Maryland Equine Rotational Grazing Demo Site to Open

The University of Maryland's 5.5 acre equine rotational grazing demonstration site is set to open its gates in April 2009 to a small herd of grazing horses and hundreds of horse farm operators interested in learning about pasture management practices.

The site, located at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Ellicott City, Md., features four rotational pastures, a laneway that guides horses into a sacrifice area and two smaller paddocks that will be used to test how well Bermuda grass and bluegrass/fescue species hold up to grazing. Another feature of the site is its four different types of permanent perimeter fencing and three different types of removable internal fencing.

"This site will be an incredible tool for teaching horse farm owners about facility development and best management practices that promote productive pastures while enhancing and protecting the environment" said project leader, Amy Burk. "Sometimes it hard to convince farm owners to change their management practices until they see it being done by someone else. We're that someone."

The first educational event of 2009 will be a free Pasture Walk on April 2 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Pasture walks and other educational events will focus on topics including pasture establishment and management, soil testing and fertility, weed control, rotational grazing, safe fencing and gate options, and manure management.

The project was made possible through a collaboration of horse, forage, and soil conservation experts, and supported by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

All educational events will be posted on the Equine Studies Program Web site.  

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