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Hay vs. grass - nutrition

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  • Hay vs. grass - nutrition

    My question is the nutrition content of grass left over winter as compared to hay that was cut and baled in summer.
    Situation: There is a field of grass suitable for good grass hay. Your options are to cut and bale it for use over winter or to leave it for winter grazing. Which provides more nutrition to the horse?
    Obviously, the horse would have hay at night, in cold weather, when stalled, etc.
    My question is about the relative nutrition found in grass in winter and hay properly baled in summer.

  • #2
    the whole purpose of cutting and baling hay is to try to "catch" summer (for lack of better words)

    the hay is cut and "held" at the place where the most nutrition remains locked in place.....

    winter standing graze in a place with four real seasons has no value other than turnout...and then you lose roots to trampling

    Tamara



    Originally posted by Coyoteco View Post
    My question is the nutrition content of grass left over winter as compared to hay that was cut and baled in summer.
    Situation: There is a field of grass suitable for good grass hay. Your options are to cut and bale it for use over winter or to leave it for winter grazing. Which provides more nutrition to the horse?
    Obviously, the horse would have hay at night, in cold weather, when stalled, etc.
    My question is about the relative nutrition found in grass in winter and hay properly baled in summer.
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Tamara, thanks for your answer. You see, that is what I always thought and had always heard. My knowledgeable cattle rancher friends say that is not true. They have taken seminars on the subject and went to one cutting of hay, and then leaving the second cutting there for winter grazing (summer grazing is done at the mountain ranch and the hay cutting and winter grazing are done here). But, I have always heard exactly what you say - that you bale the hay to catch the nutrients while they are in the plant and preserve that nutrition.

      The second part of that is the nutritional content of winter grass (Colorado here). Now, I have heard that the nutrition leaves the plant and moves to the roots at the time of the first hard freeze. Watching the condition of horses on my property - I have had livery stock come for winter grazing in the past, as well as my own horses - it seems that the grass may retain the nutrition, at least the calories, until Spring when there is a definite change - especially obvious in the "winter horsese" that we see down here in other pastures as well as my own. This leads me to think that the nutrition may not stay in the roots during warmer winter days. Now, this is a question - as I have never read this theory. It's based discussions with the guys who bring down horses for winter pasture and my observations, as well as my cattle friends statements.

      My horses have both - they have the hay that I cut and bale and they have access to grassey pastures in winter. My friend's statement, though, has me wondering.

      I know you have a lot of knowledge on this subject.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Coyoteco View Post
        Tamara, thanks for your answer. You see, that is what I always thought and had always heard. My knowledgeable cattle rancher friends say that is not true. They have taken seminars on the subject and went to one cutting of hay, and then leaving the second cutting there for winter grazing (summer grazing is done at the mountain ranch and the hay cutting and winter grazing are done here).
        well.... there is a difference in what open range cattle can harvest and it's value to them and what eastern horses can manage on

        does cool season grass "keep on keeping on" thru the winter ? sure. here we call it "stockpiling" and it is done with fescue....but is it's value comparable ? no

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

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Interesting. These are western grasses as opposed to se grasses. And, the information from my friend was generally on cattle though she did not limit it. My horse have both. I cut and bale hay and they can have their choice of grass or hay most of the time.

          It's interesting to me though, all this grass and hay stuff We finally got a lot of rain (for us) over a couple of days so the grass is growing. Here it takes surpriingly little, and I still have a lot of irrigation water left to you - it was too dry to use it (waste because it doesn't cover the ground if it's too dry) but should be bettern now.

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