You asked: Is fescue grass good for horses?

Tall fescue is an extremely hardy, well-adapted grass species used for hay and pasture in the central and eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Although tall fescue has gotten a bad reputation in the horse industry, it is a safe and practical grass for most classes of horses with the exception of broodmares.

Will fescue hurt a horse?

ENDOPHYTE- INFECTED FESCUE

Recognize first that it is not the fescue grass itself that is toxic to the horse, but rather an endophytic fungus known as Acremonium coenophialum which lives within the plants and seeds. When the horse ingests the grass, it is steadily poisoned by the endophyte.

What type of grass is best for horses?

In pure stands, the grass species that offered the best balance of plant persistence, yield, nutrient value, and horse preference were orchardgrass, meadow fescue, endophyte-free tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass.

Is fescue grass safe for horses to eat?

Horses can safely eat endophyte-free tall fescue. Tall fescue is moderately tolerant of continuous grazing and has excellent fall productivity. Tall fescue can have marginal winter hardiness and lower palatability.

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Is tall fescue bad for horses?

Tall fescue is an extremely hardy, well-adapted grass species used for hay and pasture in the central and eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Although tall fescue has gotten a bad reputation in the horse industry, it is a safe and practical grass for most classes of horses with the exception of broodmares.

Does tall fescue make good hay?

Growing three to four feet high, tall fescue can produce an abundance of hay or silage material when well managed. Hay should be harvested in the early maturity stage when the grass produces the best quality and rate of digestibility. After the first harvest, cut re-growth 4-6 weeks later.

What grass is bad for horses?

Sudan grass and its hybrids are often grown as a forage crop for horses and cattle. Animals consuming them in either fresh or dried form may suffer cyanide poisoning. Both Johnson and Sudan grasses may contain hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid) and sometimes toxic levels of nitrates.

What is the best grass for a horse pasture?

These long-living grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, reed canarygrass, smooth bromegrass, cocksfoot or timothy and provide an ongoing source of nutrition. Bluegrass tolerates close grazing down to two inches, so is a good choice for heavily used pastures.

Can horses eat any kind of grass?

High-quality grass is optimal for horses. Pasture grass of high quality is the most natural and one of the best foods for a horse. Major horse farms have fine pastures that are well fertilized, drained, and kept free of weeds.

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What are the symptoms of fescue toxicity in horses?

Symptoms of Fescue Toxicity in Horses

  • Overall reduced performance.
  • Fever.
  • Lameness.
  • Sloughing off of the end of the tail.
  • Poor weight gai.
  • Increased respiration rate.
  • Rough coat.
  • Excessive salivation.

Is tall fescue toxic?

The biggest issue with tall fescue is toxicosis. Endophyte-infected tall fescue produces ergot-alkaloid compounds, which can be a life-threatening toxin within the plant. Although the toxin can cause issues in cattle all year round, the biggest issues tend to stem to the summer months.

What causes Fescue toxicosis?

Equine fescue toxicosis is caused when pregnant mares eat tall fescue that is infected with an endophyte fungus, Acremonium coenephialum . Both the mare and the foal can be affected when the mare eats endophyte-infected fescue.

Why can’t pregnant mares eat fescue?

Mares that continue to eat fescue are at greatly increased risk of prolonged pregnancy and a difficult delivery of the overmature foal; thickening of the placenta leading to suffocation of the foal during birth; premature placental separation; and failure to produce colostrum or milk.

Is Kentucky 31 tall fescue good for pasture grass?

Kentucky 31 is currently primarily used for lawn and turf grass. It does have a more coarse appearance than improved types. While Kentucky 31 tall fescue has and is used extensively for livestock pasture grass, agronomists no longer recommend Kentucky 31 for livestock pastures due to the presence of endophytes.

What eats tall fescue grass?

Making a note that deer and turkey will cross a field of tall fescue and only eat the clover or other grasses, he says, “Landowners in a rural setting may not want to plant it in their yards if they want to observe wildlife.”

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