Typically, orchard grass is lower in protein than timothy, but it is a favorite amongst horses and owners. Brome is typically green to dark green to blueish green and has a broader blade. Oat hay is an excellent feed for horses. This digestive arrangement makes the horse better suited to grazing continuously than to having one or two large meals a day. Common bermuda grass does not grow tall enough for hay production, but coastal bermuda grass can be used. It works the same in horses. Orchard grass is a flat leaf, bladed, perennial, cool season, tall-growing grass. Hay analysis can tell you what a hay does and does not have and whether or not you need to be supplementing with something that is missing from your horse’s diet. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. If this is not a viable option, there are hormone stimulating drugs manufactured for mares which can counter the fungus’ effects on them. The flower blooms are small, bright yellow, and form in clusters at the end of the stems. Other horse owners have decided to remove pregnant mares from pastures with infected fescue at least 90 days prior to foaling. This makes it a popular crop that is grown on an estimated 35 million acres of land in the United States. Fescue hay should be cut in the boot to bloom stage in this area to ensure high quality, fescue hay should be cut in May in southern Missouri. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. © Bidgee. See Full Listing. Fields of tall fescue are easily established, tolerate close grazing, handle heavy horse traffic, and resist weeds, insects, and disease. *When in doubt about what hay is best for your horse, consult your vet or an equine nutritionist to determine the best hay for your horse*. Heating will occur and may reduce forage quality, resulting in musty or moldy hay; and in the worst case, it can cause spontaneous combustion. It does spike in sugar production in the fall, so be cautious when grazing or feeding it to sugar sensitive horses. All rights reserved. Depending on the area of the country in which it is grown, oat hay can be low in protein and contain only marginal calcium, phosphorus and carotene. Fescue Hay for Sale. It brought an end to many … To access member-exclusive content on our website, you must login. Clover hays are similar to alfalfa hays because they are legumes. Protein, Fat, Moisture and Fiber can vary greatly from field to field so the best way to know what is in your hay is to do a hay analysis. You can’t tell the NSC by looking at hay; you must get it tested. The benefits of feeding a legume, like alfalfa, but keeping the balance in your horse’s nutrition and energy levels by also feeding them a grass hay. In each of the past 10 years, U.S. farmers have harvested about 60 million acres of hay. Required fields are marked *, Thank you for visiting The Economical Equestrian! The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Before feeding fescue hay to pregnant mares, a horse owner should make sure that the hay is free of the endophyte fungus. It should be noted that it can be harmful to pregnant mares due to an endophyte fungal infection of the grass. It is safe for your horse to consume, unless it is contaminated by the fungus known as Acremonium coenophialum. Fescue Toxicosis in Horses . Fescue is a cool-season forage and provides grazing from mid-March until early June and from September to December. This bacteria “fixes” the nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia, then into ammonium which the plant can then use to make protein. Birdsfoot trefoil is more resistant to negative soil conditions as well as moisture fluctuations. It is also considered very good, economically priced roughage. Discontinue use of hay that causes slobbers, as continued use may lead to health problems. Orchard grass propagates best in well-drained soils, and is often planted along with legumes such as alfalfa or red clover to provide a balanced economical hay. The first cutting will have more weeds and grass; the second cutting is usually clean with small stems. Various mixes are available in baled form, or you can buy bales of legumes and grass, and then vary the feeding. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Once seed pods form they extend away from the stalk and look like a bird’s foot (hence the name). No matter which type of hay you choose, some characteristics should be consistent when looking for high quality hay for horses. So you see, the fescue itself isnt' the problem. It could just be a coincidence between colic symptoms and feeding dry forage though. Feeding cattle, horses and other livestock requires farmers dedicated to producing high quality, nutritious hays. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. Foals may be born weak, and some mares will fail to produce milk. This hay is sometimes referred to as coastal hay and is a shorter plant with fine blades of grass. Fescue is used as a foraging crop because it stands up to repeated close grazing and grows vigorously at low temperatures. Many commercial stables will offer a choice (e.g. It generally has higher nutrient content, yields higher tonnage, especially in the irrigated areas of the western U.S., and brings a higher price than other types of hay. Tall fescue is one of the most the Southeastern United States, ... contained either infected or non-infected tall fescue hay. Slobbers is excessive salivation that generally does not hurt the horse, but is not pleasant to be around. Fescue can be fed to horses, but avoid this hay for pregnant mares. Selecting the best hay for your horse depends on the needs of the horse, where you live and more. Orchard hay is another common type of grass hay – it usually has a thicker blade than timothy hay but can be softer in texture. The application should be made when the clover is actively growing but before it gets too large. © Eastern Tennessee State University. Timothy grows best in areas with abundant day length and moisture. Pick a hay your horse likes to eat. