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Sugar greater in cut/short grass or tall grass?

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  • 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?

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

  • #2
    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.
    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


    • #3
      Lots of good information here:



      • #4
        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


        • #5
          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
            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
              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
                Whenever grass is "stressed" it uses sugar to protect itself. That is why the sugar content was so high during the drought.
                Sue Myers


                • #9
                  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.
                  Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                  • #10
                    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.