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MySparrow
Jun. 20, 2010, 12:03 AM
Looking at a move to high desert in the future, and starting to think about forage and erosion control. Does anyone know anything about gramma grasses -- bluestem, sideoat, etc. -- and whether they agree with horses?

Thanks!

sk_pacer
Jun. 20, 2010, 12:48 AM
Mine are fine, at least they were a few minutes ago. They been getting a mix of assorted native grasses for years - something collectively called prairie wool, a mix of buffalo grans side oats, little blue stem and several others that excape me at the moment. Only thing you have to watch is they don't get too fat on that stuff as it is pretty calorie dense compared to tame hay; calorically more like dairy alfalfa but lower in protein. I've been feeding this stuff for years and even race trained on it.

MySparrow
Jun. 20, 2010, 10:46 AM
I love "prairie wool!" What a great descriptive term!

That's good to hear. Are your horses grazing the wool, or getting it as hay? Is it ever made iinto hay? Do you cultivate it, or does it just grow where you are?

many thanks!

sk_pacer
Jun. 20, 2010, 10:55 AM
I have it made into hay. Makes great hay although it can look rather nasty as some of those grasses are not bright green but rather bluish and turn kinda yellow when cured. I have 55 acres of the stuff, never been cultivated, nothing ever done to it on the west side of the creek, but some redtop was put in on the east side because my grandfather homesteaded there first, then moved. Most of that hay land has been untouched except by mower and baler and I do mean untouched - never cultivated in the 112 years it has been in the family and was bald prairie before that. It does need burning though - hasn't been burnt for years now. Burning makes those grasses regenerate in a most marvelous fashion.

FWIW, I am trying to bring sprigs from there to parts of the house yard so I don't have to mow - there is a low growing (less than 4") bent grass out there that would make a lovely blue lawn. Have some done but the danged brome keeps taking over.