Pasture Improvement Costs

5 posts

Member for

10 months 3 weeks
Last seen: 01/14/2019 - 20:42
Joined: 01/14/2019 - 19:30

Pasture Improvement Costs

Hello All, We are interested in buying some acreage (10-15 acres) in the southern tablelands area, just outside the ACT. I grew up with performance horses and aim to have a few based on our intended new home. I'm sure we'll have lots of questions for the forum as we learn more about the process, but the first I'd like to throw out relates to the cost of pasture improvement. While I understand this is sort of a "How long is a piece of string?" question, can anyone provide generic guidance on how much we should expect to budget for soil testing, additional top soil and turnover, herbicides, seeding, etc. to bring the typical unimproved pasture profile of this area up to the standard needed for horses in medium work?

Last seen: 12/10/2019 - 21:56
Joined: 02/28/2011 - 14:19

Hi Nick,

Welcome to the small farms forum and thanks for the question.

An estimated cost to establish the improved pasture for horses would be approximately $400-$600 per ha, and will vary depending on the type of pasture and rate to be sown. Getting the weeds under control (particularly any grasses as you cant spray a grass weed out of a grass pasture) will be essential, which would require multiple sprays prior to planting. 

Before anything get a complete soil analysis done which will cost around $220 and will show which soil nutrients are limiting and need correcting.

You could look at using a turf type fescue or ryegrass, a cheaper alternative would be to use kikuyu which forms a strong mat and will stand up to horses hooves. This can be broadcast with fertiliser and rolled/watered in.

We sell a range of commercial soaker hoses which would be suitable for establishing the pasture

Hope this information helps.


Last seen: 03/05/2019 - 19:50
Joined: 03/05/2019 - 17:17

Hello, I have 50 acres - a mix of forest and pasture and run 7 horses in light work. We have a lot of native greasses like microlenia (along with cocksfoot some clover and rye grass although it is all very dry at the moment.)
I have been rotating/resting paddocks as I have some at risk laminitic ponies so have had to set up some sacrificial paddocks where the ground cover is getting less than 70% which i know is a concern but keeps their weight under control. I'm feeding those horses some lucerne and 007 to supplement their diet given the pasture is getting a bit poor through summer. However, the other rested paddocks where the non laminitic at risk horses are now have lot of long and rank microlenia (a native grass) given that paddock has been rested but now I've put the horses onto it, they are trampling the long grass (definitely not eating it) but scrounging for what is underneath. I don't have the option of running cattle through it to keep down the long rank native grass down so was wondering, given it's a small area if I should slash it or is that long grass actually protecting/acting like living mulch especially when its hot and dry? Or is this long rank grass actually removing the light and suffocating what grass there is underneath which the horses do like and just have to snuffle around the long grass to get?
I read another article on this forum suggesting slashing results are varied though so not sure what to do in the case of horses. Given it is a small area we can slash fairly cheaply but I also don't want to accidentally remove the rank grass in case it can be used as winter feed when choice gets more limited? So to slash or not in the situation outlined above?!

Any thoughts on any of this?!

Last seen: 11/28/2019 - 21:00
Joined: 10/20/2019 - 20:11

HI all, can anyone suggest a soil testing mob that isn't too expensive? im in Bungonia just south of Marulan

Last seen: 12/10/2019 - 21:56
Joined: 02/28/2011 - 14:19

You can use APAL, I think most agricultural soil testing laboratories will have similar pricing.

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