Additional Pasture Planting Options

Alfalfa and clover are rarely used as pasture grasses for horses, but the legumes have the potential to provide high-quality forage, University of Minnesota research shows.

Conducted over multiple years, six horses were used in the study by Devan Catalano, MS, Dr. Craig Sheaffer, PhD, and Dr. Krishona Martinson, PhD. The horses rotationally grazed pastures planted with different grasses. The study sought to evaluate yield, nutritive value, and the horse’s preference of red clover, white clover or alfalfa both in a monoculture and mixed with cool-season grasses.

It was determined that alfalfa and alfalfa-grass pastures had the greatest yields, but by the beginning of the third year, all the pastures were damaged, most likely from a combination of horse hooves, winter weather and grazing pressure. The red and white clover fields had greater damage than the alfalfa fields, as was indicated by more bare ground. When grass was added to the red and white clover fields, the pastures had better ground cover than those planted without grasses.

The horses used in the study showed a preference for white and red clover pastures, but they all readily ate from all of the fields. All of the pastures provided nutrition at a level that exceeded the needs of an idle adult horse.

The study team confirmed that legumes offer horses high nutrition content, produce a high yield and are preferred by horses. All three, alfalfa, white clover and red clover, should be considered as grazing options for horses.

Sign up for the University of Minnesota Extension Horse Newsletter here.

The post Additional Pasture Planting Options appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.