Weeds! Your Horse & A Poisonous War.
Weeds! Your Horse & A Poisonous War
Weeds, some good? Mostly bad, and some very toxic to your horse and livestock. Often called the lucky country, Australia has its share of insects, animals and reptiles that will happily bite, sting or chew your arm off and we wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, when it starts attacking our beloved horses and livestock from the ground up with poisonous and toxic weeds – It becomes personal, very personal.
Weeds & Your Horse…
Weeds are everywhere, we know that. But poisonous ones and the management of these weeds, should be at the top of any horse property owners list. This is particularly important at this time of the year. There are around 100 common pasture weeds that can be toxic to horses and livestock. Some have mild affects if eaten. Some can be very deadly depending on the stage of growth, condition of plant, and seasonal environmental conditions. Other weeds have fast acting toxins that cause acute poisoning. Some are slower causing chronic poisoning. Many weeds can cause different reactions in your horse ranging from laminitis and stringhalt to kidney failure and even death. Here’s just a few of the more common weeds that are toxic in some way to your horse: Paterson’s Curse, Cape Tulip, Capeweed, Deadly Nightshade, Paddy Melon, Catsear, Lupin, Mallow, Perennial Ryegrass, Dandelion and Red Clover.
Doom & gloom aside, what can we do, you ask?
Identify and destruct, or at least start making a plan to. Start small. If that’s what your time or budget allows, pick the small paddock, but just start somewhere. The longer you wait and watch those weeds grow from the back porch sipping a cheeky white wine and nibbling on Tasmania’s finest blue cheese, the more those blisters will bleed on the hoe. Even better, implement an Integrated Weed Management strategy. This involves combining different control methods including chemical & mechanical approaches if you can. Most of the time chemical application is the most cost effective and least destructive course of action, but if it not your cup of English breakfast, then get out your grandma gloves and pull, dig, scratch and drag those weeds out of the ground.
Winter is the time for a stroll in the paddock…
Get down in the dirt and roll in it, whatever floats your boat, just get out there and take a look around. Often, at this time of the year we look out from the fence line and don’t want to get our feet wet. It’s cold, sometimes muddy and motivation isn’t at its all time high. But your toxic weeds love that, in fact, they thrive on it.
Most of us have come to terms with sighting weeds around the pasture. Every year we know they are coming, some of us hide under a rug but some of us scratch out a line in the sand & declare war. No matter which side of the rug you are on – Winter is the time for weeds and control time is now.