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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    5,833

    Default Sugar greater in cut/short grass or tall grass?

    I have a grass question. Field in question has not been mowed yet this spring and is pretty long/lush. We've had rain continually until last week when we started having warmer weather/sun.

    What is the "safer" grass to put horses on (assuming proper introduction over time, etc.) the long grass or is it better to mow first?

    TIA!
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
    Posts
    6,998

    Default

    From the sources I've read, the grass stores the sugar in the bottom 3 inches of stem/leaf. Therefore, shorter is sweeter.

    However, if the grass is long and lush, mowing it to 6 inches or so would cut down on the sheer volume they can inhale in a given amount of time.
    The more perfect our happiness,
    the more nagging and wretched
    do our unsolved problems seem.
    ~ Gordon Grand



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2004
    Posts
    32

    Default

    Lots of good information here:

    http://www.safergrass.org/



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 21, 2008
    Location
    Thomasville, NC
    Posts
    22

    Default

    The sugar content of the grass has little to do with its height, and there are a LOT of variables involved. Definitely check out the Safer Grass site (above). There is a lot of info, but it is worth the read.
    Balanced Hoof Care for Performance & Rehabilitation
    www.NaturesPathHoof.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2009
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    536

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    From the sources I've read, the grass stores the sugar in the bottom 3 inches of stem/leaf. Therefore, shorter is sweeter.

    However, if the grass is long and lush, mowing it to 6 inches or so would cut down on the sheer volume they can inhale in a given amount of time.
    Always what I had heard as well.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2003
    Location
    Orlean, Virginia
    Posts
    2,969

    Talking just my 2 cents.

    Also I read that sugar moves up & down the stem during daylight hours so that there is less at night so putting them out on grass in the evenings & overnight is best if that's a concern. It moves down to the roots at dusk and comes to the tips in the morning or something like that.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2007
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    From the sources I've read, the grass stores the sugar in the bottom 3 inches of stem/leaf. Therefore, shorter is sweeter.

    However, if the grass is long and lush, mowing it to 6 inches or so would cut down on the sheer volume they can inhale in a given amount of time.
    Ditto and further to that, when my area was in an "exceptional drought" and pastures were threadbare a few years back, my trimmer said he saw more horses hooves on starch overload during that time than he ever remembered in our county before the drought.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    NE Georgia
    Posts
    154

    Default

    Whenever grass is "stressed" it uses sugar to protect itself. That is why the sugar content was so high during the drought.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
    Location
    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
    Posts
    2,528

    Default

    Homework assignment

    The amount of sugar made is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight hitting the leaves. Go out at midday and look down at some thick, taller grass. See how much sunlight is hitting the bottom leaves. Not much. Then go look at some short grass. Every leaf in full sun all day.

    Of course, there are many other factors that confound this.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Posts
    2,058

    Default

    Well, we could compare my long unmowed pasture to my neighbor's manicured-like-a-golf course paddocks. And also compare the horses within. My two horses have ten acres divided in six paddocks, and get moved from paddock to paddock so they are never on real short grass for very long.

    Neighbor's ten or so horses are on maybe seven manicured acres and never rotated. Grasses on both properties are the same, a mix of bahia and bermuda (with copius amounts of weeds over here on the sloppy side.)

    Her horses, except for the ones that are so ancient they are thin from having few teeth, are fat to the point of foundering, have frequent colics, and lots of thrush.

    Mine maintain a good weight UNLESS I leave them too long and let them guzzle all the short grass they want. Of course mine get ridden, hers dont.



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