View Full Version : What do you do with uneaten hay in the pasture?

May. 15, 2011, 09:05 PM
I'm interested to see what other folks here do with uneaten hay in the pasture.

My horses manage to eat everything but the timothy, and I have been raking it up and putting it in the manure/compost pile. Mostly because I worry that it will be hard for the grass to grow under it.

But honestly, I am sorely tempted to just mow over it, and let the mower chop it up and blow it around.

May. 15, 2011, 09:08 PM
Mow over it :)

I don't pull any of it off the pasture, ever, but then again, I never end up with huge clumps.

A light layer will actually grow BETTER grass under it, as it will preserve some moisture and if the hay isn't palatable by that point, the horses won't be looking for the grass under it.

If there were seedheads on the hay you have some free grass babies :D

Definitely don't leave clumps - that WILL smother the grass and just make room for weeds. Just take a hard rake (ie for soil, not leaves) and scatter it a bit.

May. 15, 2011, 09:39 PM
We have several veggie and herb gardens; we collect up the leftover hay once every couple of weeks and use it to mulch the beds. It does a great job of both keeping weeds down and helping moderate soil temperatures during our scorching summers. As we close and rest beds, the old hay may be tilled into the soil as added organic matter.

I've also been known to snitch from the garden-mulching pile to spread over newly broadcast-seeded areas in the paddocks as protection against birds getting to the seed.

May. 15, 2011, 09:49 PM
Drag it around to spread it.

May. 15, 2011, 09:59 PM
I'd say pick a gluttonous horse to vaccuum it up --that's what we do to clean up hay in the arena-- but that's not an option. :lol:

May. 15, 2011, 10:13 PM
I voted other. A roundbale always makes a bare spot where the grass dies off under it. I burn the hay left there, that helps fertilize that spot then, I put the new round bale in a new spot, and repeat.

May. 16, 2011, 07:44 AM
I'd say pick a gluttonous horse to vaccuum it up --that's what we do to clean up hay in the arena-- but that's not an option. :lol:
LOL, little wasted hay with my goats around

May. 16, 2011, 05:09 PM
well with hay feeders I never really get piles of hay in the pasture. On the occasions I put hay out on the ground and some of it magically ends up uneaten, it will usually end up being drug around by the harrow and eventually mowed over.

May. 16, 2011, 05:15 PM
If I could leave the bush hog on the back of the tractor, I'd mow over it. I feed round bales though so the hay spike is usually on the tractor instead. I push it all up into a big pile and let it compost.

May. 16, 2011, 05:16 PM
I rake it up and chuck it on the muck heap. I'd leave it, but it blows around and annoys me. :lol:

May. 16, 2011, 05:52 PM
It's good fertilizer. If it's thick enough to kill the grass, spread it a little. Then mow.

May. 16, 2011, 07:59 PM
I rake it up and chuck it on the muck heap. I'd leave it, but it blows around and annoys me. :lol:


May. 16, 2011, 08:57 PM
We push the round bale remnants into a hole or low spot in the pasture with the tractor to let it decompose. We end up with pretty big packs of icky hay because we feed round bales in the same spots all winter (the hay pack keeps them drier and out of the mud). Smaller piles we mow over. Every once in a while we'll burn a pile if it's dry enough.

May. 17, 2011, 10:43 AM
I hate unwinding long stems from the mower. :mad:

If it's on the ground, presumably all the seed heads have already fallen off to do the reseeding, so it gets raked up and composted.

May. 17, 2011, 11:30 AM
With how wet our spring has been the last couple of years, I am diligent with cleaning the left over, picked through hay. I worry about botulism with the hay being on the ground in the mud. I always rake it twice a week, and dispose of it in my manure pile.

May. 17, 2011, 11:52 AM
In the larger pastures, I mow over it and spread it with the harrow. In the sacrifice paddock, I pick it up and compost it.

May. 17, 2011, 12:31 PM
All of the Above!
I'll rotate horses so the "vacuums" clean up more of it, drag over it when I harrow the manure, then chop it up when I mow and finally with the left-overs from the round bales - set it on fire!

There ain't nothing left when I'm done!

* The best grass grows up under the RB burn spots.

May. 17, 2011, 12:56 PM
I just gather it all together, shove it and any bad hay to a wet spot in the hayland and burn it, although smaller amounts get dropped where the water collects by the people door and get worked in so maybe, just maybe, the small lake will dwindle to a puddle.

May. 17, 2011, 12:57 PM
Our barn owner burns it.

May. 18, 2011, 11:46 AM
My vet tells me the moldering hay can breed some pretty bad bugs, and I try to keep it raked up, but this past winter, between the awful weather and a batch of stemmy hay that the horses were picky about, was so bad that keeping our paddocks clean was damn near impossible; I ended up putting a moratorium on feeding hay outside. I'm considering raking and burning the stuff that's out there now.

May. 18, 2011, 12:18 PM
It depends on how much is there etc. If its not too much I just leave it there and mow over it. If it's a ton and it's not fresh enough for the horses to eat without me worrying, I rake it up and put it in the manure/compost pile. If there was a TON of it, I might rake it up and burn it with leaves etc.

May. 18, 2011, 02:33 PM
Who has time to rake up dry grass ? Do you go rake up the pasture after you've mowed it ? Mowing mulches the dropped hay and helps the soil and new grass. This must be related to the American obsession with leaf raking !

May. 18, 2011, 03:21 PM
I feed it to the cow next door.