(Click on the title for a link to the Western Organic Network)
I have a field where I keep a horse and would like to improve the quality of the grass. How could I do this organically? Thanks T. D. by e-mail
It sounds as though you are on your way to improving the grass by having the horse turning it’s food into manure for you. Mineral fertilizer is not usually put on to organic grassland; instead legumes (such as clover) are usually grown to fix the nitrogen. Manures such as the horses and even slurry are added too. Research has shown that the most active soil is the one that doesn’t have any type of fertilizer. So there must be other factors at work such as the Ph of the soil, soil depth and the density of the plant roots. If you feel that you need to know more on the subject, the Western Organic Network will soon be running a course on the subject under the heading of Livestock - Grassland & Soil Management
This is a one-day course in Clare, (sorry you have missed the Leitrim one!) to enable farmers to increase grassland production for fodder and thereby reduce reliance on external feed inputs. The areas covered will be on maintaining the flora and diversity in the fields, analysing the soil structure, grass seeding, clover swards and fodder production. There will be a small fee of €20 for the day. Check out the Western Organic website for more information about the course and other ones that could be of interest to you over the year.