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Thinking towards fall and winter rye seeding in southern pastures

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  • Thinking towards fall and winter rye seeding in southern pastures

    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!
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld

  • #2
    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.
    Last edited by Tom King; Jul. 18, 2011, 06:32 PM.
    www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      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.
      save lives...spay/neuter/geld

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
            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.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                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.
                save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.
                  www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'll ditto the no rye for the IR or Metabolic horse. Read up on it over at www.safergrass.org from Katy Watts. Rye is the highest in sugars
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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. 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.


                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        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.
                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And perennial rye is not something you want to plant, as the risk of staggers is pretty high.
                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            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?
                            save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                              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. Looks like we wouldn't need to plant rye then.

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


                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                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
                                save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have never heard of staggers associated with annual rye.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      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.
                                      save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                                        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.
                                        You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

                                        Comment

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