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Author Topic: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions  (Read 1374 times)

loneelk

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Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« on: January 23, 2015, 07:28:53 am »

We'll be headed south tomorrow for a trailer load of hay.  We'll be getting a little bit of alfalfa for Gunner, but mostly grass hay.  The seller has several varieties of hay for sale (all grown by him).  We were originally considering buying a load of his timothy hay, which he says is barn stored but sun bleached on outside.  But he also has Drover fescue, which I'd never heard of but googled it yesterday, and it sounds like it might be a good alternative.  Skeet tested allergic to alfalfa and Gunner tested w/ a mild allergy to Bermuda, but that is the only kind of grass hay we could find in our corner of the world.
Anybody out there w/ pro's/con's about timothy, Drover fescue, or other flavors of grass hay?  Skeeter has a history of being a super-easy keeper, and on the hay we used to feed, he was cresty necked and had other telltale fat deposits as well as tender feet from time to time.  So we switched to Bermuda hay and PortaGrazers not quite 2 years ago, and slowly but surely he has dropped weight and lost the ugly fat deposits.  A few years ago, it was impossible to find hay growers in our area who were offering grass hay of any kind.  Suddenly we're hearing about LOTS of different alternatives to alfalfa hay (which until recently was considered the ONLY thing to feed horses!). 
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
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kckc

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 08:19:23 am »

bleached wouldn't stop me if he would open a bale and let you see inside.   we like timothy here - it might make a nice hay mix for your horses to have some of each?
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Allgaited

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 09:13:13 am »

My vet used to grow and sell timothy.  He said it was really good for horses because it was a lot of roughage and didn't tend to put weight on horses.  Also the horses like it cause it tastes sweet to them.  We fed it for years and liked it very much.  Moved and can't get it here now.  Drat.
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loneelk

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 09:21:27 am »

We've never been able to buy timothy before.  We've seen it growing on our place (IF we get a good monsoon season) and the boys like it & seek it out when it's green and growing.  Most likely was seeded from seeds in the "permanent pasture" grass hay that we used to get from our local hay grower, until we realized that every year we got it there was progressively more foxtail in the mix, and quit buying his "grass mix" alfalfa.  We don't have a problem w/ sun bleached either, as long as he opens a bale so we can check what's inside.  He says it's been barn stored since it was baled, and says no rain damage. 
But we won't really know 'til we see it tomorrow.  No he doesn't test, but at this time of year we're pretty much stuck w/ what's on the market.  Our only other choice will be 3 strand Bermuda from the feed store at about $25 a bale (approx. 90 lb. bales).  Hopefully we can come home w/ about 150 bales that should last us until the late summer baling.  We used to buy a year's worth of alfalfa, 100 bales @ a time for about 5 cuttings, which fed our (then) 4 horses until the following hay season started.  Now the max we can store at one time is about 5 to 7 months worth, depending on how we stack it.
And my poor dear husband is still SICK, but we're getting low on hay, so he's insisting that we MUST go get it tomorrow.  Men....
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


kckc

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2015, 10:07:29 am »

I'm with your husband - get it while you can  :-)   We found fox tails in some of my hay from last year.  My extension agent said you generally only get them (in this part of the country) in the fall cutting.  he also said they are very hard to eradicate.  of course.   so this year I'm hoping to stock up on all spring cutting just to avoid and also to avoid having them grow on my property.  I'd like to get my horses started on a bit of Bermuda/Coastal just to have it mixed in their hay - it's so soft/fine they all had a mild colic the year I "had" to buy it.  I'd like to just have them getting a mix of everything if I could.
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loneelk

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2015, 12:29:55 pm »

