For some horse owners, the gold standard among grass hays is timothy due largely to its extreme palatability. Other weeds may pop up in the bare areas, and bare ground is at higher risk for soil erosion. You have 3 options: If the foxtail infestation is minor, you can overseed with desirable cool-season grasses in the late summer (mid-August to mid-September in Pennsylvania) so that by springtime, the new grass can shade out the foxtail seedlings. Timothy Hay and Native Mountain Meadow High Altitude Grass Hay Mix Our high altitude grown grass hay is a high-quality mix of premium Horizon variety Timothy hay with some Meadow Foxtail hay and native meadow, high altitude grasses and clovers, which is an excellent blend for pleasure, ranch and rodeo horses and especially for prize race horses. Like all forages fed to horses, timothy hay should be free of mold, dust, and weeds. The color is somewhat dependent on the type of hay. “I might shake a couple of handfuls to see how much dust flies off. Pull a leaf away from the stem and examine the area where they meet (this is called the collar region). Understanding the ins and outs of hay selection is an important aspect of horse ownership. The leaves of a foxtail plant may have some hairs as well. Some varieties may have very long and obvious awns, but others may have shorter awns that you need to look for. The presence of mold, unusual growths on leaves, insects, and suspicious plants is noted. Red clover is the most common clover hay because it grows taller than white clover and thus provides more yield per acre. These are what gives foxtail its illustrative name. It provides some variety, although this is not necessarily an advantage, as rabbits often pick out the bits they like, usually the more calorific bits, and leave the rest. Typically timothy grass has a finer texture than other grasses. Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. “Yellow, brown, or otherwise faded hay indicates that it was made at a mature stage, laid in the field longer to dry, or possibly rained on after being cut in the field, all of which would indicate lost nutrients through leaching by the sun or rain,” said Crandell. This hay has adequate protein levels and is particularly suitable for horses, ponies and donkeys prone to laminitis. Each individual seed contains spikes with barbs called “awns," which can lodge in horses' mouths and gums, or even scratch an eye. All Rights Reserved. Next, check for the awns, which look like hairs coming off each tiny seed on the head. Specifically, the orchardgrass/red clover mix is especially useful for picky eaters. While most horse owners are mindful of the hay they offer their horses, Crandell is perhaps more vigilant than most. Photo: Ohio State University. If the hay was baled wet, it might have a distinct smell that results from caramelization of proteins,” remarked Crandell. Crandell uses the same process of evaluating grass hays as she does for legumes. Popular grass hays can be divided into two basic groups, cool-season and warm-season. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. Sign up for free now! I feed timothy hay cubes, but a lot of people feed beet pulp. Crimson clover is another tall-growing type but tends to be higher in indigestible fiber than red clover. “I also look at stem coarseness, as this tells me the stage of maturity of the plants when they were harvested. Small bales can be opened easily, but the same cannot be said for larger round bales. Fescue has gained much attention over the last couple decades for its sometimes detrimental effects on pregnant mares when it is infected with an endophyte fungus. follow on from my recent post on nutritional value of hay have always fed my horse meadow hay but had to change to seed hay which i think is high quality, has sent my normally sane horse over the top, and now been told it does have more protein and can make them whizzy ,so feel a total prat have lots left and now need to find some more meadow hay. Left image: Timothy seed head. Foxtail is a summer annual grass, meaning it grows from seed in the spring and dies in the fall. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Right image: Green foxtail seed head. The first involves improvement of the land. So how do we tell these similar looking plants apart? In conclusion, horse owners and hay producers should learn how to tell the difference between foxtail and timothy grasses. If it is bright green, then I know the hay was likely cut at an appropriate time, that it was probably not rained on after cutting, and that it dried quickly and was baled in a timely manner. By entering your email, you consent to receive communications from Penn State Extension. The term mixed hay can be an ambiguous one, which makes clarification essential. Palatability is usually not an issue, however, as horses are inclined to love the taste of clover and eat it well. “I have seen lovely bales of the classic timothy/alfalfa mix. Meadow hay. Subscribe to Equinews and get the latest equine nutrition and health news delivered to your inbox. Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. Entering your postal code will help us provide news or event updates for your area. One reason horse owners often avoid clover is its propensity for mold. Some horse owners prefer grass/legume mixes over pure legume because a mixture more or less averages the content of certain key nutrients to make it appropriate for different classes of horses. At first glance, it looks like the popular timothy grass, but a close inspection can tell you that it's really foxtail. Timothy Hay – Extremely clean, nutrient packed hay. However, there are several different varieties of foxtail, and some seed heads remain upright. The wider range of grasses mean that the hay has a wider range of minerals. Timothy hay vs meadow hay › Forum › DIET & CARE › Timothy hay vs meadow hay This topic has 5sd replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 3 months ago by Azerane . There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. Known as slaframine poisoning, excessive salivation is not life-threatening. Why do we need this? Second, the herbicide has a planting restriction of 10 months for grasses. Because these lethal insects often swarm, it is possible for only a few bales to be infected. There are three important things to remember with this method: There is one pre-emergent herbicide approved for pasture use in Pennsylvania called Prowl H2O that you apply in the spring, before the foxtail seedlings emerge, that will prevent them from growing. Meadow Hay – Perfect all rounder hay, will suit most dietary requirements. Certain horse owners associate clover with excessive salivation. The most common cool-season grasses in the United States are timothy, orchardgrass, ryegrass, fescue, redtop, reed canary grass, and occasionally bluegrass in the East; and wheatgrass, blue grama, bluestem, and meadow in the Midwest and West. It is not unusual to run into bales that have both green and brown plant material, according to Crandell. Distinguishing hay types is important, if only from the standpoint of purchasing the appropriate hay. Anyway, I previously was able to buy in bulk and therefore I could go directly to a trusted grower, look at his fields and know his quality and also know that he would harvest keenly, and I never had to worry about the quality of the hay. There are a few features you can check. Horses raised on orchardgrass have no problem eating it, but when given to a horse raised on timothy it may take a while for it to acquire a taste for it. You will need to be able to identify the grasses without the seed head present! High quality hay can be an excellent source of nutrition for - including protein and calcium - for horses and ponies and is a very palatable feed.. Timothy is typically harvested two times per season, the first cutting in early summer and the second cutting in late summer or early fall. The hay is a late-maturing high fiber bunchgrass with a relatively low protein content. With alfalfa, Crandell recommends a thorough scan of multiple bales for blister beetles. Right image: Foxtail: Fringe of fine hairs at collar. Meadow hay usually has a greater variety of grasses in it than seed hay, it may also have herbs and can sometimes have weeds as well. If, on the other hand, the occasional stem is brown but the leaves are green and well-anchored to the stem, then the hay is probably still nutritious. Lucerne and grass hay are packed in small bales and the unit of feeding is a biscuit (flake). Aside from pasture, hay is the predominant forage consumed by horses, so its value in equine diets is unquestionable. Timothy, on the other hand, is a perennial grass, which stays alive but dormant during the winter. This will bury the seeds too deep for them to germinate. Remember to take soil tests and correct pH or nutrient deficiencies before you seed, and to avoid grazing the pastures for at least 6 months after seeding to allow the new grasses to establish healthy root systems. Lucerne (alfalfa) is the most common hay fed to horses, followed by grass (meadow) hay and oaten hay. View our privacy policy. I almost always try to smell the hay to see if it is fresh, stale, or moldy. A good quality cereal hay is harvested when the grain is immature (soft dough stage) and the leaves and stems are still green, and therefore higher in digestible nutrients. Cereal hays should be light green in color; a yellow, straw-like color would indicate that the hay was harvested too late and will be of lower nutritional value. For timothy, the early-cut stage would be considered the early head stage. As hay, it would be harvested in the spring and summer so palatability might not be an issue for certain horses. Pure legumes are rarely roundbaled, but if faced with tightly wound round bales that cannot be opened, an instrument designed to remove core samples from the inside of hay bales, called a hay probe, can be used. See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, The Dangers of Fall Leaves and Yard Trimmings to Horses. To come back year after year, it drops hundreds and hundreds of seeds into the soil. Fescue has gained much attention over the last couple decades for its sometimes detrimental effects on pregnant mares when it is infected with an endophyte fungus. On a foxtail plant, you will see a fringe of hairs instead of a tall membrane. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. This means they can get too many calories and not enough fiber. © Copyright 2020 Kentucky Equine Research. In order to know the true NSC value of your hay you will have to test it, but understanding the factors that affect NSC levels will help you pick hay that is more likely to meet your horse… I then buy timothy hay 2nd cut (from bunnybasics) in a 'roll-in-the hay' ball to keep it clean and i refill it all the time so they constantly have access to it. It is also effective on other summer annual grasses like crabgrass and some broadleaf weeds. It is relatively high in fiber, especially when cut at a later or more mature stage. “It might be bright green, brownish-green, or pale green, or it might not be green at all; perhaps it is yellow. Getting clover to dry quickly in the field is challenging for growers, and premature baling of damp hay is the primary reason clover hay is sometimes moldy. Mixed hay is usually defined as a blend of grass and legume plants, though some hay producers and horse owners may define it as a combination of several grasses. 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