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. Because of palatability issues, horses often waste it, preferring to lie in it than eat it. Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while … Horses love it too! Alfalfa, Clover). Many horse owners prefer a mix of legume and grass hays as an ideal forage for their horses. Instead, alfalfa should make up no more than 20% of your horse’s hay ration. Affected animals may show a staggering gait and urine dribbling. , « The Most Comfortable Cowboy Boots That You Can Wear All Day, What Barn Chores Do You Need To Do Every Day? Fescue Grass Straw is also popular with dairy farmers in the export market and is successfully fed in the beef market. MaxQ®, a non-toxic endophyte Tall Fescue grass introduced to the cattle industry by Pennington Seed over10 years ago is performing exceptionally well and offers similar benefits to the horse industry. What many owners may not realize is that there are some significant health risks associated with horses eating endophyte fungus-infected (El) tall fescue. Timothy grass is grown primarily in the northeastern portion of the United States and also in California and Nevada. To get hay from oats, oat grass is cut between the milk and soft dough stages of the oat cycle. Results indicated no differences in the average daily gain or wither height of the horses on fescue Generally not recommended for horses because of the potential toxicity. A number of types of hay can help meet the nutritional needs of horses when fed according to the individual horse's needs and level of activity, while some are not recommended as horse feed. Fescue hay can cause toxicosis in pregnant mares when they eat tall fescue that is infected with an endophyte fungus, Acremonium coenephialum . Welcome! So this is definitely a regional hay. It is as nutritious as Timothy hay, and its value can be increased by growing it with a legume. But bermuda grass provides a good source of forage for horses. Bermuda is typically the cheapest grass hay you can purchase for a horse. Its proper Calcium to Phosphorus ratio. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. Alfalfa hay should never be fed to animals with urinary tract problems. Keep in mind that even though some of these hays may sound better in their description, ultimately the best hay for your horse is the one they will eat. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. The other three contain 14 to 16 percent crude protein. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional. This higher content of protein and calcium can come with problems. Alfalfa is the most common legume hay for horses. NSC is present in forages that supply fiber in the horse’s diet. EquiMed® and Horse Health Matters® are registered trademarks of EquiMed, LLC. For areas with mild winters, it will provide abundant amounts of forage almost year-round.There are, however, two drawbacks. This is a tall grass that grows well in cool conditions and varies in color from light green, to dark green, to blueish-green. Stay a while and then get out there and ride! Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Timothy hay is 10% protein. Quality cow hay. EquiMed Staff - 05/04/2017 Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. Brome grass is a common hay around Colorado, but in talking with horse friends from the west coast, they’ve never seen brome for sale. © 2020 EquiMed, LLC. Pregnant mares may abort. Typically timothy grass has a finer texture than other grasses. Timothy, bluegrass, orchardgrass, teff, bermudagrass, fescue, reed canarygrass, ryegrass, smooth bromegrass, sorghum, sudan, switchgrass for horses. Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. If horses don’t need additional grain, some people use a ration balancer to make sure a horse is getting all the nutrients they need from their diet. Tall fescue has a high yield. As for your other question, yes, I'd avoid hay that had been treated for weeds. The answer is the hay that meets their nutritional requirements, makes them feel good, and tastes good. Many of you will wonder, what type of hay is best for horses? Tall fescue is an extremely hardy, well-adapted grass species used for hay and pasture in the central and eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Horses when fed hay were offered tall fescue hay at amounts equal to 2 kg/100 kg BW from 1300 to 0700 h. The hay was harvested when plants were in mid to late anthesis 1 yr prior to the experiments start from the same pasture used for the grazing horses. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. © Rasbak. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin A and D without an overload in protein, and it has a better balance between calcium and phosphorus. Light brown hay can indicate that the hay sat too long in the sun drying. The leaves vary from green to bluish green depending on the maturity of the plant. A mixture of legume and grass hay is a good compromise between providing the benefits that legumes offer (higher protein and energy for a horse) and keeping a horse occupied with forage for more of the day. Its substantial content of crude protein and lysine (essential amino acid). Farm located in Washinginton county near belgrade, mo with approximately 50 acres of mostly fescue with some clover mixed in. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. + Free Printable Barn Chores Checklist ». Orchard grass is high in fiber and low in protein to help support a healthy digestive tract. Not endophyte resistant - but straight up tall fescue? There are many different types of grass hay available, although the types of grass available will vary based on your geographic location. alfalfa in the AM and grass in the PM). As many as 700,000 horses may graze fescue pastures or be fed fescue hay each year. People once thought that feeding alfalfa hay to horses caused kidney damage because of increased urination and ammonia production. White and landino clovers are usually grown for pasture. We now understand, however, that excess protein in alfalfa is converted into energy compounds, and the nitrogen produced in this conversion must be eliminated as ammonia. Otherwise, the fescue is fine.. Your email address will not be published. Great for cattle - I gather unless youve got a pregnant horse - otherwise great for horses? 