Hello Everyone, I am new to this so please bear with me. I have a question about a new planting for horse safe grasses. I have sprayed the existing field which contained a great deal of clover. I am planting new grasses which are hopefully more horse friendly. The new mixture that is proposed includes: Orchard Grass, Brome Grass and a variety of tall fescue known as "Fawn". I am being told that this variety of fescue is safe for horses. Is there anyone that could help give me some advice on this? Thanks
Dear Riverdale: We need to ask first, who is telling you that this particular variety is safe for horses? Is it the salesman who has a vested interest in making the sale, is it a county extension agent (who may not have any better information than does a salesman)? Or a neighbor or some friends willing to swear by it?
Second, we need to ask: on what basis is it supposed to be safe? Is it government certified not to have any endophytes? Not to have any artificial or added or "innoculated" endophytes? Who is the entity or agency who may be saying there are no endophytes?
Third, we need to ask: has this variety actually been tested on horses? If so, where and by whom? Were the results published somewhere, and is there a document concerning the results available for your review?
Anytime anyone goes to the effort to make a major pasture overhaul, as you have, we are also talking about major expense. And you have been wise to ask before proceeding, because a mistake will also be costly.
I have no personal knowledge of any particular Fescue variety and so cannot comment on "Fawn", but the advice I have given you above should allow you to make a good decision, one way or the other. The other components in your mix are great. There will be an ongoing war with the clover, because it is practically impossible to eradicate, but overseeding with these more desirable grasses should thin it down to where your horses are eating mostly the grass and not the clover.
Best of luck with this and it's great to hear from someone who cares enough about his livestock and his property to look seriously at everything that's growing out there that the horses have access to. -- Dr. Deb