PDA

View Full Version : Thinking towards fall and winter rye seeding in southern pastures



fivehorses
Jul. 18, 2011, 06:03 PM
Ok, I will be a newbie to pasture maintenance and all farm related stuff that is southern related.

I will be moving to Aiken, and I am seriously considering planting winter rye, so my horses have some grazing opportunities.

What do you all think about that?

When should I seed?
Any issues with rye? Do I need to worry about founder, etc

I really know nothing about rye pastures for horses.

I have been to Katy's safergrass. org website but can't get a definitive handle on it. Could be me!

Would love input from people who have planted annual rye and how they manage the horses with it.

thank you!

Tom King
Jul. 18, 2011, 06:16 PM
We've overseeded Bermuda pastures since the early '80s with Marshall Rye with no health problems. It accounts for about half our horses' forage. They also get free choice varieties of hay in round bales fed out of feeders under shelters.

Here my target planting date is 3rd week in September, but that depends on conditions-rain expected and whether it's no-tilled or broadcast. No-till by preference, but only if the drill is in this end of the county. 35 lbs. acre if drilled, 50 if broadcast. Never broadcast before expected heavy, washing rains.

We're probably a couple of weeks ahead of your conditions up here.

fivehorses
Jul. 18, 2011, 07:07 PM
Thanks so much Tom. I was hoping you'd pop in and post.

I expect to feed them hay, but these are northern horses and when they see fields without snow on them, they graze. LOL

So, I am sure they will chow down on the bermuda, and well, I would prefer they eat something other than the dead bermuda.

thanks and anyone else with comments, please chime in. I would lilke to hear from IR or Cushing horse owners, since I also have one of each of those too.
thanks again.

Tom King
Jul. 18, 2011, 11:09 PM
I let the Bermuda get as long as it will until I seed the Rye. Then do the seeding and clip the Bermuda as short as I can. That way it's sort of like spreading straw over the seeds to help hold them in place and keep as much moisture as possible in the ground.

Also, it keeps the horses from pulling up the Bermuda. Especially if you have Bermuda hybrids like Cheyenne. The hybrids are mostly on top of the ground, so horses can pull enough of it up that it won't come back.

Timing is right for Rye about the time the Bermuda stops growing anyway.

Marshall Rye has wider, thicker blades of grass than typical lawn varieties.

tasia
Jul. 19, 2011, 08:33 AM
Rye likes nitrogen, so we usually fertilize it when it starts growing. I usually rent a spreader from Southern States and throw some ammonium nitrate. Some people fertilize it when they seed. Your local Ag Extension could probably help.

JB
Jul. 19, 2011, 08:50 AM
Any issues with rye? Do I need to worry about founder, etc
Rye IS pretty high in sugars, so if you have horses with metabolic issues, then yes, it could be a concern for them.

I have one gelding here who is mildly IR. It's manageable with a muzzle and he can remain on grass full time, so it's indeed mild. He doesn't have any issues with the Rye. But that's him. Others may end up crippled.

If you don't have metabolic horses, then no, the annual rye is fine.

spinandslide
Jul. 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
This was a VERY informative thread!

We are going to be seeding our pasture with Rye this fall..and my husband's thinking is the rye provides winter grazing while the bermuda is dormant..and vice versus. a friend of ours does this.

Granted, our pasture is for cattle and that is who we are doing it for..but still good to know about possabilities for the horses.

fivehorses
Jul. 19, 2011, 10:11 PM
Bumping and thanking those who have replied.

Kind of an offshoot to the question.
Is it good for the soil or the pasture to plant a winter rye and let it grow and then mow in the spring before the bermuda comes up?
In other words, does it add any benefits to the soil?

I have two pastures, one the horses will be on, and the other they won't be on it. I thought somewhere, some time, I read that doing a winter rye seeding was good for the soil, but that may have been for northern grasses, not bermuda.

Again, thanks for your input.

Tom King
Jul. 20, 2011, 03:56 PM
I don't think there's any advantage to amount to anything for the soil to plant it, other than keeping bare dirt from washing. It will stop growing a little while before the Bermuda starts thriving anyway, so the horses will probably eat it down. I don't think I've ever needed to mow it late.

ChocoMare
Jul. 20, 2011, 04:53 PM
I'll ditto the no rye for the IR or Metabolic horse. Read up on it over at www.safergrass.org (http://www.safergrass.org) from Katy Watts. Rye is the highest in sugars :(

Phaxxton
Jul. 20, 2011, 06:36 PM
Does anyone with fescue pastures seed with rye in the fall?

I'm trying to decide if we should seed with rye grass this fall, but our pastures are all fescue. There may be some bermuda creeping in, but the pastures are essentially fescue.

I've heard rye will "take over" from a neighbor- but I seriously question that source for unrelated reasons. :lol: My initial thought was to plant rye in the fall and then fescue in the spring. Former owner of our farm planted only once a year - fescue in the fall.

