Your guide to sustainable horsekeeping

The Green Horse section provides practical information on managing environmentally sustainable horse properties, readers stories and tips, as well as advice and articles from equestrian experts in their fields.

Aug/Sept 2017
Vol 39 No 2

In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles:

Talking Point

Information Exchange - Property Owners Riparian Rights

Weeds Are My Friends
by Sophie Love

It’s very satisfying spraying unwanted plants and watching them curl up and die. While it pleases our aesthetic appetite, what about the ramifications of those chemicals in our soil?

Fertilising Your Horse Property
by Andrea Carmody
There are many different options for fertilising pastures; synthetic (over the counter), compost or manure, organic, bio-dynamic and the list goes on. But what is important is the need for us to know what nutrients the soil and plants already have.
Deeds, Steeds and Weeds
Seed starage, Substance abuse: fluoride and Sloping Yards.


Methane Emissions on the Horse Farm
by Plan-it Rural
Highlighting what can be done in our property management approach against climate change to reduce those risks and exposure of our animals and our bank balance!

The Equicentral System - in its most basic form
Condensed from the Equiculture.com.au website.

Declare War on Poisonous Weeds
Weeds come in many forms... some good, but mostly bad, and some very toxic to your horse and livestock.

by Mark Brown, Envirapest



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by Mark Brown - Envirapest

Weeds come in many forms... some good, but mostly bad, and some very toxic to your horse and livestock. Often called the lucky country, Australia has its share of insects, animals and reptiles that will happily bite or sting you and we wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, when the country starts attacking our beloved horses from the ground up with poisonous and toxic weeds – it becomes personal, very personal.


Weeds are everywhere, we know that. But poisonous ones and the management of these weeds, should be at the top of any horse property owner’s list, particularly at this time of the year. There are around 100 common pasture weeds that can be toxic to horses and livestock. Some have mild effects if eaten and some can be deadly depending on the stage of growth, condition of plant, and seasonal environmental conditions.

Some weeds have fast acting toxins that cause acute poisoning, some are slower, causing chronic poisoning. Many weeds can cause different reactions in horses ranging from laminitis and stringhalt to kidney failure and even death. Here’s just a few of the more common weeds that are toxic in some way to your horse: Paterson’s Curse (also known as Salvation Jane), Cape Tulip, Capeweed, Deadly Nightshade, Paddy Melon, Catsear, Lupin, Mallow, Perennial Ryegrass, Dandelion and the fungus that grows on Red Clover.

IDENTIFY AND DESTRUCT
Doom and gloom aside, what can we do, you ask? Identify and destruct, or at least start making a plan. Start small. If that’s what your time or budget allows, pick the small paddock, but just start somewhere. The longer you wait and watch those weeds grow from the back porch while sipping a white wine and nibbling on Tasmania’s finest blue cheese, the more those blisters will bleed when you eventually wield the hoe. Even better, consider the benefits of implementing an Integrated Weed Management strategy by combining different control methods, including chemical and mechanical approaches if you can. Most of the time chemical application is the most cost effective and least destructive course of action when it is done safely and either by a professional or by following directions on the product, but if it is not your cup of English breakfast, then get out your grandma gloves and pull, dig, scratch, mulch, mow or drag those weeds out of the ground.

NOW IS WEED WAR TIME
Winter is the time for a stroll in the paddock, get your hands dirty, pull those gumboots on and don’t be afraid to get out there. You may be surprised what weeds you will find. Too often, at this time of the year, we look out from the fence line and don’t want to get our feet wet. It’s cold, sometimes muddy and motivation isn’t at its all-time high. But your toxic weeds love that, in fact, they thrive on it.

Most of us have come to terms with sighting weeds around the pasture; every year we know they are coming but some of us ignore their presence while others scratch out a line in the sand and declare war. No matter which side you are on – winter is the time for weeds and control time is now.

 

 


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