Pasture has the potential to provide
1. The horses nutrition
2. A Safe exercise area
Potentials rarely achieved, often neglected

All information given here is believed to be correct but the author cannot be responsible for any consequences of it's use.

Pasture Management

by Denis Lindsell
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Acidity and Liming

Many soils will naturally become acidic due to the effect of rain water (which is naturally slightly acidic) moving through the soil and washing out the alkaline minerals.
Acidity can be determined by having a soil analysis carried out, and you will be told the result as a pH figure.
The pH scale has a range approximately from -1 to 15 with a figure of 7 being neutral. A ph of below 7 is acidic, and a pH above 7 is alkaline. Grass does not infact need a neutral soil, but ideally needs the pH to be around 6.0 to 6.5.
The pH affects the growth of grass because it has a significant effect on the availability of nutrients to the plants as illustrated on the diagram below.

Diagramshowing the effectofsoil pH on the availability of important nutrients

For each mineral, the width of the band represents the availability of that mineral at the pH indicated at the bottom of the diagram.
As can be seen, the nutrients normally suppllied as fertiliser - N,P,K, become much less available in acidic conditions.
Also important is the fact that some minerals, particularly aluminium (Al) become more available to the plants and will be taken up in such quantities that they become toxic, reducing the plants ability to grow.

If the pH of your paddock is found to be below 5.5, lime should be applied to correct this.

Other benefits from liming.

The addition of lime can improve the structure of heavy soils by a process known as the 'flocculation of clay particles', where the lime causes the clay particles to clump together. This can result in a better structure, providing larger spaces for water and air to move through the soil.

The test tubes shown below both contained a clay soil mixed with water. Lime has been added to the right hand tube, and within minutes it can be seen that the soil particles are clumping together due the flocculation effect, and falling to the bottom of the tube.

Photograph showing laboratory experiment to illustrate flocculation of clay particlesin test tubes

Types of Lime

The type of lime you should use will depend on whatever is available locally, and you should consult you local liming contractor.