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.
April May 2019
Vol 40 No 6
In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles:
STOP THOSE WEEDS
by Rhiannon Brown
To protect all the hard work you have done in the past seasons, the subject of biosecurity needs to be addressed. Now don’t be scared off by big words like biosecurity – it’s simply a fancy word for reducing or preventing - as much as possible - outside weed spread on your property. Putting simple precautionary steps into place can make it tough for weeds to get a hold on your equine paradise.
DON’T LET YOUR HORSE EAT THESE by Larissa BilstonPoisonous plants may be weeds in the pasture, or ornamentals planted in your garden.
WHY HORSES ARE BETTER FOR THE LAND THAN CATTLE
by Kit Prendergast
Horses and cattle are both grazing herbivores animals that feed on plants - however, how they graze, and the impact this has on the environment, differs.
DO’S AND DON'TS OF TREATS
by Larissa Bilston,
Whilst many foodstuffs are safe in moderation, there are some that should not be fed to horses.
RETAINING RAINFALL AND CONTROLLING RUNOFF
by Wendy Elks
In Australia water is a precious commodity and every property owner can make changes to ensure that what rain falls on their ground, stays there.
YOUR PLACE …Stable Design...Starting from Scratch
by Felicity Wischer
Starting with a blank page on which to design your horse facilities can be the culmination of your ‘dreams’, but it can also be a daunting exercise as you consider all the aspects that will make this into a functional work area.
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STOP THOSE WEEDS
by Rhiannon Brown, Envirapest
With the arrival of the cooler weather it is the perfect time to start thinking about what you can do to get yourself in good stead for the coming weed season. Blink - it’s mid-July, and those nasty pasture weeds are in full swing, so let’s get taking early steps to minimise your weeds.
Those who have been following these articles over the past years will have been out there waging war on their weeds last winter and hopefully would have made some progress. To protect all the hard work you have done in the past seasons, the subject of biosecurity needs to be addressed. Now don’t be scared off by big words like biosecurity – it’s simply a fancy word for reducing or preventing - as much as possible - outside weed spread on your property. Putting simple precautionary steps into place can make it tough for weeds to get a hold on your equine paradise.
Vehicles and Machinery
Every time a vehicle enters your property it has the potential to bring in seeds from the ‘outside’ – particularly if it has been on another rural property before your visit – e.g. the vet or the farrier. Having a designated parking area for vehicles, adequate signage and clearly defined roads/driveways for vehicles will define where you would like visitors to drive and park.
Have the visitor parking area covered with some sort of limestone or bitumen, which will help prevent the spread of weeds.
If visitors are parking on a grassed or dirt area, weed seeds will spread much easier.
This can be a little more difficult when you have vehicles that need to enter the pasture – like vets or pasture contractors - but clearly defined signed tracks and roads in your paddocks will keep the weed spread contained, to a degree. Another simple fix is to wash vehicles (particularly tyres) before they enter your paddock. It isn’t always practical to be down at the paddock gate with a hose and bucket, but a simple solution is to have a hose set up near your parking area, which can be used as a wash-bay.
Floats can be a biosecurity nightmare – not only do they bring in weed seeds on the outside of the vehicle but there have been horses inside that have pooed and generally been fed hay/feed while travelling. If you are lending your float or using it at a clinic where there are lots of other horses- you should be washing out the float when you get home – especially if you have been transporting horses that aren’t your own. There are really good, inexpensive products on the market to make the job easier for you.
Horses and Livestock
Anytime a new horse arrives, or comes from another property, you should consider quarantining the horse for a few days. Wash it, and then give it a quick comb down to remove any seeds in the coat or trapped in hooves. The word ‘quarantine’ sounds a lot scarier that it is. This could be as simple as keeping the horse in a yard for a few days and collecting the manure. Not only will this help with the spread of weeds but also parasitic worms. The same applies for all types of livestock.
Keeping them in a designated area it will give them a chance to ‘pass through’ any seeds that may be located in the digestive system and allow you to collect and dispose of the manure, and you can keep checking that area for ‘imported’ weeds.
One of the biggest culprits for smuggling in weed seeds would have to be hay. In particular, meadow hay! Be selective about the hay you bring in, as often the cheapest isn’t always the best option. You might end up saving on the hay but then paying out extra on weed control next season. Research your suppliers but also have a look at the hay itself. If it has dock in there – be prepared to end up with dock in your paddock. If you have people bringing their horses to your property – for example a clinic, event or agisting - then consider supplying hay so they can purchase from you – rather than bringing in their own.
There are a lot of websites out there that have heaps of information on other hints and tips for your property’s biosecurity – a really good one is www.farmbiosecurity.com.au. With a little planning and foresight you can protect your property and all the hard work you have done maintaining it year after year.