Hay mixture

Asked January 17, 2020, 3:25 PM EST

I am planning on planting hay for miniature horses as well as quarterhorses. I have 5.5 acres available. I would like to feed a mix of orchardgrass and timothy. What would be a good percentage mixture? I'm thinking 75% orchard grass and 25% timothy. Am I in the ball park? Thank you.

St. Clair County Michigan

1 Response

I asked a few of my colleagues to weigh in on your proposed mix. Dr. Kim Cassida, our forage specialist had the following comment:

If this is purely a hay field, it will be difficult to manage. Orchardgrass and timothy can potentially flower about a month apart (orchardgrass is our earliest grass and timothy the latest) so scheduling 1st cut for good quality will be difficult. If timothy is cut too early, it damages regrowth for the rest of the year. If cutting is delayed until the timothy is ready, the orchardgrass will be like straw. If she goes with this mix, she needs to select a late-maturity orchardgrass such as Echelon or Intensiv, and an early timothy, such as Zenyatta. This will reduce the timing disparity.

Timothy is our “low sugar” perennial grass; brome and orchardgrass are both higher in sugar and digestibility. If she is worried about minis getting fat, why not just grow timothy?

Brome will need a special planter capable of handling “fluffy” or “native” seed.

Tom Guthrie, our equine field education, also suggested that you read the attached article. There is a section on pasture mixes towards the end. Your local grain elevator, if they also sell pasture mixes, may have some suggestions for your area as well. Good Luck!