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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2008
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    Question Blue Stem hay

    Hay experts? My supplier will run out in March. He has a large blade grass hay "blue stem".
    Pros/cons?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 17, 2008
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    SE PA
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    I have no experience with it, but there were two recent discussions on it:

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=290034

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=290882



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2008
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    187

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    My horse hated it. I think I got him to eat maybe half a flake before he decided he would rather starve.

    I gave a bale to a friend, who tried feeding it to her horses, they, too hated it.

    I gave some to another friend, who tried feeding it to her horse. He wouldn't touch it.

    I took the remainder out to my grandmother's farm, so she could feed it to the cows. They also wouldn't touch it.

    So...I dunno. Maybe if you leave it out there long enough, and don't feed them anything else, they will? I wasn't willing to try that.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2008
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    786

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    Thanks. I am trying some. They are eating it! I just was worried it might be too much change at once or there were ill effects I didn't know about.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 16, 2003
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    Guthrie, OK
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    Bluestem is a native grass of the praries, ie OK. There are 2 varieties--big bluestem and small bluestem. If BB is cut very mature it can resemble tree trunks.
    So it isn't so much what the grass is but rather when it was cut and how it was put up.

    What part of the world are you in?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
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    13,113

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    I learned to stay away from anything with blue in it, didn't know any of the varieties, because it would give my mare the runs. Try a bale first. Beet pulp fixed her, but who needs the hassle.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
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    I just got test back from 'prairie hay' from near Wichita, KS, Some bales are obviously mostly bluestem. The one I got is a mixture of this and that. This big bale has weeds in it, so my horse is wasting some, but she is eating it.
    I cored the whole stack. Obviously the grower did not add adequate nitrogen to make protein. I will feed it with a few pounds of alfalfa to make up the protein. This is the 3rd lot of bluestem from KS I have tested that had around 6% protein. They all had low sugar. Talked to one grower. He said 'bluestem doesn't need fertilizer'. Well it does if you want adequate protein.

    on DM basis:
    C Protein 6.5
    WSC 8.1
    ESC 4.9
    starch 1.8
    NDF 67.8
    ADF 42.2
    Horse DE .86



  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Watts View Post
    They all had low sugar. Talked to one grower. He said 'bluestem doesn't need fertilizer'. Well it does if you want adequate protein.
    he's right.Bluestem is not managed as a "feed" but rather "collected" as a filler...and for those boys out there,a filler you spend no money on

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 16, 2003
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    Guthrie, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    he's right.Bluestem is not managed as a "feed" but rather "collected" as a filler...and for those boys out there,a filler you spend no money on

    Tamara in TN
    Blue stem and other "native grasses" are not very nitrogen dependant. Bermuda is a whole different story, but adding nitrogen to native grasses gives you a very yeild as for as improvement vs the cost and trouble of adding nitrogen.

    Herbicide makes a big difference but not nitrogen. And I think you have just experienced the herbicide effect.

    And no, it is not a filler. It is the native grass of the prarie, sort like orchard grass is the native grass of the east coast.
    It's value as a horse hay depends on when it is harvested. Early is for horse hay. Waiting until it is mature makes it pretty tough for monogastrics to digest efficicently.

    We put up several hundred bales of native grass every year. We feed it. A friend of ours buys all the rest for her horses. Vs the hay she buys for her cattle.

    The quality of ANY hay is dependant on many factors so saying that xyz type of hay is no good and is only a filler is seldom true. Ok there are exceptions but not in this case.

    If native grass/blue stem hay was not a respectable hay to feed, there would be alot of very poor doing horses in OK!!



  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MeghanDACVA View Post

    And no, it is not a filler. It is the native grass of the prarie, sort like orchard grass is the native grass of the east coast.
    It's value as a horse hay depends on when it is harvested. Early is for horse hay. Waiting until it is mature makes it pretty tough for monogastrics to digest efficicently.

    !
    I quoted exactly the at least five different growers whom we have bought it from. They do not manage it for anything other than "filler" off the fields. It does not sell for enough money to put any/much effort into it not as compared to alfalfa. So if your end sale never makes more than $4/bale ($160 ton)and the value it has a fertilizer back into the soil is $80/ton you are not going to drop fertilizer,herbicide or anything else into it.

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
    sort like orchard grass is the native grass of the east coast.
    While I agree with the rest of your post, orchard is not native to anywhere in the US. It's introduced and naturalized.

    http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?...gl_002_avp.tif

    Bluestem is truly native, i.e. evolving here.

    http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?...ge_001_avp.tif



  12. #12
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    Jul. 16, 2003
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    Guthrie, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    I quoted exactly the at least five different growers whom we have bought it from. They do not manage it for anything other than "filler" off the fields. It does not sell for enough money to put any/much effort into it not as compared to alfalfa. So if your end sale never makes more than $4/bale ($160 ton)and the value it has a fertilizer back into the soil is $80/ton you are not going to drop fertilizer,herbicide or anything else into it.

    Tamara in TN
    Ok, it is the predominant grass in OK. Maybe not in TN.
    No, it doesn't sell for as much as alfalfa. Neither does Orchard grass or bermuda for that matter.
    You are right that fretilizing blue stem is not "worth it" but it because it does not benefit much from it. It is adapted to growing in native, unimproved soil. Having lived in SW Va, where the soil is very much like it is in much of TN, I can also tell you the soil in OK, where blue stem is native to, is vastly different. As are the growing conditions. It may well be the difference in soil type and climate is what is making the blue stem in your neck of the woods undesirable as horse hay.

