples. 

Published in Farm Stewardship