Bahia grass is difficult to cure correctly for horses for hay.
Bahia grass is a great grass for drought areas, not so good for yards and hay fields since it is so aggressive in growth. For cows, with any hay, over cured, under cured, doesn't matter since they have a multi-digestion system. The junkier the hay, the happier the cows are, at least my cows are.
I would stick with coastal avoid using bahia grass hay, my horses won't eat bahia grass hay if given it.
I live in Pensacola and much of the hay grown around here is Pensacola Bahia. It is nice hay. But unlike Bermuda it is not that pretty. It turns a more brown color when cut and baled or a rather khaki green. I always prefer Bermuda as I don't really cotton to all the "tales" about it. But my mare has Pensacola Bahia right now and she has eaten the whole round bale. I am sure in a side by side test horses would always prefer Bermuda.
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
There are different varieties of Coastal, some for grazing and the hybrids developed for haying.
Bahia has a different root system than Coastal. Coastal has runners and Bahia has rhizsomes(sp). Bahia is seeded in and Coastal usually is sprigged in although there are new varieties of Coastal that can be seeded in.
I have two different hay pastures, one has Alecia Coastal --a hybrid coastal grass hay and another pasture that has a finer stemmed 7 leaved Coastal. The Alecia is a better 1st cutting hay, like a little cooler temperatures(90's) and the other is better with 2nd & 3rd cuttings since it grows better in the hotter months (over 90 degrees).
Also have native coastal growing in pastures, has less length of runners and different color that the hybrids.
Isn't coastal hay coastal BAHIA? I know my pastures are planted in pensacola bahia.
No. Well, "coastal" is often put in front of the word Bermuda to represent one of the varieties of Bermuda. But if it is grown on the coast I guess it can be coastal! We mostly see Bahia, Bermuda or Alicia grass around here. I think the Pensacola Bahia is the most heat tolerant. Nice grass.
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
The first horse/barn I ever boarded (at) the gal fed bahia hay - saying it was the better hay for horses. The young horses it was the only hay they had ever eaten. There was never a colic. I think some horses that have been fed coastal might turn their noses up at bahia.
If I had the option I would feed both - for variety at least. Also - isn't bahia hay less expensive? Anyway, seems to me that bahia is a coarser hay. That is supposedly better?
Comparing hay to grass: what "just grows" wild for lack of better word - with no planting/seeding - bermuda grass? bahia grass? I really don't know. I should know this but I guess never really thought about it. Horses eat (coastal?) bermuda grass just fine - as well bahia grass? But coastal bermuda hay has been thought to cause impaction colics due to its "fine" quality?
Years ago we got a few bales of some kind of Tifton - which I really liked - and so did the horses. The hay was not "fine" - the pieces of hay were wide and flat as I recall.
The flakes did not fall apart. (I hate it when you pick up a flake of hay and it completely falls apart). Oh - I am remember a few years ago a new variant of some kind of hay was introduced around here - I did not like it at all - seemed to hold too much moisture - dang - cannot remember the name. Any ideas/help on that one?
The coastal I am referring to is bermuda. My grass out back is mostly bahia, with a bit of bermuda in some spots. The horses seem to prefer the bahia grass, but I have never seen bahia hay.
The coastal I buy is more coarse. I won't buy the fine stuff as it makes sense to me that a really fine hay would be more likely to cause an impaction. I have seen some of it as fine as sewing thread. Mine is much more stemmy.
So the bahia is more brown and is usually fed as cow hay? Maybe the coastal would be a better bet since I have access to some nice coastal.
I have 300+ bahia squares in my loft. The horses love it, everyone's in good weight. It does not stay as green as bermuda/coastal does...but they look great, so there you go, my 2 cents. It's slightly-just slightly-stemmier that coastal.
Grew up riding around here and everyone feeds coastal, a few feed bahia. Alfalfa, Timothy, and Orchard would all have to be shipped in therefore more $. Never had a coastal related colic. YMMV.
Katarine, can I ask why you feed bahia instead of coastal? I am just curious.
I prefer stemmier hay. Mine seem to like it better, plus if I remember correctly, the study on sand colic indicated that coarse, stemmy hay is better at clearing sand from the intestines than sand clear or bran mashes or oil or any of the other things people feed.
The old, native bermuda grass that grows wild in pastures and paddocks is probably Common Bermuda. Older stands of wild-growing Bahia grass are probably Common Bahia.
Coastal Bermuda Grass is an improved variety of Bermuda Grass that was developed by Dr. Burton at the Coastal Plains experiment station, Tifton, Georgia.
Alica is another variety of Bermuda Grass that was developed by a seed company, if my memory serves.
Pensacola Bahia is a cultivar of common Bahia Grass that was discovered growing near Pensacola, Florida, then propagated and distributed.
Another improved variety of Bahia Grass is Tifton 9 Bahia, which was developed at the Tifton, Ga., station, just as Coastal Bermuda was.
Both bermuda and bahia grasses make good forage and good quality hay. Bahia is tougher and will tolerate more severe drought conditions. Given good growing conditions., bermuda will produce more tons per acre.
These grasses are easy to tell apart. Bahia grows in small clumps and makes large seed heads, while Bermuda spreads mostly by runner, and is not a clumping grass.
Hampton, because now I can get it at cost out of the field. 70lb bales at 2$ a bale Prior to 2007 I got either bermuda or bahia from a farmer down the road, same price either way...didn't see a bit of difference in how my horses did on it.
If you want stemmier-it's going to be bahia over bermuda- but still NOTHING like the good coarseness of timothy, orchard, alfalfa.
Protein content varies quite a bit between the bahia and bermuda hays as well. My pastures are Pensacola bahia and Tifton 9 (bahia). But if you cut and dry bahia for hay, the protein content is often as low as 9%. Bermuda grasses, on the other hand, will retain more protein when cured. Properly fertilized, I've had Tifton 44 and Tifton 85 bermuda grass hay come in at 17%! Both are stemmier than coastal bermuda grass (common).
Bahia is a superior forage as a pasture for horses, but typically the newer variety bermuda grasses are a much better choice for horse hay in the south. (I also supplement my hard keepers with compressed Idaho alfalfa or peanut hay from north FL and south Georgia).
My vet uses her bahia hay for her cows and wraps and ammoniates it to increase the %nitrogen. Her horses eat bermuda grass hays and peanut.
I also like Flora Quirk (may be a bermuda, may be something else, is a runner type grass sprigged in, not seeded) but haven't found much around here. Needs too many days to dry properly and in FL in the summertime, you can't count on 4 days with no rain too often!
Well, I ended up going with the bermuda because the guy with the bahia never called me back. The hay I did get is absolutely excellent. It is the greenest coastal I have ever seen, and the horses seem to love it. My mare can be picky with hay.
I also supplement my coastal with alfalfa cubes. That way I can feed less grain and still get enough protein into my mare.