It seems that both of the growers I've talked with recently are happy to have long term folks buying their hay.  And finding two "local" growers who are happily raising & marketing grass hay is a new phenomenon here.  They're 80 miles from here, but in the hay world, that's "local".  For a long time it seemed that ALL the hay growers in this part of the state were moving toward raising only alfalfa hay for the dairies, because they can bale it in huge rounds or BIG (one ton) square bales, and cow hay can be fed even if it isn't "perfect".    Not sure what has changed, but for several years it got really difficult to find any kind of horse hay.  All of the Bermuda hay we've fed for past almost 2 yrs. was imported from either Colorado or Arizona.  We would really like to find one or two reliable hay growers that we can buy direct from.   
Intuitively it feels as if it's not a bad thing to feed different varieties of hay, altho nutritional testing will be nigh onto impossible--would just be a matter of careful observation over time, to be sure that body/hair coat condition and other observable health factors are staying within a normal range.
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


loneelk

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 03:42:34 pm »

So we decided to buy mostly Drover fescue (60 bales) and got 12 bales each of the guy's better quality alfalfa and the sun bleached timothy.  The quality of the fescue seemed better than the timothy, and the boys each got a flake of fescue with their evening Bermuda--they dove right into it, so it has passed the Gunner and Skeeter taste test. 
Just under a 3 hour round trip, and just under an hour to get our long hay trailer sandwiched into his loading area and load 84 bales and get the trailer back OUT of the barn/yard.  But tomorrow our little hay barn will be full and overflowing again.  This should do us about 5 months, so life is happy again.  We were down to "only" 4 bales of Bermuda (which would have tided us over for at least 10 days), so not as dire as we've sometimes been, but as we all know, not much is worse than running nearly out of horse hay. 
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


Kellie in OR

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2015, 11:58:50 pm »

I do not know about the fescue varieties in you area. But in my area, which is known for hybrid varieties of fescue for turf and cattle fattening, it is not good for horses. Most is high in sugars, some has a fungus that causes mares to abort and some people believe that same fungus causes laminitis. I hope that being in a different part of the country with different climates means much different fescues.
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loneelk

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 06:53:45 am »

That's exactly why I researched further before we decided to try it--because I'd not heard good things about "fescue" as horse feed.  Here's one of several sites I found when I searched "Drover fescue":
http://www.jeinc.com/Websites/jeinc/images/seed/Forage%20Grasses/Drover.pdf
I suspect that the appeal of this variety of fescue for hay producers in this part of the country is the "drought tolerant".  It was tested by NMSU, our state's ag university, which is about 80 miles south of here, altho I'm not sure where all of their test farms are.  We'll probably feed this in combo w/ timothy or Bermuda, at least for awhile. 
Fingers crossed that we didn't make a 2 ton hay mistake.  So far, it seems pretty clean.  A few weeks ago, we found a fish skeleton in our Bermuda hay.  Haven't found anything like that before or since in any other bale, but EEEWWWWW.  The Bermuda was from Colorado, so I can only assume that it was a total fluke or perhaps they "fertilize" w/ fish byproducts?
Due to some other issues w/ the seller (very difficult in & out of his yard/barn w/ our trailer) and some "communication issues" between him & my husband in the process of trying to wedge the truck & trailer through his yard and into his barn, we probably won't be buying from him again anytime soon.  Altho we were glad to find grass hay at this time of year at a reasonable price, and well worth the trip down & back and even the difficulty maneuvering the truck/trailer. 
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 07:29:45 am by loneelk »
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


OldnOrnery

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 09:53:50 am »

Are you going to get an analysis of the fescue? Inquiring minds....
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loneelk

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Re: Drover fescue grass hay? and other questions
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2015, 10:07:37 am »

Would love to but don't have a probe.  I may get in a call to the county extension office to see if they have one we can borrow.  This is likely the only 60 bales of this we'll ever buy, so..... 
Altho, the farm where he actually grows this is about 90 miles in the other direction, so if it turns out that he's going to grow more of it this year and IF we don't have to go back south to his very cramped little sales yard/barn, we might consider buying more of it.  So perhaps it would be worth testing IF we can find a probe, even w/ only 60 bales to sample.  We just realized as my husband is offloading and stacking it in the barn this morning that the bales are baled differently--most w/ orange hay string, but some w/ baling wire, which we haven't seen used around here in years.
Interesting....
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


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