Thursday, 4 July 2019

All about GRASS!

What an incredible growing season we are having - these are photos of 3 of our hayfields and I don't think I have ever seen this amount of grass by this time of year (because we are high on Exmoor our season is usually a lot shorter and sparser than elsewhere in the south of England).
We have a good variety of different species in our fields and the diversity becomes even more apparent a little later in the season when everything is in full flower.
We of course use this grass to make our winter forage - in our case haylage because our weather conditions mean its not really possible to make or store hay with any degree of consistency. So what's the point of this post?
Basically, old permanent pasture and wild flower meadows like these, which have a rich range of different plants and herbs, can grow the most fantastic forage for horses. Its a world away from the single-species monoculture which you so often see in the countryside but it has countless benefits: providing habitat for other plants and animals, providing safe, low sugar forage with a good range of minerals for our horses and boosting the threatened biodiversity of our environment.

So if you have old-fashioned hayfields cherish them, if you know farmers who maintain them, encourage and support them by buying their hay or haylage and if there is nothing like this in your area, lobby for something more beneficial than acres of high-sugar rye-grass!


Pat v d B said...

I should have known your attitude to grass pastures and their biodiversity would be of this nature! So super to read and no doubt an important part of your wonderful success in rehabilitating the hooves. How wonderful it will be when more will follow your example. A very encouraging and inspiring read - thank you!

Nic Barker said...

Thank you Pat - I certainly have found that what is good for horses and hooves is also good for insects and plants - its truly a win-win situation as far as I can see :-)