The University of Kentucky (UK) initiated its Horse Pasture Evaluation Program in 2005, which has since grown along with its number of participants. Sponsored by UK Ag Equine Programs, the program was started as a way to develop stronger ties with Kentucky’s equine industry.
The program’s goals are to provide detailed pasture management recommendations to horse farm owners and managers; help improve pastureland to increase quality and quantity of pasture as a feed source and reduce the need for stored feeds such as hay and grain; and to assess the potential risk of fescue toxicity of individual pastures to pregnant broodmares. The Horse Pasture Evaluation program has maintained several farms as regular clients while attracting new clients each year.
By the end of 2011 the Horse Pasture Evaluation Program had conducted more than 100 evaluations, representing more than 16,000 farm acres in 16 counties across the state. Along with county agents and extension programs and field days, the Horse Pasture Evaluation Program is a valuable tool to help horse farm managers and horse owners make better pasture management decisions.
The program will continue offering two packages in 2012: a complete evaluation option for larger farms and a small farm option for horse farms. Both are available statewide.
Holly Wiemers, MA, is communications director for UK Ag Equine Programs.