Do you take care of your underground herd?

Did you know that in addition to a beautiful herd of horses on the grass, you also have an even more diverse herd to care for under the grass?

Your underground herd, also called soil life, has a major influence on the growth of grasses, herbs and other plants on your plot. By eating organic manure, crop residues and green manures, soil life releases the nutrients that are indispensable for the plant. At the same time, soil life itself also functions as food for many species of birds and other animal species. In addition, active soil life helps to retain water and drain it if necessary. Very useful in times of drought or extreme rainfall. Reason enough to take good care of it!

What does your underground herd look like?

Your underground herd is hopefully very diverse. Many bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, sprinttails, mites, enchytraea, centipedes, insects, spiders, earthworms and moles live there.

The extent to which the different species occur in a soil varies greatly depending on soil type and land use. We are especially big fans of earthworms. There are several types of earthworms, the two main ones are:

  1. The Building Pre-occupants . These are worms that mainly live in the building layer and mainly move horizontally in the top 30 cm (the building furrow) of the soil.
  2. Then you have the commuters. These are worms that dig up to several meters deep into the soil and therefore move vertically (shuttling) between different soil layers.

It is especially the latter species that is very interesting: Commuters provide deep tunnels that allow better root penetration in the soil. The tunnels ensure that air can penetrate the soil and that water finds its way to deeper soil layers. The drainage capacity of the soil is at least 10 times better with a healthy worm population than with a plot without worms.

What does your underground herd eat?

Soil animals eat different types of food. They feed on dead organic matter such as manure, leaves, branches and roots, and bacteria and fungi that end up on the soil. Eating dead organic matter regulates the breakdown, conversion and storage of important minerals and trace elements and supports the soil structure.

Cycle EH10

Give not only your above-ground but also your underground herd 24/7 room to move!

You know that exercise is very important for your horses. Important for the musculoskeletal system, digestion and overall well-being. This is no different for your underground herd. Compaction, liquid manure, over-fertilization, use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides make your soil life less active and healthy. You must therefore prevent this to maintain healthy and active soil life. Just like a healthy horse, you enjoy a healthy soil life more. For example, healthy soil life helps you with:

  • Decomposition of plant remains, manure and dead soil organisms and the release of nutrients from these (mineralization) that can be absorbed by your grass.
  • Build-up of organic matter that is broken down only slowly (humus build-up, humification).
  • Building a good soil structure.
  • Loosening soil that is too dense by digging tunnels.
  • Formation of mucilage that cements the soil particles together.
  • Mixing organic and inorganic soil parts.
  • Limiting excessive numbers of disease-causing organisms.

All this contributes to the development of a healthy horse pasture for your above-ground herd.

Will you also take care of both herds from now on?

You have now certainly got an idea of ​​the importance of healthy soil life. But how do you know the status of your underground herd? And how do you know what nutrition your underground herd needs? We are happy to help you with a soil analysis and appropriate fertilization advice. Then you will know how to feed and care for your underground herd for the next 4 years, so that they in turn support the development of a low-sugar, structure-rich and therefore healthy grassland for your above-ground herd.

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