Basic Advice for Paddock Management

Published: 07th April 2011
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Weeds will almost always be an issue in grass paddocks. This is especially problematic when the weeds present are potentially harmful to the grazing animals. All weeds present in your land should be pulled out immediateley. However, ideally the paddock should also be sprayed regularly, whether or not there are visible signs of weeds as part of your paddock management programme

Pulling out and treating all weeds as soon as possible is a vital part of paddock maintenance. Further than this, all responsible horse owners should have a weed control programme. Spraying will provide far better results than pulling weeds and as such your paddock should be sprayed with safe modern pesticides which are specifically designed to combat whichever weeds are infecting your land. It is important to note that hay can still be cut after spraying and will not harm your animals in any way.

Soil should ideally be analysed during the spring season as soil fertility is directly proportionate to grass growth and thus is an important part of successful paddock management. The results of your soil analysis will enable you to make small or larger changes to your paddock maintenance plan to ensure any grazing animals will not suffer.

Bald patches of land can be prevented by feeding your animals in more than one area of the paddock.

Roll any poached land in the early spring while the paddock is dry but still soft.

If possible add an extra gate to the paddock to reduce the level of use and avoid a poached gateway.

Check the conditions of the grass regularly and treat any bare areas as they develop. If any part of the field requires a complete re-seed then this should be carried out during spring or autumn.

Often the grassland will become overly dry in the summer months. This can be combated with re-seeding and watering.

Your land should be harrowed frequently in order to ensure the full removal of moss, weeds and grass within your paddock. As a general rule, this should be carried out during the spring and autumn months.

Grass should be topped to approx 5cm in the summer and 2cm in the winter. This will help to prevent weeds from going to seed, and as such it is an essential aspect of paddock maintenance.

Don't allow droppings to remain on the ground for prolonged periods as it can lead to infections spreading.

Consider buying horse insurance in case a horse escapes from the paddock and causes an accident.

When choosing appropriate fencing for your paddock ensure you consider how the size, weight and bread of your horse will influence your decision. Generally the fence should be at least 5 feet high.

If you look ater these elements of your paddock, your horses or ponies are likely to be healthier.


Steve Phillips lives in rural England and understand the need for good paddock maintenance for the good of livetsock. He often turns to GreenPaddocks for advice. A planned approach all year round is sensible, which includes routine paddock topping.

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