    We have produced hay, both bermuda and blue stem, for 10 yrs. Some horses do much better on native grass than bermuda, and vice versa.
    Herbicide is always beneficial. If you actually want any hay in your bales. A ton of "hay" is not necessarily a ton of hay if 1/3 of the vegitation in the bale is weed.
    In addition, blue stem can not be cut as many times a year as other hays. Most of the time you will only get one cutting a year from it. If you are lucky and have a good growing season you might get a second. But the next yr you will only get one. It needs more time to recover than other grasses. It developed to be grazed by critters on the move as opposed to cut down, let grow some then cut again. So again, management of it is different from other grasses.
    We had a bit of a learning curve regarding it when we moved here.

    Since we do round bales, I have not kept up with the price of squares here. 4x5 round bales of native grass hay will sell for about $30-40/bale. Bermuda a bit more. I wont' feed local alfalfa. OK is blister beetle country. I just bought a bale of Ca alfalfa--3 thick string bale that took 2 of us to lift. It was $25 for one bale. Is it better quality than native grass. Heck yes!

    Now, if you cut the blue stem, esp big blue stem, late, it is even less than a filler, for monogastrics. In that case it more closely resembles red woods.

    BTW, it is bluish tinged in the field, sort of like bluegrass. As it cures, either in the field or in the bale it actually turns a reddish color.

    And our fat pigs of ponies eat it all year. Either as bales, or as their pasture.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 16, 2003
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    Guthrie, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Watts View Post
    While I agree with the rest of your post, orchard is not native to anywhere in the US. It's introduced and naturalized.
    Ooops, didn't know that. Maybe I should have said the "common" grass?
    Bermuda isn't a native grass either :-)
    Is fescue native? Or alfalfa?



  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
    Ok, it is the predominant grass in OK. Maybe not in TN.
    . Having lived in SW Va, where the soil is very much like it is in much of TN, I can also tell you the soil in OK, where blue stem is native to, is vastly different. As are the growing conditions. It may well be the difference in soil type and climate is what is making the blue stem in your neck of the woods undesirable as horse hay.

    .
    I guess I am missing the TN reference above ...
    we bring in,test and resell about 50-75 semi loads of "prairie grass" every year from OK and western Missouri sometimes Kansas...we do not try to grow it here

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  15. #15
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    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
    Is fescue native? Or alfalfa?
    Go here to see. type in any common or scientific name and click native status at the bottom of the map:
    http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?...r3_001_ahp.tif

    tall fescue isn't, but a lot of other festuca are native to the US. Theres a ho bunch.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 17, 2008
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    SE PA
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    Katy, have you heard of anyone on the east coast replanting a pasture in native grasses? I hope to try it on one two-acre field this spring. Just wondering if it is a losing battle out here. From the earlier posts, it sounds like herbicide and fertilizer are givens.



  17. #17
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    Guthrie, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    I guess I am missing the TN reference above ...
    we bring in,test and resell about 50-75 semi loads of "prairie grass" every year from OK and western Missouri sometimes Kansas...we do not try to grow it here

    Tamara in TN
    Sorry but I assumed (prob in correctly?) that you are in TN.

    I now I am really confused. If you think it is only good as filler hay, why are your bringing that much in? Esp with diesel fuel at $3.00+/gallon (ouch).

    And why are you bringing in prairie hay? What is wrong with the local hay? Or hay that is a bit closer? (Not knowing where in TN, or wherever, you are).

    Just call me confused, as usual.



  18. #18

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
    Sorry but I assumed (prob in correctly?) that you are in TN.
    I am
    I now I am really confused. If you think it is only good as filler hay, why are your bringing that much in? Esp with diesel fuel at $3.00+/gallon (ouch).

    there are all sorts of "needs" for hay in this world...some people need "hi octane" and some need "filler" we supply both ends and the middle we sell 600 semi loads a year...the PG is just a small bit of it all

    And why are you bringing in prairie hay? What is wrong with the local hay? Or hay that is a bit closer? (Not knowing where in TN, or wherever, you are).
    There is no decent local hay in the quantity we require and there are very very few people who use the proper balers.So once the stores made from our own 1600 acres are depleted,we go where our needs are met.We bring hay from about 7 states all year long.

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  19. #19
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    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowdenfarm View Post
    Katy, have you heard of anyone on the east coast replanting a pasture in native grasses? I hope to try it on one two-acre field this spring. Just wondering if it is a losing battle out here. From the earlier posts, it sounds like herbicide and fertilizer are givens.
    Ya. it can be really hard. Check into the WHIP program under USDA. Establishment may take 2 years, and the hardest thing is killing existing stands of fescue. D%$# stuff comes back from seed and takes over after a few years and you are right back where you started. They are recommending that you put the land into a row crop and use tillage and herbicide for a couple years.
    My great stand of native grass is now all Kentucky Bluegrass, and the hay was too high in sugar to feed my IR horses.
    Katy



  20. #20
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    Mar. 17, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Watts View Post
    Ya. it can be really hard....
    My great stand of native grass is now all Kentucky Bluegrass, and the hay was too high in sugar to feed my IR horses.
    Katy
    Well, geez, that is downright depressing.



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