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Farm Tips for June

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Providing winning solutions for horse management and the environment since 1997

Farm Tips for June

Alayne Blickle

Eliminate Flies and Mosquitoes:

  • Set up non-toxic pheromone attractant fly trap bags (as shown above) around perimeters of horse areas so as not to attract flies into stables.
  • Place non-toxic, sticky traps and lures (available in large sheets) inside stables.
  • Purchase beneficial insects, such as nematodes or fly parasites, to put near manure piles and breeding grounds to keep fly populations from exploding.
  • Purchase mosquito traps for problem, air-born areas, and mosquito dunks for non-potable water sources. Empty containers with stagnant water weekly.
  • Use odor neutralizers in paddocks and stalls, such as Sweet PDZ (zeolite), or enzyme deodorizers.
  • Spray or sprinkle paddocks with naturally occurring microorganisms to decompose organic matter and eliminate fly attracting odors; microorganisms are available from Arbico and other online retailers.
  • Keep wild helpers, such as bug-eating birds, happy, by supplying them with a water source and shelter.

Keep Pastures and Plants Productive:

  • Add finished compost to pastures to provide them with water-holding organic material and micro-nutrients. Dress pastures with one-half inch or less at a time.
  • Circle trees, shrubs and cover flower beds with compost to prevent weeds and to help retain moisture. Spread compost three inches thick; avoid piling compost directly against trunks and stems of plants.
  • Get your soil tested to find out what your specific grass plants and soil need in the way of nutrients. Contact your local conservation district or extension office for a soil test kit; many universities provide online soil testing services by mail.
  • Wait to fertilize or amend your soil until fall if you are not irrigating; summer months are not a good time to fertilize pasture plants as they can only utilize nutrients when they are actively growing. Also, dry soils may create run-off hazards as nutrients can't be absorbed into them.
  • Spot check for noxious weeds before they go to seed, and for toxic or fatal ones, like tansy ragwort. Pull and discard toxic weeds away from livestock areas.
  • Mow pastures so they are more palatable for horses. Mowing encourages grass plants to produce more leaves, making the plant stand thicker. Mowing also crowds out weeds and keeps them from propagating. Mow before forage plants go to seed (and become dormant) to provide maximum pasture forage.
  • Harrow pastures to spread and break up manure clumps so plants can use the nutrients. Pull a harrow (or piece of chain-link fence) with your tractor or riding lawn mower. Or, simply take a manure fork and distribute/break-up large clumps by hand.
  • Spread pasture seed after harrowing if you have any bare spots or overgrazed areas. Cover seed with compost or soil to give it a fast start and to help keep weeds from taking root.
  • Fence horses and livestock off overgrazed areas (where plants are shorter than three inches) to let pasture plants rest and re-grow.

Protect Farm Equipment:

  • Tune-up your manure spreader. Oil or grease a parts before putting it into action. Check air in the tires and see if you need to grease the bearings or PTO shaft and couplings.
  • Tune-up your tractor. June is a good time to give your tractor the once-over before the heavy-use season. Perform annual maintenance: an oil change, check/change the fuel and air filters, grease all the fittings, check the hydraulics, and check the tires.
  • Check your mower deck and other implements you use during the season on your property. Sharpen mower blades, and check that all your equipment is in working order now, before you need to use it.

Check out more tips on our solutions tab!