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Winter Pasture Options that are Not High Sugar/Starch

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  • Winter Pasture Options that are Not High Sugar/Starch

    Is there a cover crop for winter pasture (ie rye, oats) that is not inherently high sugar/starch? I don't know of any but thought I'd ask.

    In our area many put out annual rye. Works great for cattle but I was not happy with how it worked for my horses last winter. Every single horse who was on one of those pastures I had seeded with rye ended up with scary hoof rings. They had a major metabolic event I figured out just as the weather warmed a bit and that grass took off. It seemed like we went from brown to bright green almost overnight. Thankfully no one got laminitic on me but once I saw that ring come down, I realized I'd had a close call.

    I'd never had that problem with my mixed grass pasture before in the Spring. It greens up gradually as I have a mixture of cool and warm season grasses...but probably a bit more warm season like coastal. My pastures are not that rich either but hopefully I'll get them a bit improved over the next few years.

    I did not overseed with rye this fall. It was too dry and I was gunshy after last Spring. I will be putting out a lot of compost also closer to Spring and then may weed spray and overseed with some other grass species.

    I just wondered if anyone knows of anything that might work for easy keepers on winter pasture. Thanks!
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