Abstract

This paper describes the on-farm pasture management of Standardbred broodmares on commercial breeding farms in New Zealand using data collected from three studies. The pasture on offer was typically ryegrass (70% (IQR 50-70), clover (15% (IQR 15-22), and fescue (12% IQR 6-22). Other species present included cocksfoot and plantain (10% on one farm). Weed content was low at 5% (IQR 4-8). During winter, on two farms mares were break-fed on crops of kale, standing oats and Italian ryegrass. Through the year there was limited variation in the nutritive composition of the pasture with a DM of 17±0.3%, ME of 11±0.1 MJ/kg DM and crude protein of 23±0.5%. Horses were managed using a semi-set-stocked pattern (1.7 mares/ha; 2.6 weanlings/ha). Pasture DM on offer for mares ranged from 1700-2500 kg DM/ha and 2500-3000 kg DM/ha for weanlings, which were also offered ~1.5 kg/ day (as fed) of pre-mixed concentrates. To manage pasture quality and minimise the establishment of lawns and roughs, paddocks on all farms were harrowed and cross-grazed with sheep or cattle. The management system described, while similar to that of Thoroughbreds, differs with the offering of crops to mares during winter and a higher BCS of mares. Keywords: horse; pasture; Standardbred; management; mare

CW, Rogers, A Herbst, K Langhans, R Stone, R Hirst, EK Gee, and PJ Back

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 80, Online, 84-89, 2020
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