The Horse Pasture Trials were started by the UTLMP in 29 May 2016 and are being funded by the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management (AMLRNRM), Sustainable Agriculture Team.

UTLMP Horse Pasture Trials

Following three successful workshops and field days to engage horse owners in growing native grass as a substitute for exotic grass in a pasture, four native grass trials have been funded by the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the Australian Government’s Regional Landcare Facilitator program.

These trials have aimed to:

  • Increase the knowledge and understanding around the establishment and use of native grass pastures by horse owners
  • • Engage horse owners in ‘best practice’ land management by improving sub-soil biological activity

Project Objectives

This project had two components:

Phase 1 – Establishing native grass pastures (April 2016 – June 2017)

  • Provide support (methodology including site preparation) to sow one of the three native grass pastures:
    • Trial 1 – Establishing kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) for hay production
    • Trial 2 – Establishing native grass horse pasture using ”Gallop”, by Native Seeds P/L
    • Trial 3 – Establishing a mix of C3 Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma spp.) and C4 Red-leg grass (Bothriochloa macra)
  •  Determine actual costs for establishing native grass pastures
  • Extend our knowledge of native grass pasture establishment including improving our understanding of the barriers and challenges

Phase 2 – Monitoring & evaluation of these established pastures in their second and subsequent years of growth (April 2016-June 2018)

  • Setting up and maintaining photo monitoring points
  • Keeping rainfall records
  • Testing and determination of ideal grazing strategies including ‘planned rest grazing’ regimes
  • Undertaking Feed testing (hay & pastures) & analysis of nutritional values specific to horses
  • Food on offer measurements (visual and measuring plant heights) to determine dry matter (DM) per hectare
  • Analysis on palatability and/or preferences by horses (this data is not in current literature)

Project Outcomes

This project will:

  • Improve knowledge and build capacity amongst horse owners about the benefits of native grass and improved horse health
  • Increase knowledge about preferred grazing regimes for native grasses and horses
  • Provide a 365 day solution to the current land degradation that is occurring on many horse properties and an alternative (healthier) feed option for those horse properties that have too much feed.

Trial Initial Seeding Methodology

A Phase 2 Outcome:

An information sheet ‘Analysis of Green Warm Season Native Pasture‘ has been published , which discusses the results of feed testing and analysis of native grasses to examine their nutritional values for horses, sheep and cattle.

Project updates