Any thoughts? Yes, I do plan to consult the local ag extension, too.

fivehorses
Jul. 20, 2011, 08:18 PM
Phaxton, where are you located?

Isn't fescue a perennial?

With the bermuda, it dies back, although is dormant,not dead. So, the winter rye will grow in winter and give the pastures some green and something for the horses to eat. It will die, as in dead in the spring when the bermuda comes back.

There are annual ryes, sometimes called a winter rye, and a perennial rye, which comes back year after year in cooler grass climates.

JB
Jul. 20, 2011, 09:18 PM
And perennial rye is not something you want to plant, as the risk of staggers is pretty high.

fivehorses
Jul. 20, 2011, 09:34 PM
Good point JB. Good reminder for anyone planting perennial rye grass to horses to also be sure to plant endophyte free perennial rye. Not all perennial rye is endophyte free, it HAS TO SAY THAT ON THE TAG.

Does annual rye have that issue? Do you have to buy endophyte free winter/annual rye?

Phaxxton
Jul. 21, 2011, 02:10 PM
Phaxton, where are you located?

Isn't fescue a perennial?

With the bermuda, it dies back, although is dormant,not dead. So, the winter rye will grow in winter and give the pastures some green and something for the horses to eat. It will die, as in dead in the spring when the bermuda comes back.

There are annual ryes, sometimes called a winter rye, and a perennial rye, which comes back year after year in cooler grass climates.
Thanks!

We're in SW NC, less than an hour NW of Charlotte.

This is my first year here, which is why I was asking. It's been a pasture management learning experience. :yes: Looks like we wouldn't need to plant rye then.

I may start another thread re fescue pasture management before I hijack this one...

fivehorses
Jul. 21, 2011, 08:26 PM
hijack away...I am in learning mode too.

I am in AIken, so a bit south, and the only grass there is bermuda or some other southern type grass.
You are lucky to be able to grow fescue, etc

JB
Jul. 21, 2011, 09:33 PM
I have never heard of staggers associated with annual rye.

baysngreys
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:04 PM
The "Go-To" guys in town for seed, fertilizer, etc., are Carolina Eastern on Park Ave.
Pace, who owns Aiken County Farm Supply down the street, is also a good source for pasture info and service (fertilizing, liming)

My neighbor planted winter rye last year but the weather didn't co-operate. It didn't come up until end of March and the heat in early May killed it. Awfully expensive for 6 weeks of green in the pastures.

With our sandy soil down here (the reason everyone loves to come ride!) you need to lime, lime, lime!
Get your soil tested, don't guess, you'll save $$'s in the long run. The County Extension office on Park Ave. will test in the soil sample for you.

fivehorses
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:56 PM
Thanks baysngrays, Pace and I are good friends, or so I think since he has rec'd a big chunk of $$$ from me regarding lime and fertilizer!
Carolina eastern couldn't help me with cotton season and all, so I went to Pace.

been there done the soil testing...that is a universal thing no matter where you live to do that!

When did your friends plant their rye?
I thought sept, oct were the months to plant...how uncooperative could the weather have been?

I am really looking for information on its impact on horses, esp IR or cushings, or even the general horse population, as well as improvements(if any) to the soil by adding the rye, thus nitrogen to the soil.

Oh, and Carolina eastern does not like the soil sample from the cty ext and prefers you do another one with them! So, I have done both.

baysngreys
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:45 PM
Thanks baysngrays,
Oh, and Carolina eastern does not like the soil sample from the cty ext and prefers you do another one with them! So, I have done both.

Haha, I've taken 2 soil samples into Carolina Eastern and they've yet to produce a report. Always seem to lose it or forget, so I get mine done at the Extension office.

I'm watching for responses to your questions as I'm also considering planting so the horses have something to nibble in the winter.

FYI- my neighbor planted in the Fall but it was so cold last winter, (even had snow,) and her winter grass didn't come in until end of Feb, early March. The heat wave in May killed it off.

fivehorses
Jul. 26, 2011, 06:03 PM
I know it was cold last winter, but not really until January.
Do you know when she put down the rye seed?
I have been told to do it in sept and oct. I would think later than that, it would go dormant until spring.

I think the whole idea is to get it seeded and up, then when jan comes, yes, it might get covered in a light snow, but will continue to grow thru the cold.
It won't germinate in the cold(why you plant early fall) but it will continue to grow once established.

at least thats my take!(for what its worth).

too funny, I brought my ext report in, and they insisted that they should do another one, so I brought in another round of soil. I did have to hound them for the report, but I was anxious to get things limed and fertilized.

SkipHiLad4me
Jul. 26, 2011, 07:00 PM
Does anyone with fescue pastures seed with rye in the fall?

I'm trying to decide if we should seed with rye grass this fall, but our pastures are all fescue. There may be some bermuda creeping in, but the pastures are essentially fescue.

