As horse owners, it is our responsibility to produce and maintain pastures that are both plentiful and nutritious for our animals. To achieve this goal, we have historically relied on fertilization programs that employ petrochemical-based products.
Although these products stimulate plant growth in the short-term, their extended use can disturb the natural balance of pH, microbe population and mineral composition within the soil. Over time the soil's natural ecosystem deteriorates, making it harder and harder to achieve our goal.
Moreover, petrochemical-based products can expose our horses to unhealthy and potentially toxic environments. The Atlanta Equine Clinic receives over 100 inquiries per year about the potential effects of petrochemical-based fertilizers on horses.
It is for this reason that we have investigated alternate fertilization strategies for our clients.
Specifically, we were looking for a fertilization program that was:
organically-based, and therefore safe for horses
natural to the soil and environment
effective at stimulating root surface area and growth
capable of producing thicker and taller grass
quicker at producing results
healthy for the soil's natural ecosystem
In the process of investigation, we have learned that in order to be successful, we must 1) Reestablish the soil's natural microbe population, 2) Feed the microbes and 3) Replenish the soil's nutrients.
Reestablishing the Soil's Natural Microbe Population
We recommend a product called Thicker Horse Pasture™. This product is a proprietary all-natural microbial soil enhancement with a mycorrhrizal additive.
Thicker Horse Pasture™ uses "trained" microbes to restore and strengthen the ecosystem within soil. By accelerating the process of breaking down nutrients, the plant can absorb more. This results in grasses that grow stronger, faster and earlier. Over time the soil's pH is restored naturally.
The 2010 National Agriculture Statistics Service reported the average fertilizer treatment cost was $252/acre. Microbe technology is available at a fraction of that price.
Learn more HERE.
Feeding the Microbes
The product that we recommend is called Soilfertil™. This company has devised a way to take an overabundance of food residuals and turn them into an effective, organic, and inexpensive soil amendment.
Food residuals are constantly generated by the commercial sector (which consists of grocery chains, food processing/preparation facilities, restaurants, etc.). In most cases, the residuals are disposed in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities. There, they generate excessive odor, fruit fly proliferation and green gas emission.
These source-separated food residuals are collected and serve as the feedstock for SOILFERTIL™. Soilfertil's processing method eliminates the environmental issues faced by commercial sectors and produces a liquid concentrate that is a cost-effective, environmentally-beneficial replacement for petrochemical-based fertilizers.
Learn more HERE.
Replenishing Soil Nutrients
As soil microbes and plants flourish, valuable nutrients are utilized. AGGRAND® products contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as primary macronutrients and calcium, magnesium and sulfur as secondary macronutrients... All of which are the major drivers for plant growth and development:
Nitrogen is a component in all proteins that dictates the function of the plant cell.Nitrogen deficiency results in plants with stunted growth.
Phosphorus is needed to convert light energy to chemical energy. It is essential for plant growth, flower and seed production.
Potassium regulates stomata activity for gas exchange, reduces water loss and increases drought tolerance.
Calcium regulates nutrients entering the plant and activation of plant enzymes.
Magnesium is an important component of chlorophyll where photosynthesis takes place.
Sulfur is important in the composition of the chloroplasts, amino acids and vitamins.
Learn more about AG Grand products HERE.