Horse Preference, Forage Yield, and Species Persistence of 12 Perennial Cool-Season Grass Mixtures Under Horse Grazing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cool-season grass mixtures are rarely evaluated for preference, yield, and persistence under horse grazing. The objectives of this research were to evaluate horse preference, forage yield, and persistence of cool-season grass mixtures under horse grazing. Eight commercially marketed and four experimental perennial cool-season grass mixtures were planted in 2009 in a randomized complete block with five replicates and grazed by four adult horses during 2010, 2011, and 2012. All mixtures contained four to six cool-season perennial grass species. Specie density measurements were taken in each spring and fall, and yield was mechanically measured before each grazing period. After grazing, preference was determined by visually assessing percentage of forage removal on a scale of 0 (no grazing) to 100 (100% of vegetation removed). Data were analyzed using a mixed-model analysis of variance and liner regression. Horses preferred mixtures containing tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy (P < .001). Horses had less preference for mixtures containing ≥30% orchardgrass (P < .001). Mixtures had similar (P = .11) forage yields that ranged from 6,100 to 7,082 kg ha-1. After 2 years of grazing, orchardgrass and tall fescue increased; Kentucky bluegrass remained stable; and festulolium, meadow fescue, and perennial ryegrass had the greatest rate of decline in mixtures. Orchardgrass became the dominate species, regardless of initial percentage in the mixture. Mixtures containing tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy should be planted in midwestern US horse pastures; however, mixtures will likely transition to tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass-dominated pastures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cool-season perennial grass
  • Forage yield
  • Grazing
  • Horse preference
  • Species persistence

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Horse Preference, Forage Yield, and Species Persistence of 12 Perennial Cool-Season Grass Mixtures Under Horse Grazing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this