Can you advise me about baling wheat just
as it is about to head out? Would you know if a person could
feed that to horses, if it would be harmful to them in any
Also, what mix of seed would be ideal for a hay crop for
horses. And what do you recommend planted as far as pounds
Finally, where would a person find a picture description
of the particular grasses that usually are found in hay—such
as timothy, brome, etc.?
Any help you can offer with these questions is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for considering New Farm as a source of information
on your agricultural questions. I’ll try to address
each of your concerns, but please realize the answers are
complex. I’m not sure where you are located, so my
responses will reflect what works here in southeastern Pennylvania;
things could vary in other regions in terms of crop selection
and weather patterns.
Baling wheat in head
– Typically we do this with rye, not wheat, and it
is used as a bedding material, not for feed. Wheat has a
higher value as a grain crop than rye. The “bleached
rye” straw makes for nice bright bedding material
for horses or dairy cows. Horses are generally fussy about
what they eat. I would say that too much wheat will give
the horses stomach problems; a call to a local veterinarian
or your state university equine center will give you the
best advice on that.
Hay for horses
– Here we plant a mixture of alfalfa and timothy or
alfalfa and orchard grass as hay for horses or dairy cows.
Most buyers are much more concerned with quality—the
timing of the cutting, the amount of rain that hit the hay
once it was cut, the amount of weeds in the hay, the color
and smell of the hay, etc.—than they are with the
percentage of legumes and grass in the hay. I would stay
away from the clovers, since they can be harder for the
fussy stomachs of horses.
Hay seeding rates
– Here again, the standard rates listed for the various
hay crops in your state’s agronomy guide for conventional
farmers will work for you as well. Keep in mind, if you
are starting hay organically, that you need to pay close
attention to the timing of your planting. And I recommend
the use of a nurse crop, such as a small grain, to help
establish the hay, since the support of herbicides to control
early weeds will not be available to you.
– I don’t have one particular source that I
consider best, but Purdue University has a very good forage
that has nice photos and written descriptions of many hay
and forage crops.
Hope this helps.
Have some questions to Ask Jeff? E-mail him directly