Meadow Hay and Weeds

Barley Grass damage to the Horse


I recently walked into a Stable on my property and saw 150mm thick of pure ‘Barley Grass’ Seeds lying on the Floor. I looked in the Tack Shed and there were 30 Bales of pure ‘Barley Grass’, a weed that has no nutrition, destroys established pastures and the seeds of which bury themselves into the gums of the Horse and can even come all the way through and burst outside the face.

I immediately banned the Owner of the Horse from feeding it and asked her to remove it from the Property. She advertised it and it was purchased by the ‘Blair Athol Fodder Store’ No need to mention that the Horse was under weight and with no sparkle.

Here is the result of Meadow Hay with Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse)


‘City Folk’ don’t get taught anything Rural. They don’t know how to select Hay, check for mould that kills Horses and they certainly have zero idea about checking Fodder for Weeds. They are also not taught about Pasture Management and yet large numbers of them, when they buy a Horse, make the Pilgrimage to the outer fringes of the Capital Cities of Australia, to buy discounted Hay from the so called Farmer. None of this their fault of course for there is no teaching about important things to new Horse Owners in my Country.

READ MY LIPS The chance of buying quality Hay on the fringes of the Cities is fanciful for it doesn’t get grown there. What you do get is ‘Back Yard Farmers’ playing Hay Grower and Baling nothing but pure CRAP Hay that is almost 100% Weed infested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no goodness in it, Horses starve on it and worst of all, the poor Soul that owns the Equestrian Centre is going to have to pay hundreds of dollars a year to repair the damage caused by the Buyer of this Hay who just brought back millions of Weed Seeds that are going to be put into the compost heap and later spread on my $100,000 paddocks.

Another warning… all my years of buying Hay and Farming, I have never once met a person of Mediterranean Origin who has sold quality Hay. They always own a lot of the small Farms on the inner fringes as you know. Smart, aren’t they? If they are not full of Weeds, they are under weight markedly. You are being ripped off.


There are certain Weeds that are Toxic to Horses and they all reside on the fringes of the Metropolis. They vary with the States but Patterson’s Curse destroys the Kidneys of the Horse, Dandelion
causes Stringhalt

Cape Tulip and so on.

Weeds have no nutrition and most are anti productive. It is poor Horse Ownership to feed their Horse Weeds.


I know why, most won’t admit it though. City Folk feed Meadow Hay because it is cheaper…..or they think it is. It is most often a disaster, especially if you buy any closer than 50k from a City and in South Australia, especially if you buy at Virginia and surrounds. Let them grow their Veggies, not Hay!!!!

Barley Grass


This Week, I have consulted on a Court Case, where a Hay Grower was sued, because Barley Grass was within the Hays.

Treat it is as Poison Folks!!!!!! It will infest Your Property and YOU CANNOT SPRAY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! unless with Roundup killing all.


The amount of nutrition that I have seen in Meadow Hays purchased by Horse Owners from near City Growers is minimal to nil and yet the feeding of such Hay is prevalent. 5 days after finding the ‘Barley Grass’ I met another Horse at another Equestrian Centre that was being fed the same plus Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse) that kills Horses.

Therefore, you are better off feeding Cereal Hay


You will hear the ‘Old Wives Tale’ that ‘Oaten Hay’ hot’s Horses up. We feed nothing but d have never seen one. In fact, we feed straight Oats in hard Feeds too and have still never met a ‘Hot Horse’ Hot Horses are caused by under working Horses for the amount of energy they are being fed.

Oaten has more nutritional value. We have occasionally fed Barley Hay and providing it is good, Horses to like it and it is in fact a better fattener than Oaten and Wheaten but be warned about ‘Bearded varieties” that stick in the gums.



Well I’ve got news for you. There are few pastures around the Metropolitan areas of any of our Cities that have nutritional goodness that can improve your Horse or sustain it adequately to the point where I would call you a good Horse Owner. Most of the properties i the marginal’s of the Metro is substandard Land. Virtually all of it has never been kept balanced, fed with the necessary Minerals or pastures renewed. Most ‘City Folk’ think that if it is Green, it is pasture and it has to be good for the Hrse. Well sorry Folks….not so. As I said, you can confidentally adopt the proposition that NO PROPERTY on the margins of Metropolitan areas and of 20 acres or less is worth a Bean when it comes to the required upkeep of Horses.


