Patterson's Curse and horses... help please???

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Patterson's Curse and horses... help please???

Post by AmitolaPintos » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:05 pm

Hi All,
I have read a lot of Peter Andrews work but cannot seem to find explicit info on Patterson's curse.
We have bought 100 acres in the Riverina district, some flat, some hilly, seasonal creek which we will be working on according to PA's suggestions..
It has previously been abused by sheep farming and is now loaded (and I mean covered) with Patterson's curse. If I had sheep or cattle this would be ok, but I will not farm sheep and I do not have cattle.
I do not want to spray it and cannot wait for many seasons to pass of slashing to reduce it... you see..
I have horses and am told that it is especially toxic to horses. I am not willing to risk my valuable stock to PC toxins.
Can anyone tell me a bit more about the relationship between horses and the curse and what I can do to make the land horse friendly..???

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Post by duane » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:48 pm

PC is toxic to horses!! If that is all they have to eat...

This is what the PC is indicating:

*soil is too acidic and high PC is trying to reverse this and make conditions more alkiline
*soil has been flogged in the past
*soil has low fertility

the PC can help correct all of the above.....over time but you need to manage and monitor the situation.

In order for your 100 acres to come back into balance there will need to be other plants present such as grasses and other plant biodiversity.

Don't put your horses onto the paddocks while there is only the PC can kill your horses.

You need to let the PC complete a cycle...then slash it and let the mulch from the PC stay on the ground. Then see what other plant spp comes thru....early spring might be a good time to do this.

Peter had over 400 horses at Tarwyn Park with PC never being an issue because of the presence of great biodiversity and fertility and pH levels more alkaline than what you are presently experiencing.

Others may want to relay their experiences.

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Post by mondo45 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:37 pm


A few years ago we had pretty much total PC cover over much of our 80 acres of pasture. One of the problems with this, as you know, is that PC is an annual, and dies off completely after flowering/seeding, leaving bare paddock. Depending on the pattern of rains, you then get a strike of millions of 'rosettes'.

Until around two years ago (when I learned about Peter's approaches) I was using spray (mostly Igran, but also Estercide and Amicide) to 'control' the PC. (See separate thread on 'Controlling Weeds').

I learned that one of the things to do is to use light harrows to damage the juvenile PC plants, but we didn't do that (no harrows).

Another, now promoted by the Dept of Ag in NSW, is to slash. If you do it at exactly the right time - ie after seed set, but before the seeds mature (the Dept has a brochure on how to pick the right time), you can eliminate most of the seed set. In fact, we found this a bit tricky, since different plants mature at different times which means that in practice it is hard to get exactly the right time.

The other thing we have done is to distribute pasture grass seed (by hand pretty much). The mulch from the slashing seems to provide some protection and moisture to facilitate germination.

Whatever, since stopping spraying for PC, curiously, we have almost no PC now. THere is a fair bit of trust involved (of nature's cycles/processes) but it seems to be working for us. We notice that the clovers and medics are coming back, which can only be good.

Duane is correct in suggesting that you promote biodiversity. If you have enough species competing (Peter suggest around 80 for a healthy pastures) it all comes into balance. This winter, our pastures are looking a picture. Total ground cover, hardly any PC, and quite a lot of feed.

It seems that there is a lot of variation from season to season (nature working its way through it all) with different plants becoming dominant. This past season it was fleabane on much of our place. We are looking forward to spring to see what nature is going to bring us.

In driving around the country, from time to time I have seen pastures totally dominated by PC. In some instances, presumably nothing has been done. It would be very interesting to know what happens on these places. Does anyone know?

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Post by duane » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:04 pm

Great post Mondo....we all learn something everyday from one another.

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Post by duane » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:53 pm

Taken from ... 09_23.html

Equine - Pattersons Curse - How To Protect Your Horses

You should feed your horse Dandelion, Chamomile, Fenugreek, Fennell, Garlic and Rosehips occasionally.

You should allow it access to free choice Kelp, Sea Salt and Dolomite to provide any minerals or trace elements missing from the feed and pasture.

Provide regular opportunities for your horse to graze in laneways or other areas of unimproved pastures and weeds.

Feed meadow hay in preference to cultivated and irrigated Lucerne or other commercial hay.

Reduce your horse's exposure to all commercial processed horse feed products.

Resist the temptation to use poisons either on the ground or in your horse's gut.

Rotate and spell your paddocks regularly.

Protect your ground cover and the colonies of bacteria and fungi, which are the lifeblood of your humus .

Learn to love your weeds. All you need to do to protect your horse from Patterson's Curse poisoning is to change it from a susceptible horse to one which is not susceptible.

If your horse is not nutritionally or environmentally stressed and is free to graze on healthy pasture at times and to choose what it eats, it will not go out looking to poisonous plants for missing minerals or to satisfy its subverted grazing instincts.

AND from ... 045601.htm
Health benefits of Patterson's curse -
Australian's have always thought of Patterson's Curse just as the name implies, a curse. But could the dreaded purple weed one day live up to it's other name of Salvation Jane? Researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered that the seed oil of this plant actually contains the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. Normally these oils are only found in fish. In the modern age of health and beauty, the discovery could bring big financial returns. This remarkable story began in 1996 when Albury Wodonga grain farmer Harry Chisholm asked Dr Colin Duke, a senior lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry at Sydney University to analyse Patterson's Curse.
Harry Chisholm is a Grain Farmer from Albury Wodonga in New South Wales.

Dr Colin Duke is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Sydney University.

There is plenty of info available but it still remains that many of our soils are degraded, low in fertility and biodiversity, as well as being acidic. PC is merely indicating this and this is one of Nature's plants, specialised, to correct these problems.

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