I think it depends on the stage of the seed heads? You left it on the ground? And are your horses turned out on it? If so, I’m curious to have you report back if they get oral sores. I’m planning to mow mine tomorrow night. THanks for your response!
That’s good to know. Thanks for sharing!
They are knee deep in good grass so they won’t eat it. I may truly the pasture pro. Thanks for the tip.
Interesting that you posted this because I have never noticed much foxtail in my fields either but suddenly this year, there it is. I think it might have something to do with the weird timing of rain and dry spells we’ve had this year. I also haven’t mowed for a few weeks because of life, so the tall seedheads are pretty obvious. Yesterday I spent two hours pulling the foxtail by hand because I thought I only had two isolated patches. Then this morning I hacked out past the back field and realized there is a massive patch back there too, so I probably wasted a lot of time yesterday. Maybe I will weedwhack those areas and rake up the seed heads the best I can? I want to get the seeds out of there at least, so it doesn’t spread.
I also have an increasing horse nettle problem the last few years. I’ve been finding that in my hay fairly often as well so either it’s a regional issue or the seeds arrived in my hay and are now spreading.
Sigh, it’s always something.
I started on a patch this weekend and still have fantasies of cutting it all down and raking but it’s got to be at least an acre. It’s so discouraging and yes, it’s always something. I call horses at home bipolar. It’s amazing and they are so happy and I’m in control and by God if this won’t be the death of me.
Since building we have had one thing after another going wrong and working FT and being gone all day all week is a buzzkill.
Also, does everyone spray all living green things? I’m going to start another thread on that. I’ve got weeds coming up everywhere including the driveways and wherever there is stone. I loathe the idea of spraying chemicals that cause cancer and do harm and on the other hands this place will grow over in weeds.
And yes I spray chemicals on the driveway, arena edges, and fencelines. I tried not to. I really did. I tried vinegar and even just plain grass looked sad for about a week then came roaring back, let alone the bad-ass weeds. I just don’t know what the alternative is if you don’t want all your expensive improved footing to turn into a jungle. I tell myself that my contribution of chemicals is a very small drop in the bucket…
OMG, I can so relate!!
I love having them at home, they are cared for exactly the way I want it and indeed they are so happy and chill. But boy is it hard. The work never ends… I walk around exhausted every day of the year for that one hour of riding I get of them a few days a week, lol.
Same here, I see no other way either. Those weeds just become more & more resistant and one has no choice but to use chemicals. I hate it too.
Each time I use Pasture Pro herbicide, I have sleepless nights worrying about putting the horses back out on it. But a pasture full of weeds is not the answer either.
In case you’re wondering, this is what 2 hours of pointless foxtail pulling looks like.
I’m feeling really tapped out on horse and farm ownership right now. The foxtail is literally the least of my worries and yet I spent 2 hours on it. Listened to some good podcasts at least…
So why is foxtail bad?
I honestly haven’t found issue with horses grazing on live/growing foxtail, especially the yellow type. The big issue is when it is hayed and the dried seed heads are unavoidable for the horses.
We have some in our fields that keeps coming back even after we spray with Prowl H2O, which is a pre-emergent herbicide that is the only thing that works to prevent foxtail. I think it blows in from the neighbor’s field. Mowing actually does no good because if you drop the seed heads, that just allows them to proliferate even more. And if you try to keep it short, the seed heads will develop below the cutting height of your mower and then there is no way to get rid of them.
We just invested in a $500 sprayer from Tractor Supply and plan to spray our fields ourselves, since hiring the local MFA to come do it annually was going to add up quickly. Spraying the Prowl after the first hay cutting in May/June seemed to help keep the foxtail from popping up before our 2nd cutting. But it sounds like something that we will have to keep on top of at least every other year, if not annually. Just another aspect of farm maintenance that we weren’t expecting, but seems to be necessary, especially since we cut our own hay.
The seed heads have little spines that can get stuck in the horses’ gums and cause mouth ulcers. They can also get stuck in paw pad of dogs and cats if they run through a field of foxtail. The worst is the giant foxtail, but the other varieties can cause issues as well, especially in hay.
My understanding is that foxtail is an annual (unless you live where I do that now gets 3 days of winter) and that cold weather kills it off. The trick is to mow it frequently enough that you do not get seedheads and you can get rid of it that way. I have a small paddock that had it in it and I was able to get rid of most of it by mowing weekly with a riding mower set low so I never got seedheads. You can’t do that in a larger pasture and that is why I still have it in the big pasture. But that pasture is so undergrazed and the foxtail isn’t a preferred forage so I don’t have problems with it.
I was so happy about getting it out of my small paddock and then I bought hay that had foxtail in it.
I would put enough hay out in the winter that the horses could pick through it and not eat the foxtail. I didn’t have problems but that reseeded my small pasture with foxtail. Never bought hay from that guy again.
Yes, it is an annual. But the seeds can be dormant in the soil for years, and of course can get blown in or reintroduced by hay with foxtail seeds in it, as you have seen. It’s a real pain to get rid of for sure.
Yesterday I removed another wheelbarrow load of it. I didn’t have 2 hours to hand pull so I used a trimmer then raked up the trimmings. I don’t know if it will actually help, but it makes me feel better to get all those seed heads out of there. I eradicated wild mustard by hand pulling (there was less every year—now none) while my immediate neighbor just mowed and still has tons of it.
My horses have shown no interest in eating the foxtail, but I only have 3 acres of pasture and want as much room for good stuff as possible!
I’ve been meaning to come back to this thread and appreciate all the responses. My idea was to use the weed eater and cut it all down near the ground and then rake up. Hand pulling sounds AWFUL.
What is your history with this stuff Libby? And do you spray your fields? I’m just curious.
DId you have to spray to kill what happened from that infested hay?
No. I kept mowing the grass in there very short once a week and kept it from developing seed heads. Eventually I think most of it died back. It doesn’t germinate that well in areas where there is good grass cover - it likes bare patches of dirt. I hate to spray that paddock because it is the turnout for my two horses with foot issues and the other part of the pasture contains Ms. Alpha/ Don’t get along with everybody so no turnout with her. I would have to fence in another small paddock which I have now done. Because foxtail is a grass, broad leaf herbicides don’t get rid of it. I think Prowl does? I don’t know how long you have to leave horses off the pasture when you spray that.
Prowl works on foxtail, but has to be sprayed before it starts growing as it is a pre-emergent (stops the seeds from germinating). We’ve used it the last 2 years on our hay field. Not sure what the grazing restrictions are for it, I’ve seen differing amounts on different year’s labels.
Actually found this from the EPA in 2019 “Mixed stand alfalfa/cool season forage grasses may be grazed or harvested for forage or hay 14 or more days after applying Prowl H2O”