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PADDOCK
CARE
 
Stonethorpe’s Paddock Care division is dedicated to the development and up keep of your equine grounds. Our detailed knowledge and experience in this field means we can help you maximise the performance of your equine grounds, season upon season.   The following information details just some of our specialised care processes and treatments that can be tailored to suit your requirements and/or scale of equine operation.   As with all Stonethorpe services, we will consult directly with you to make sure you receive the very best service level.

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Topping – The aim of this simple process covers several different areas. Firstly by topping at the correct time of the year it will prevent the heads going to seed thus preventing any weeds from spreading.

Secondly the cutting of grass encourages the grass to tiller which means increasing the amount of valuable, youthful and fresh leaves on the stalk of the grass. This generates a higher percentage output of grass per m2 and therefore decreasing the surface area for weeds to grow.

Thirdly it increases the amenity value of the land. Stonethorpe Equine uses a trailed side shift topper (as seen in the picture) eliminating the possibility of partly cut tractor wheel marks and guaranteeing an even quality finish.

With the ever increasing prices and demand from land and its feed output this is a simple process to help ease those burdens. We would recommend topping every 8-9 weeks through the spring and summer months with a finishing top in the autumn ready for the winter.

Rolling – This process is mainly focused at sealing new overseeded ground or flattening severely poached ground from the winter months and is therefore generally carried out in the Spring. This time of the year is also ideal rolling conditions. If too wet marks will be made by the tractor and roller and the ground will be compacted, decreasing the amount of air pockets in the ground for grass roots to grow. If the ground is too hard then this operation will not be effective. The rolling will also firm, not compact ground, reducing hoof damage during grazing.

Harrowing – Stonethorpe Equine uses spring tine grass harrows. The reason why these are the best is because the tines keep constant vibrating pressure on the ground and this pressure can be altered pending conditions and requirements.

The concept behind harrowing covers several issues. Any dead matter and molehills will be scratched out of the ground. Light poaching will be raked and levelled. Lastly and importantly the slight groves created in the ground will mean air can get around the crowns of the grasses and create a healthier environment for growth and increase grass coverage per m2.
  Subsoil ground lift and for compaction problems – In every walk of life, living organisms need to breathe to stay alive. The surface grass has the space to breath around the leaves and the roots also need this space. But over time through grazing, machinery running over the ground to natural settlement the soil gets compacted thus reducing the size of the air pockets where the grass roots source their water and air from. The smaller the pockets the less healthy the grass therefore decreasing grass output and increasing the surface area for weeds to take up residence.

Subsoiling lifts the ground underneath the topsoil layer fracturing this layer and increasing the air pockets size and quality. The shark fined roller on the subsoiler punctures the top surface to give a top effect to the seed bed layer with a single layer of spring tines to scratch the top surface both these processes complement the subsoiling giving an overall finish which we refer to it as the “sandwich effect”.

Slitting and Aeration – This slitting process will alleviate surface compaction problems and aerate the turf to a depth of 100mm.

Overseeding
– This operation is a key ingredient to re-establishing good pasture structure. We are able to broadcast the seed between the spring tines of the grass harrows or use a slot seeding to obtain a higher percentage success rate. Slot seeding creates a grove in the ground to house the seed in the seed bed. It is dropped into this slot and then a roller is used immediately to seal the ground and protect the seed giving it the right environment to germinate. This means the temperatures and moisture content in the ground helps the seed to sprout and start photosynthesising whilst protecting the seed attack from birds, weathering and external influences. There are many different grass seed mixes you can used pending upon your requirements. These can even be applied to small scale patches or the entire paddock. All in all the quantity and quality of your feed output from your land will be increased.
  Soil Analysis – Stonethorpe uses its experience and knowledge to find the answers to the questions posed by your land and to reach maximum efficiency. However sometimes the answers lie below the surface and this is where soil analysis really comes into its own. Stonethorpe uses two different soil analysis tests.

An overview test: This measures the general pH of the ground as well as some basic minerals which are found in the soil and are needed for grasses i.e. potash, phosphates etc.

The Comprehensive Test: This test is designed to give every detail of the grounds nutrient, mineral and pH balance because it is sent away for the scientists to test and report the findings. It is the ultimate guide to find the current situation of what your lands contains.

The Process: Stonethorpe will take a random range soil samples from each paddock, to make sure the whole paddock is covered in the final results.

If the “Overview” test is required Stonethorpe will perform the test on these samples. If the “Comprehensive” test is required these samples are sent away to the laboratories.

The reports are then sent back to yourselves. Stonethorpe also send with the report their understanding of the results along with their recommendation and possible operations required to increase the efficiency of your land. Stonethorpe won’t baffle you technical information as it is our job to turn the jargon into understandable information which is key to the client understanding why we suggest certain processes and applications.

A pH balance of 6 - 6.5 should be maintained. To change the nutritional content and pH of the ground is not a quick fix as we are ultimately trying to work with nature so it is a gentle gradual process and doing it this way will give the ground time to adjust. If you have any further questions or queries then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
         
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