Hay with weeds - Page 2

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Hay with weeds

This is a discussion on Hay with weeds within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    07-15-2011, 02:28 PM
Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind    
Hay costs good money.
Tell me about it!

The problem is I got it like last Dec, so too late to complain (we just open the shed couple weeks ago). Will see this year. The field next to the road was FULL of weeds this Spring (definitely no killer was used), so asking will be 100% on my list.
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    07-15-2011, 02:30 PM
I'd call & tell him. He won't be surprised. I don't like weedy hay, besides the extra work I don't want those weeds growing on my place.

Opps, just saw your last post. Maybe he will trade for better stuff.
    07-15-2011, 02:32 PM
A weed is a wild flower growing in the wrong place.

In the UK we have ragwort - which is as toxic dead, after being harvested as it is found growing alive. Luckily horses won't choose to eat it, if given the choice of other plants to consume. The danger comes if a horse is hungry because other vegetation is lacking through drought or over grazing.

Grass is a subject all by itself - there are thousands of different varieties, the majority of which are safe for a horse to eat. Some grasses are more nutritious than others.

It is a good idea to know which toxic plants are likely to be found in your area so that you can learn to recognise them. For advice ask the local vet, the local farmer and consult the local branch of the regional horse society.

Over here we have tendency to repeatedly use the same hay supplier whom we can trust to be selective in which fields they use to grow grass for hay making. A big danger for Brits are the hedgerows which can be a thousand years old in which thrive some plants dangerous to horses such as yew and deadly nightshade.

Grass husbandry and hay production is a subject worth studying by horse owners. Poor hay can be a source of sickness for horses. Ideally soils on which horses graze should be tested yearly and re-balanced with fresh seed or other treatments where necessary. Pastures used for horses should be rotated for grazing by other herbivores - particularly sheep. Horses are harsh users of grass fields - they scuff it up with their hooves, they selectively graze, they defecate on it and thereby alter the PH.

We horse owners pay a lot of attention to training our horses and we pay out lots of money for additives and fancy treatments but often we don't watch the quality of the grass the horse eats - partly because often the management of the grass is not within our control.
Ideally - all dung should be collected. The soil tested for ph. The field should be harrowed at least once a year. Certain weeds should be eradicated. A watch kept for notably poisonous plants which should be dug up and burned. Sick or potentially sick animals should be confined away from healthy animals. Etc etc etc. So if you have a hay farmer who takes care of his fields, then don't argue about the last few cents of the price per bale.

I know of several farmers who will willingly make and sell hay but who won't have horses on their grassland.

PS When you have finished studying about grass, pick up a text book on water.
    07-16-2011, 02:25 AM
Green Broke
We just changed hay suppliers as this years hay we got from our usual supplier was FULL of weedy mess that I won't feed. New supplier was $1.50 more a bale, but well worth it.
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    07-16-2011, 10:41 AM
What kind of hay are you feeding? Pure grass stands or pure alfalfa stands should be weed free - within reason. Alfafa/grass mixtures are much more difficult to control the weeds as there are no herbicides available for such a mixture. How big of a hay purchase are you making? It is very easy to get all upset over your hay having leaves in it for example. You stomp and fart and raise your voice about the poor farmers pathetic hay, when in reality, you only bought 20 bales of hay and your 20 bales came from the outside windrow next to the only woods in a field that produced 2000 bales. It was not intentional, it just happened. Yes the farmer, dealer should make an adjustment, but things happen. Need more information - what kind of hay, and what kind of weeds.
    07-16-2011, 12:13 PM
Green Broke
Well, I had 100 crappy bales, told him and was told "noone else complained".
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    07-16-2011, 02:02 PM
That is when you fire him.
    07-16-2011, 08:16 PM
Originally Posted by Production Acres    
What kind of hay are you feeding?
PA, I get straight timothy always. No mix. My last load was 80 or so bales.
    07-16-2011, 09:31 PM
As long as there's no trefoil. When dry it's stemmy like tumbleweeds and the horses don't like it. As for thistles don't dismiss them as not being good for your horse. Given free range a horse will get in to them like a kid in a candy store. They do drop cow pies for a day or two but that won't hurt them. And the horse's coat will develop a nice bloom. Daisies and buttercups are merely bale fillers, Horses don't eat them either.
    07-17-2011, 01:16 AM
A few weeds, I don't mind, even in a bale of alfalfa (the wind around here blows seeds and plants all over the countryside and I would prefer not to feed overly herbicided feed to my horses), but if there is consistently a good percentage of each bale that is nothing but weeds, then I would have a big problem with it. I pay for hay, not weeds.

I would talk to your supplier and either request weed-free bales for full price or tell him that you will take bales with weeds for a reduced price.

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