We feed most Horses 4kg morning and 4kg at night. Mrs. HP’s high performance Horse (17.2) gets 5kg morning and night. or 2kg Lucerne Hay and 3kg Oaten Hay at night. (Read about Hay and Sand Colic) Buy Scales with a Hook!



Horses prefer Oaten Hay over Wheaten, by far.


Professional Hay Growers have say, 100 acres upwards and most 500 acres and upwards.

The Shonks reside in a strip of about 20k wide from the Outer Suburbs, the Professionals are out further.

The Shonks don’t spray for weeds, the Professionals do. The Professionals also get ‘Feed Tests’ done and Bale to a moisture content.

The Professionals Bale at the time of day that keeps the integrity of the Hay and the heads, in tact and within the Bale.

The Shonks Bale any time and often the Hay is chaffed up due to Baling in the hotter time of the day.

The Professional these days often ‘Conditions’ their Hay (put through a Roller prior to the Baling to soften and condition) The Shonks do not.

Most Professionals grow Cereal Hay, few grow ‘Meadow Hay

Baling too Green

Growing Hay and trying to guess the Rain is a Nightmare. No matter how good You are, it’s a struggle. Hay Baled on the Green side is fine, provided it is allowed to dry out totally, prior to Baling, but if it is not, then mold, Colic and even the burning down of your Hay shed can easily happen.



Small square Bales of Hay should weigh 25kg. 40 per Tonne.


Ask the Farmer when you ring and enquire, about Weeds and ask if you can check his paddocks.


Stick your head in the Hay. Use your nose. Does is smell sweet, sour, musty, moldy????? You have to know.

* NEVER buy more than one bale first time around!!!! Your Horse is the only ultimate Judge of Hay. Take one Bale home and test it on as many Horses as possible, both watching their initial reaction and then whether they ‘cleaned up’ next morning. What did they leave, pull out and throw away??? Check the left over’s and the floor. You have to know!!

Mold Kills Horses

No mater how good Hay looks, Horses may hate it and not eat a straw!!!! Why?

The smell of Mice, Rats or Chooks that have been living in the Hay Stack.

Baled with a Moisture Content that was a little too high where the Hay has gone Sour but not dangerous.

Contains Weeds

Has ‘Hay Mite’ in it.

and other reasons

* The Horse is the Judge. Let them make the decisions and save yourself plenty!!!!!


You should know the weight of the Hay you are buying.. I do. I put the Trailer over a weigh Bridge on the way up and on the way home Weight is money. A lot of Hay is sold by the Tonne weight these days and so you need to know. You can go buy all the bargain hay you like at $5 a bale but if it weighs 15 kilo’s a bale, you have paid $9 a bale in reality.


Because I get asked regularly, I’ll list what we feed here for future reference. (approximate and depending upon Horse Size, weight and work)
Oaten Chaff, Lucerne Chaff ( 1/2, 20 litre bucket)
Litre of Rice Pollard (gradually built up from a Handfull over a Week. (Colic)
2 – 3kg of Pellets to suit
Crushed Oats for performance Horses in work 1-2kg
Maxi Soy soaked to recommended dose rate
Additives to suit (Calcium, Minerals, Electrolytes etc)


Why do you think we are progressively and comprehensively losing our Horse Trails around Australia? It is because of Weeds, that’s why. Virtually every Govt and Local Govt Staffer that I have ever dealt with in my many years of fighting for the retention of Horse Trails and Horses in National Parks and Forest Lands are totally biased against Horses and the reason is “BECAUSE THEY SPREAD WEEDS” Can you imagine how bloody frustrating that is to people who try and foster the Horse Industry?? ….and you know what? They are right 🙁 They are only right however, because of people feeding Meadow Hay and ‘Rogue Fodder Stores but that all comes down to the Bosses of our Industry just not getting it of course.

Stop feeding Meadow Hay and stop Weeds. Never Feed Hay when you are Floating to the Parks or Beaches. You are spreading weeds!!!!! You are playing right into the hands of the “Yes Ministers’ that I would like to grab by the throat and choke to within an inch of their lives but forget about them…..just think about your Horse

Listen to Your Horses

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