Pasture grass and forages vary with the temperature zones just like the turf
grasses do. Here we have provided information on the best horse pasture grass and hay seed for all of the USA. This would be what is referred to as cool season and warm season grass. There are also
forages for horse pastures such as Alfalfa which have varieties that are adapted to all of the USA.
Many original grass types have been improved to suit the needs of the smaller scaled farmer, rancher, or hobbyist owning fewer animals on less acreage than in the past.
Seeding Recommendations from the folks at? Seedland.com on your pasture needs!
For the northern or cool season grass areas of the USA, many of the old stand-by forages such as Kentucky 31 tall fescue, have alternative species that
were developed and improved over the years to provide better protein and
vegetative material per plant with out the drawback of fescue toxicity. One example is the endophyte free Kentucky 32 Tall Fescue Grass.
MaxQ Jesup tall fescue grass seed produces a durable and safe horse pasture with friendly endophytes that cause NO FESCUE TOXICITY. MaxQ tall fescue pasture grass is
nutritious, traffic tolerant, safe for grazing and provides excellent hay production. For more on non-toxic tall fescue grasses and fescue
toxicity please see our informational page at www.fescue.com/pasture/index.htmland watch the
As you can see in the video below, there are options to Kentucky 31 as a cool season pasture grass. MaxQ provides the nutrition for grazing livestock and horses that is needed in a Tall Fescue
with out the fescue toxicity. MaxQ Tall Fescue is a safe, nutritious alternative to fescue pasture grasses that contain naturally occurring endophytes. In 2000 Mississippi State
University and Pennington partnered to test MaxQ. After over 10 years of testing
horses and livestock grazing MaxQ Tall Fescue the results show no fescue toxicity or adverse effects on pregnant mares and their foals. MaxQ also outperforms other tall fescues for weight gain in cattle, sheep and nutrition for horses.
You can also view this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy0vlWe5XAY&feature=youtu.be.
Warm Season Pastures
For the warm season grass areas or Southern USA , new developments in grass and forage seeds have produced excellent quality pasture grass and hay production crops. While there is a myriad of choices for warm season grass we thought we would mention the more popular improved varieties.
In the bahia grass species one of the most popular varieties is Tifton 9 Bahia Grass which is a certified
Pensacola grass seed that offers more forage yields, higher protein value, and a longer growing season.
Another popular warm season grass is bermuda grass and an
improved variety here is Ranchero Frio which is a perennial blend of top bermuda grass seed. You may also be interested in this bermuda grass seed blend,
Pasto Rico Bermuda Grass which is a blend of 50/50 common bermuda with Giant
bermuda grass. For more information please see our links for warm season and cool season grasses above.
Horse Pasture Maintenance & Care
Incorporating newer grass
has enabled farmers or ranchers to get the most pasture use out of the
least amount of land. Additional feeds can also be supplemented to the main use of the pasture although it is recommended that some horses consume less feed and a greater variety of forages
such as legumes like alfalfa and clover. This is explained in this PDF document from Penn State which I quote:
"Horses should consume at
least 1 percent of their body weight in hay or pasture grasses and legumes each day." Mature horses performing minimal or no work can be maintained on high-quality forages without supplementing their diet with grain. Growing, breeding, or working horses require supplemental grain or concentrate to meet their additional nutrient requirements. Generally, for optimal horse growth and development, forages should supply one half or more of the total weight of feed consumed daily recommended for various classes of horses."
Overseeding practices have also become more popular in helping to extend the amount of months, in some regions, that pastures can be used. These practices can also benefit full time pastures in the warmer climates that have thinned and need a little renovation. All pastures naturally have some rate of decline over time due to climate conditions, hoof wear, disease, erosion factors, little or no fertilization being applied, or other factors.
be the staple in the food chain of horses if properly planned in the beginning.
Rotational lots are the key to success in utilizing pasture space to the fullest potential. Small acreage that is well managed can be cheaper in the long run as opposed to those hefty feed
bills each month. Horses especially do better in a rotational system. If there are several varieties of plants growing in one field the horse will (just like you or I ) pick out the
tastiest growth and eat it down to the dirt.
Having at least two small lots and rotating the time spent in either will help the food source of your pasture go farther. By
rotating, one of the pastures could be sown in a different seed that provides more nutrition and variety. Before man started fencing livestock in restricted spaces grazing animals, such as horses, were free to pick and choose which plants they
When one area was grazed low they naturally moved on to the next range and thus were provided the variety of vegetation and minerals needed to sustain the generations and keep the herds
healthy. This natural environment may be duplicated by using a rotational pasture grazing system.
Please see this excellent PDF document on Pasture and Hay For Horses from Penn State that has a comprehensive section on
horse pasture management.
Visit our page about HORSE RESCUE farms.... Help make a better world for neglected horses with your donation. List your rescue ranch or organization here also.
We have also included a links section for other horse sites that are informative on various horse related subjects or provide horse
The Importance Of Testing Your Pasture Soil
Soil tests are
the only true way to determine amounts and ratios of
fertilizer and other elements needed in your particular area. The
county extension agents in your area are equipped to handle soil testing at a
reasonable fee or suggest where to send samples. Extension agents are trained
to provide knowledge on varieties of grasses or other
forages that perform best for your particular area or pasture needs. Many
counties offer programs for beginners and old hands on all kinds
of agricultural subjects that can help you plan and manage your
horse pastures no matter how large or small your acreage.
Horse Pastures need soil
testing about every two years to keep forage fertility at its best. Pastures are not established in two or three months, this is a commitment to permanency and generally it can take from nine to twelve months or more depending upon the choice of forage, fertilization and climatic conditions of the year.