Poisonous plants in pasture & fields

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By Steve Moore

Cattleman’s Meeting

The Henry County Cattleman’s Association announces its April meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, at the Henry County Extension Office. As always, a great program of industry news is being planned. On the program will be a veterinarian report, along with FFA, Extension, FSA, and an update on Phase One tobacco funds, along with a sponsor report. The sponsored meal will feature beef products. Contact the Extension Office at 845-2811 by 4:00 pm Friday to reserve your spot.


Poisonous Plants for Horses

If you have horses, chances are you have wondered if your pastures and fields contain any plants which may be poisonous. The Extension Service is conducting a short educational meeting to address these concerns and give you the information you need to recognize plant poisoning, how to identify and control certain plants, and how to submit plants for identification. The meeting will be held Monday, April 29, at 6:30 pm, at the Oldham County Extension Office.

Third Thursday Thing

The Third Thursday Thing, at 10 a.m. April 18, at the KSU Mills Lane Farm near Frankfort will feature soil conservation. NRCS presentations will include soil health, NRCS easement programs, native warm season grasses and financial assistance programs. A sponsored lunch on the farm is included in the education program series now in its second decade.

Pasture for Horses

While pasture provides a significant percentage of horses’ nutrient needs, pasture availability swings from a surplus situation in the spring to a lack of pasture in the hot, dry conditions of summer. Good management is the key to getting through this growth slump.

Pearl millet is a summer annual forage horse owners might consider during summer growth slumps. Good grazing management strategies should be practiced such as rotating horses off pasture when it has been grazed to 5 to 6 inches high.

Rotational grazing on cool season forages is another way to provide some pasture during the growth slump. This involves using the existing fescue/bluegrass/orchardgrass species, and when using this system, it is important to prevent overgrazing.

Dividing pastures with an electric fence is a cost-effective way to allow horses to graze one area while limiting access to others until the forage is needed. Owners need to limit time on an area so horses do not graze the forage below 3 to 4 inches.

If conditions limit pasture re-growth, owners may establish a “sacrifice area” to feed hay and grain to meet horses’ nutritional needs. Using a suitable feeder will reduce hay waste. “Sacrifice areas” are similar to a dry lot, but are an effective way to protect the remaining pastures.