Evaluating the Impact of Continuous Grazing in Pastures on Soil Quality in Central and Western Kentucky

Project Abstract

Rotational grazing in horse pastures is the main way to ensure that the fields of pastures stay fresh and green. Horses require maximum amounts of grazing each day to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The soil is ultimately one of the most important factors in growing good grasses. Continuous grazing on pastures can cause the grasses to die out and not grow back. Horses staying in one pasture all the time will cause degradation of the soils. These soils tend to have higher pH because of the loss of nutrients from the grasses (Waite, 2004). Continuous grazing also causes the soil to become compacted down and to stunt plant growth because of the major compaction of the soil. When horses are rotated about different fields, the soils get a break and have time to grow and breathe with the changing pastures (Waite, 2004). Horses also enjoy the fresh long grasses that appear after that certain field has caught a break. This research project plans to focus on the effects continuous grazing on soils in the Western and Central parts of Kentucky. In this project, soil samples will be taken from two different locations, a farm located in Murray Kentucky and then a farm located in Lexington Kentucky. These two locations will give good indications of how continuous grazing effects the different soil types in Kentucky. The samples taken from the two locations can help give indication of what happens to soil as horses stay on the same pasture for numerous amounts of time. The information from this research will be beneficial for helping horse owners understand the importance of switching pastures every couple weeks. The data from this study will contribute to the study of soil science and helping the horse industry understand more about the benefits of good soil management.

Funding Type

Research Grant

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture


Animal Equine Science


Bachelor in Science




Lin Handayani

Academic College

Hutson School of Agriculture

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