Sustainable Pasture Management for Horses

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $79,100.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $15,000.00
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Dr. Carey Williams
Rutgers University Department of Animal Sciences

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, feed rations, manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, range improvement, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: no-till, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, application rate management
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, indicators, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wetlands
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, competition, compost extracts, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, physical control, prevention, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The goal of the Sustainable Pasture Management for Horses project is to develop a pasture management program for horse farms in New Jersey and surrounding states in the mid-Atlantic region. Of the thousand-plus agricultural extension agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) representatives, and other related agency and industry professionals in NJ, MD, DE, northern VA, eastern PA, and southern NY, 25 professionals will understand and advocate best pasture management practices and will help farm managers adapt better manure management, reduce weed competition, increase nutritive value, and promote application of fertilizers to maintain soil nutrients based on soil tests in their pastures.

    This sustainable emphasis over a three-year period will lead to improved pasture quality and water-soil conditions. We seek to accomplish this through the professional development of extension agents and other industry professionals as field consultants and advisors. The essential elements of this pasture project include regional training meetings for extension, NRCS, and other industry professionals to test soils and pasture forage for nutrient content, provide material accessible via web site, and offer video documentation. Some of the key educational components include soil fertility, weed control, poisonous plants, grass species selection, selecting hay, pasture composition, paddock design and fencing, on-farm strategies to protect water quality, manure management, mosquito breeding sites, and proper fertilization based on soil test results.

    This project will expand the knowledge base at the extension staff and industry professional levels; it will also provide a longer-term programmatic focus on sustainable pasture management. Our goal will be monitored by pre- and post-project soil and forage analysis, photo and video documentation, website expansion and surveys from each of the professionals in the participating states.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Of the thousand-plus agricultural extension agents, NRCS, and other related industry professionals within the mid-Atlantic region, 25 of these professionals will understand and advocate best pasture management practices; this group will then help farm managers to adapt better manure management, reduce weeds, and increase native nutrition, improve water quality, and maintain proper nutrient soil loads in their horse pastures.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.