I've heard rye will "take over" from a neighbor- but I seriously question that source for unrelated reasons. :lol: My initial thought was to plant rye in the fall and then fescue in the spring. Former owner of our farm planted only once a year - fescue in the fall.

Any thoughts? Yes, I do plan to consult the local ag extension, too.

Fescue is a cool season perennial and is best planted in the fall. There is a very small window of opportunity in the mid-Feb to mid-March range that you can plant in the spring but not as successful. The fescue needs plenty of time to get rooted before the summer heat/drought comes or it may die off, hence the recommended fall plant dates. As long as the fescue is managed properly, you shouldn't have to replant it every year and it should do well enough by itself - no rye needed. Rye is generally planted as a winter cover for bermuda to provide additional grazing and to protect dormant bermuda from the horses. They love to dig it up to get at the roots :no:

Phaxxton
Jul. 26, 2011, 08:41 PM
Fescue is a cool season perennial and is best planted in the fall. There is a very small window of opportunity in the mid-Feb to mid-March range that you can plant in the spring but not as successful. The fescue needs plenty of time to get rooted before the summer heat/drought comes or it may die off, hence the recommended fall plant dates. As long as the fescue is managed properly, you shouldn't have to replant it every year and it should do well enough by itself - no rye needed. Rye is generally planted as a winter cover for bermuda to provide additional grazing and to protect dormant bermuda from the horses. They love to dig it up to get at the roots :no:

Thank you so much! :)

mpsbarnmanager
Sep. 20, 2011, 03:10 PM
Bringing this back to life, someone said winter rye has endophytes? Is that tre of all rye unless it is "endophyte free"? I have some endophyte free fescue in the pastures now and I have a pregnant mare. The kind I just planted is for cows but the feed lady told me she prefers it for her horses. She didn't say anything about the endophyte fungus. I can't remember the name of the variety, all the bag said was first quality seed, and now that it has sprouted (4 days after seededing!!). It is purple looking.

fivehorses
Sep. 20, 2011, 04:59 PM
http://www.woodlandhillsalpacas.com/FloridaForage.html

I saw your post, and did a quick search, and thought this link had some good info.
Plus, if you click on the link to Hancock Seed at the bottom, they have really good information.

Bottom line, annual rye from what I understand can also be endophyte or endophyte free, so you need to seed with endo free, whether its rye or fescue.

I would go back to the farm store, and get the name of the seed and find out if it is endo free(which it will state on the tag).

Tom King
Sep. 20, 2011, 05:07 PM
copied and pasted from http://www.ryegrasses.com/pasture/

Due to the potential for Ryegrasses to produce higher than desirable Endophyte production of toxins, you should only plant ryegrasses that have a known history of safe use for forages. Most of the newer improved perennial ryegrass varieties for lawns may contain endophytes and are NOT usually suitable or recommended for pasture use. You should plant an annual or Perennial ryegrass variety that is known to be safe for animals. Most of the annual ryegrasses (gulf / improved forage varieties - Marshall, Passerel Plus Ryegrass (http://www.ryegrasses.com/info/passerel.html), Gulf Annual Ryegrass (http://www.ryegrasses.com/info/gulfannual.html), etc.) are safe for forage purposes.

Zwarte
Sep. 20, 2011, 05:35 PM
I have never heard of endophyte infected ryegrass - don't you mean endophyte infected fescue?

Fescue in its various forms is a terrible horse grass. My vet manual tells how bad it is for pregnant mammals of any species. It also raises body temperature.

There is an endophyte free version of fescue but without the endophyte it can't compete well with other plants/grasses that are out there.

fivehorses
Sep. 20, 2011, 06:41 PM
No Zwarte, we mean both...rye and fescue can be endophyte and endophyte free...you have to read the label.
Do a web search or read back on some of these posts or go to some of the links to learn more.

Thank you Tom for the links.

MSP
Sep. 21, 2011, 02:19 PM
Rye IS pretty high in sugars, so if you have horses with metabolic issues, then yes, it could be a concern for them.

I have one gelding here who is mildly IR. It's manageable with a muzzle and he can remain on grass full time, so it's indeed mild. He doesn't have any issues with the Rye. But that's him. Others may end up crippled.

If you don't have metabolic horses, then no, the annual rye is fine.

I second this!

I did it one year and both horses coliced on and off for three weeks during a time when weather conditions were encouraging high sugar levels in the grass. That was with the two that are not metabolic.

Just not worth the risk now that I have a pony with chronic laminitis.

ponygirl
Sep. 21, 2011, 03:54 PM
We overseed with Wrens Abruzzi Rye which is a cereal crop like wheat or oats so not the same thing is rye grass seed. It's specifically for grazing and does well here during the winter months though it can grow during August.
I do not know the sugar content of it and have always wondered. Felt better planting this than rye grass.