Fescue grass and mares - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-14-2012, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Fescue grass and mares

I heard somewhere that a mare should be off fescue grass/hay for a while even after she has a foal, but I didn't think this was true? Is it?
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 12:21 AM
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Pick up the March 2012 issue of Equus. It covers your exact question. In a nutshell, the answer is no fescue for mares and foals. Most fescue has a fungus that can do much harm to the foal.

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 12:40 AM
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I heard somewhere that that is only true for the southern regions of NA, like Kentucky, but up north that fescue is totally fine for mares and foals. Someone please correct me if this is not true!!

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post #4 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 12:49 AM
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Article doesn't mention areas, just says 90% of fescues carry the fungus. OP is in KY, so she's right in the thick of it anyway. Better safe than sorry.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:09 AM
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Northern fescue growers do not have the same degree of difficulty as those in the transition zone. Many agronomists feel heat and humidity play an important role in the endophyte infection process in the southern growing areas. Management practices of improving fescue with clovers (white clovers, alfalfa and bird's foot trefoil, orchard grass and ryegrasses) every 2-3 years may help reduce some of the problem with fescue foraging in the southern regions.
This may be what you've heard about. There is a ton of information on the net about this issue. Considering the serious harm that can be done to your mare and foal I don't think it's worth taking a risk on it.

Quote:
Horse Problems - Depending upon what zones tall fescue is planted in, it can may become infected with endophyte fungus and when this occurs, fescue grass should not be grazed by pregnant mares for 60-90 days before foaling. Endophyte infected fescue can result in prolonged gestation and difficult births, thickened placentas, infection, foundering and difficult rebreeding, little or no milk may be produced and colostrums levels may be decreased.
It may be the "little to no milk" part that is spurring the warning to keep her off even after foaling.

This is a link to the Seedland article the above quotes were pulled from.
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:12 AM
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If you get a good long cold winter where you live teh fungus doesn't grow. Here in Utah we have no problem with our fescue. I've never heard anything about keeping the mare off of it once she has foaled.

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post #7 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:14 AM
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Ok, crazy! Because around here if it gets into the 70s it's considered hot and I know breeders don't ever seem really concerned about fescue content in hay... So I asked one once and they said that up here that mold doesn't grow (it's a good season if we get two cuts of hay lol) and I've never heard of anyone having issues.

What article are those quotes from?? It's interesting in the second quote it says "depending on the zone"...

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post #8 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
If you get a good long cold winter where you live teh fungus doesn't grow. Here in Utah we have no problem with our fescue. I've never heard anything about keeping the mare off of it once she has foaled.
Ok that is what I have heard about being up north... Thanks!

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post #9 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
What article are those quotes from?? It's interesting in the second quote it says "depending on the zone"...
It's from Seedland, it's a seed selling outfit. I put a link in the post at the bottom, for their website. There was a ton of info out there on the topic but these guys had it in a pretty concise format. MyBoyPuck is right, the OP is right in the thick of it and for my money, I wouldn't take the risk.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by GreenBackJack View Post
It's from Seedland, it's a seed selling outfit. I put a link in the post at the bottom, for their website. There was a ton of info out there on the topic but these guys had it in a pretty concise format. MyBoyPuck is right, the OP is right in the thick of it and for my money, I wouldn't take the risk.
Yes, I do know that in Kentucky fescue almost always is infested with this mold. I'm asking specifically about northern climates.

Thank you for the link!

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