A Brief look in to Horse Pasture Weed control in Leicestershire & the Surrounding areas, The types of Weeds you may encounter. The harmful affects on Horses / Livestock some of the environmental issues to look and and following a good Code Of Practice when managing your land. Discussed is methods to consider when Horse Pasture Weed Control is a obstacle following a Weed Control Risk Assessment.
Horse Pasture Weed Management.
As all Horse owners are aware when it comes to their horses, the land the have is of paramount importance, its used for exercise, grazing and storing their companions safely in a controlled environment which is safe and secure. Water source and grazing areas can be controlled as can the conditioning of the area of land and its use for the owner, It is after all your horses home.
Under the Animal welfare act 2006: focusing on the well being of all horses and protecting them by law. it is an offence to cause or allow unnecessary suffering and you have a duty to ensure the basic welfare needs of all horses under ownership and responsibility by:
- providing a suitable place to live, including housing with or apart from other animals
- providing a suitable diet
- protecting them from pain, injury, suffering and disease
- making sure they exhibit normal behaviour.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Code of Practice (follow link), For horse owners provides practical advice on how best to look after a horse’s health and well being, including information on diet, exercise and the legal responsibilities of owners. Compliance with this code can provide positive evidence of ensuring the welfare of horses.
This is just a brief outline of how important it is as im sure everyone is aware of how not only your horses but all animal life should be cared for and respected.
Lets us focus on the grassland and hedge rows / green boundaries of your land in Leicestershire and the surrounding areas, the control of weeds act and the Ragwort control act 2003 may be referred to as the (Control of Injurious Weeds Act) , which offer a good code of practice of how best to provide clean pastures / land for horses and all animals alike.
Grazing Horses, Why should we control weeds in our pastures & paddocks?
The health of all animals and horses alike is very important, especially when it comes down to simple weeds which are very poisonous to them. The management of Weeds in such environments could save your Horses from serious harm or potentially death, we all know how expensive vets bills are after all.
Weeds such as Ragwort or Nettles and many of the others, seriously reduce the amount of pasture grazing land you may have, it would be a mistake to think that the animals would simply not eat them, when conditions are dry and sparse Weeds can still be strong and look very appertising to a Horse, This could be fatal, Feeding in unattended Horse Pastures, Hedges or Boarders, Weeds grow strong in these shaded often moister areas, Does the grass look greener on the other side? To animals it may. Is that a risk worth taking?
The other effects on the environment along with poor management can result in fines, cross contamination to other land, Which would be a problem for you and your neighbours,
In this instance Weed Control is a must, In turn certainly better than the cure.
Horse Pasture Weed Identification.
As a responsible owner you must be aware of what to look out for, Also the appropriate way to treat them before they seed & spread / transfer over the yard paddock & areas outside the fences, ensuring they do not got to Seed over Seasons.
Here is a few of the more Common Weeds to be on the look out for when checking the status of your property.
Ragwort probably the most common of all and very toxic to horses and other animals, you can see it by its taller stems and bright yellow flower, spreads very easily over a pasture when allowed to pollinate, a very resilient plant which must be killers totally to avoid wide spread.
Nettles & Dotleaf:
Often found growing close together these two are harmeful to your horses, having the hurt and cure approach to us humans its not the case when it comes to your animals, these are both harmful to them, often found in the shaded corners having a prickly defence mechanism the nettle will grow and grow spreading over the year, as with the dotleaf if left to spread can cause a major infestation and destroy lovely grassy pastures.
A yellow flower in appearance buttercup grows in grassy area & is very common to the UK, it sits very low to the ground and if ingested may cause your animals to stop eating altogether, horses will usually eat away from them but if nothing else is on offer they will eat them, a way to spot if they may be the cause of any problems as with most of the weeds is a blistered mouth as an early sign.
Having white flowering heads Cowbane above the ground is not all to harmful but it is the roots which are extremely harmful to horses and animal life, usually horses dont eat the roots containing (Cicutoxin) but if they do it can cause them to be very ill indeed.
Typically a garden flower with its purple heads and long stems this beautiful flower is easy to see, although not typically found in pastures it can cause diarrhoea or possibly heart failure, always check your harvested food source for this flower.
Very common to uk pastures, Hemlock is like Ragwort in this is very poisonous to all livestock, it contains Alkaliods – which causes respiratory failure in animals, looking like Cowbane in its white flower appearance this really is one to get evicted off your land.
The appearance of a horses tail, this green almost miniature christmas tree is toxic all the time and very common in uk lands and pastures, consumed over a period of time can cause serious harmful effects to your horse.
With is broad leaf stature Braken can kill if eaten over a long period, it is very green when growing but turns a golden brown in the winter months either way if horses dont avoid it harmful it can be, Grows in wooded areas well and hedge rows on hilly areas and moors.
These are a few of the most common which may affect you and your horse, their are others the Oak, Charlock, Privet & Thistle which can be harmful. Be aware of your surrounding and what is growing around you, and its effects on your animals, also how it may effect others around you.
Best Weed Killer / Ragwort / Weed Treatment.
This is just to give a brief idea of how weed growth can occur if not controlled and repeated over and over, especially if your land is prone to infestation from neighboring land.
Herbicide – Weed Killer :
A herbicide is a Pesticide used to kill unwanted plants. Selective Herbicides kill certain targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed.
|Quick Reference Chart For Paddock Weed Killers|
|Safe On New Grass||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Pack Size||10L||5L or 10L||2L||1L||5L||10L||2L||3L||5L|
|= Best Control BS = Boom Sprayer KS = Knapsack Sprayer|
Key: The more drops the more effective the product.
The table above is a selection of a few of the more common products available, their use and effectiveness on which pasture weed you want to select depending on your problem to solve horse pasture weed control. It is best to seek advise on the best product off your supplier or the person applying the product and always read labels and be sure of the effects.
Horse Pasture Weed Control:
Total Weed Kill Spraying.
A City & Guilds Qualification PA1 and PA6, must be held for this application to be done and proved by the operator. This is a very effective method of chemical Horse Pasture Weed Killing. The operator can cover alot of ground quickly and effectively ensuring a calculated coverage, effectiveness is dependent on product used and when.
As above with the Spraying but a more directly applied approach to the problem Weeds.
A good temporary surface solution to weeds but not really advised for weed killing as the roots often still remain, Weeds being Weeds will grow back at a stronger rate and probably be more of an issue, if cutting are not collected can also help with the spread of Weeds so not really advised.
Like with the mowing is a temporary solution, cutting back to the ground but you will be back their time and time again repeating this, useful were chemical treatment is not allowed or is an issue if grazing needs to be more prominent but cutting must be collected and disposed of properly. The use of the correct tools for the job and correct health and safety guild-lines must be followed reading the operators instructions is a must.
The total organic solution to weed control as with mowing and strimming not totally effective as you do need to kill the root of the problem, but if your prepared to Weed the field or have an army of people its the least invasive way to control weeds, using the correct tools helps, again the proper disposal of the weeds must be followed.
Pasture Fertilizer / Seeding.
Once you have Weed Killed your Horse Pasture, It may be a good idea to Fertilize & Seed the area after all if grass grows instead it may discourage the once Weeds to reoccur giving you more Pasture for Grazing your Horses & Live Stock.
Although this only scratches the surface of a problem, It is hoped it may help out.