700 Bales of Other Fescue. Both the mare and the foal can be affected. Oat hay, like all grass hays, meets the nutritional needs of herbivores that need high fiber and low protein. Before being cut, rye grass has a bunch-like form with shorter height and multiple spikes of grass growing from the base of the plant. In horses, the impacts are limited to pregnant females, causing longer gestation length, thickened placentas, foaling difficulties, weak foals, and agalactia. Preservative-treated hay has been fed to horses without problems. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. Hay should be harvested in such a way the time between mowing and baling is minimized. Oat hay is best cut when the oat seed is out of the milk stage and into the dough. EquiMed does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Therefore, when purchasing hay for pregnant mares, be sure it is free of fescue. Nutrition. Grass hay comes in many varieties and the best hay can vary from horse to horse. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. Color can vary based on grass type and exposure to sunlight. https://www.economicalequestrian.com/2019/09/02/types-of-hay-for-horses Even when it is, it is usually harvested at a late stage of maturity when palatability and nutrient value are low. Hay can be broken down into two main categories: grass (e.g. A combination of these and other factors make choosing the right type of hay for your horse a challenge, but with a little consideration, you as a horse owner are in a position to analyze and compare and make the best choice for your particular horse. It is relatively palatable to horses and has a fine texture. Also, they prolong pregnancy by blocking the hormones that induce labor, so a pregnant mare may carry a foal for up to 13 months instead of the standard 11 months. 4’x5’ net wrap, barn kept. It is highly palatable and most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. Orchard grass hay is a common component of many hay mixes. Most horse owners are familiar with only a few types of hay, depending on the part of the country in which they live. As more stems are present, the quality of the hay decreases and palatability declines. $45/bale. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. Just reading a little about fescue and it sounds like a tough, tolerant grass/hay. On average, a horse must consume about two percent of its body weight per day to maintain body weight and digestive health. The condition is caused by a fungus,Rhizoctonia leguminicola, commonly known as black patch that grows in clover that is not properly dried prior to baling. © Henrik Sendelbach. Hay or pasture containing a large percentage of alsike clover is generally not recommended for horses because of its toxicity. It is grown on an estimated 35 million acres in the U.S. There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. Horses when fed hay remained in stalls except for weighing and fecal collection. RFV. Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit. It is lower in protein than some other grasses, so you must ensure a horse is getting enough protein in their diet if this is their only forage. This ensures a high quality product still showing some color with good carbohydrate content and sweetness in the stem. The most common symptom is photosensitization or a reaction to light. As we discussed last month, if there is a super grass, it is fescue. Fescue alkaloids can delay a mare's estrus cycle. A hay analysis gives horse owners the level of crude protein, total digestible nutrients, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium in the hay, and can be a valuable investment. Hay should be green. The real problem, however, which is not so readily observed, is liver damage. It is a good source of copper and zinc and has a good balance of protein and energy. If cured correctly, vitamin C content will be high. Pricing is highly regional. Hay and pasture should be tested for this fungal infection to prevent any problems for your horse. Timothy is typically harvested two times per season, the first cutting in early summer and the second cutting in late summer or early fall. Fescue is fine for horses with the exception of pregnant broodmares. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. The choice between alfalfa and oat hay depends on price per unit of energy or protein and the type of horse being fed. 950lb. It can also be used as a treat for adult animals. Timothy hay is a common favorite among horses and owners. Grass hay is exactly what it sounds like – a short leafy plant – while legumes are members of the pea family. Alfalfa hay is one of the most common hays available in the US, making it a popular choice for forage for horses. Some first cutting is also fed to cattle. Fescue is a type of plant native to many regions. Some Bermuda hay is grown in the Imperial Valley of California, a region that provides the right conditions to grow top-quality Bermuda hay. In horses, fescue toxicity can cause reproductive problems. Fescue . The length of time the horse spends foraging for food and the amount of feed eaten at one time are important things to consider. It is drought resistant, resistant to overgrazing and is a high quality nutrient source. Exceptionally drought tolerant, it grows under a wider temperature range than just about any other grass. The Northern Plains has the largest share of hay acreage, at 22 percent. 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