Pastures provide needed nutrients and food to horses and other livestock. They may look simple and beautiful to grow, but pastures can take years to fully develop into lush, full grass. This holds true especially when you are growing a very large amount of pasture grass, because it is a challenge to care for large amounts of land. Once the pasture begins to grow, it does not take long for it to get out of hand unless you have livestock that is grazing frequently. There is a bit more to growing pasture grass than regular grass.
Choose a grass that is suitable for your area and for the livestock that will be grazing. Consider whether the pasture will get a lot of exposure to sun or if the area is in a lot of shade. You may want to plant a mixture of several types of grass, and make sure you know exactly what the grasses will need in terms of maintenance.
Test the soil for proper pH levels. If you are reseeding a previous pasture that was not successful, the problem may have been the acidity in the soil. You want the soil pH to be around 6.5 for pasture grass. You can achieve this by adjusting the amount of fertilizer. Apply lime if the levels are too high and use manure compost if the levels are too low.
Remove all weeds before you plant your pasture grass. The easiest way to do this is to use a sprayer and apply a herbicide. Wait at least 10 days after you spray the herbicide to plant your seed. You may need to apply two applications of herbicide to get rid of all of the weeds. Wait 2 weeks before the second application and again wait at least 10 days before you plant your seed.
Use a seed broadcaster to distribute the seed over the area that is to be used as pasture. This is the best method for large areas and it will ensure an even application of seed. Use approximately 1 lb. of seed per 1,000 square feet of land. Seed should be planted at a depth of ¼ to ½ inch.
Irrigate the pasture so that you can provide the new seed with enough water to grow. Newly seeded pasture should be watered daily until the new seedlings have been established. Once you see the plants, you can reduce the amount of times you water each week by half.
Allow your pasture grass to get to a height of at least 10 to 12 inches before you allow livestock to begin grazing. When the grass gets down to a level of 3 to 4 inches you will need to allow it to rest, or move your livestock to another area, until the grass grows back up.