Summer of “red” meadows

THowever, last summer offered two massive advantages: the weeds were defeated and the stables’ pastures were rested. The same pasture, which was indispensable last summer, ended up unemployed this year. Summer 2022 will go down in history because of the severe drought and the “red light” meadows are undoubtedly part of that. Autumn is now approaching and let’s just hope we have enough bran for the next winter…

mow early

Small patches of pasture have their advantages. You can provide them with fertilizer by spreading it by hand, if the tractor is out of reach of the meadow after a wet winter. That was the case last winter and who knows maybe next spring will be no different.

If you feed your lawn with lime cyanamide, nitrogen and/or complex fertilizer at the end of February – beginning of March, you can look forward to an early mowing, and even a fairly heavy first mowing … at the end of May / beginning of June! There were as many owners of horses in that period as chickens and these were the lucky ones, because then the growth of the grass stopped completely due to drought. In short, the first cut came early this year for many.

As a small horse owner in late spring, if you are the first to turn to a contractor for making small packs of hay, the machines sometimes still go into winter mode. With roughly 50-100 small squeeze packs and/or packaging, you’re a little… missing out. An approach, patience, and trusting relationship with the contractor can help. This way you can tell him that your pasture has already been fertilized at the beginning of March… and that you may have knocked on his door earlier for the employment contract. It may be elaborate, but in many cases it works miracles. After all, a contractor is only human!

And we’d better get used to the fact that we’re heading into more and longer droughts. So making an initial cut early is here to stay.

red light promoter

In general, many horse owners were able to reap a tough first piece. This is both valuable and cost-effective, given that the shortage is now taking a threatening form. Every horse owner has already had to use his stock of bristle to feed the horses in the pasture in the last months, from July to August, while we are otherwise talking about November and December.

Many of the second and third cuts were cut in the meantime, leading to a market shortage. Last year we had a very humid summer, with a wide variety of hay and hay. It is a fact now that there will be hoarding this year. Anyone who has switched to a delayed nitrogen application can hope that the rain we get now will ‘flare up’ their lawn. This is not enough to shear horses, but it is an occupational treat for grazing, albeit without much nutritional value.

Find alternatives

Are there alternatives to saving as much hay or hair loss as possible for the winter? Still, though, this means a bit of our budget. Herb blends have been on the market for quite some time now. This is usually from last year’s harvest. So it is widely available, but not cheap. Alfalfa is chopped and will remain readily available through the coming winter. By feeding this roughage to our horses, say during the day from now on, we are keeping green roughage to ourselves for the coming winter months.

Lucerne is also available as hay, a crop that can tolerate drought much better than grass. A roundup of the internet teaches you that it is very easy to buy alfalfa hay, sometimes in Belgium, or more often in the Netherlands or France. Alfalfa hay is very nutritious and leafy and you need to feed less of it. It is definitely worth looking for, especially if it is necessary to winterize breeding mares, ponies and young horses in the stable.

Gymnastics across (language) boundaries is worthwhile, if you can be sure to get through winter with minimal roughness with a clear conscience.

Feeding a portion of alfalfa during the day allows you to save your own bran in the evening and at night. The disadvantage of alfalfa is that old horses can only tolerate thicker legs with difficulty due to the wear of their teeth. These horses fare better with shredded grass blends, which are now available even to “older adults.” Facing a growing demand in the market, sun-dried alfalfa hay is a drought-tolerant crop and therefore less sensitive to the dry summer.


Forage beets and alfalfa are actually forage crops for horses that we can look forward to as we approach the drier summers. Those who are lucky enough to own a plot of land to produce their own bran can exchange ideas about this. Forage beet tolerates hot summers well. Although they are forgotten by many ready to eat Feed and blended, they remain a delight for the horse in winter.

The fodder beet is easy to store without frost. Horses love to nibble in the winter months. Always make sure to clean it of soil before serving it to your horse. Always choose fodder beets, not sugar beets!

Patricia Bourguignon

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