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Reed Canary Grass Hay - any experience?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Sheep' started by shepherdO, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Sep 22, 2019
    shepherdO

    shepherdO Loving the herd life

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    Location:
    Okanagan area of British Columbia
    I need a few more bales of hay stored up to get me through the winter as I have more stock this year. Anyhoo, there's a good deal on some local hay around my way - it's 'reed canary grass hay'. Any experience with this?

    Apparently some varieties can be high in alkaloids and prompt staggers in cattle.

    Help?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Sep 22, 2019
    Hens and Roos

    Hens and Roos Herd Master

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  3. Sep 22, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    Have little or no real experience with it. It has been suggested as a good grass for wet areas. Seems to grow better in the northern states. Not well liked by most that I have talked to, and they say if it gets into your ground, is near impossible to eradicate. Think I would not get it unless I was pretty desperate for hay. I haven't read where it makes a very desirable hay.
     
  4. Sep 22, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I'm in Texas, the premiere grass hay here is Bermuda, followed by Bahia. Have never had any dealings with reed canary grass. So I went looking..... it seems to be an invasive, takes over completely, choking out other vegetation, forming a thick sod so that nothing else can grow. Most articles were against it, a few claimed that it was a good grass.

    https://www.invasive.org/gist/moredocs/phaaru01.pdf

    https://www.tsln.com/news/reed-canarygrass-environmental-foe-cattle-food/

    http://www.saskforage.ca/sfc/high/docs/profile_reed_canary_grass.pdf
     
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  5. Sep 23, 2019
    DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Ridin' The Range

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    As Baymule said.

    I'm in New England. It can be very common here, as we have many old farm fields converted back toward wetland areas. In fact, I'd say wetlands are overpushed by the enviros here...but that's another thread.

    My first hay haul was reed canary with a mix of timothy and clover.

    I have goats, by the way.

    I found my girls will eat some of it. Each bale has a slightly different % mix of stuff, and I'm confident they were eating around most of the reed canary.
    If it is really that cheap (mine was), get it as a bedding stash! The reed canary is a bit thicker stalked and stronger, makes a better matted up bed than the sugar filled expensive hays do.

    As feed, don't bother. No nutrition in it even if they did eat it.
     
  6. Sep 23, 2019
    Roving Jacobs

    Roving Jacobs Seeing Spots

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    I've been working on getting this off my pasture since I moved here. The goats might nibble the tips and young plants but the sheep avoid it as much as possible. I'd only get that hay if there was nothing else available and only if I was ok if they wasted most of it.
     
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  7. Sep 23, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    From the sounds of it, I would be afraid to allow it on my property as hay, bedding or anything. I'd be afraid for seeds to drop on the ground and decide to grow.
     
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  8. Sep 24, 2019
    DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Ridin' The Range

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    I wonder how easily it might do so.
    I'm under impression that it likes really wet and damp, such as wetlands.

    You got me all worried now lol.
     
  9. Sep 26, 2019
    wolf

    wolf Overrun with beasties

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    As a rule - I never put hay out to feed, that I won't reseed my pasture with.
     
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  10. Sep 26, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    There's the answer. We are the same pretty much. The only thing we run into that we can't really control is the weeds that are mixed into our big round bales. But as far as the seeds from the hay, we only feed the fescue hay where there is already fescue growing, it is pretty common here, and although we don't like it, it is not the worst. But if you don't have any of the reed canary grass there now, why introduce it. I'd find other hay that would be more palatable to the animals too. I don't see any real resounding endorsement of reed canary grass hay.
     
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