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Is Johnson Grass Hay safe???

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Coastal hay has gotten pretty scarce in my area and so we just bought a round bale of johnson hay for the cows and donkeys.  I should have researched this first, but just assumed it was fine since so much is being sold around here.  How safe is johnson grass (or how dangerous) when it's hay?  I'm very worried that I may inadvertently have poisoned my animals.  Help!

3 buff orps, 3 light brahmas, 2 silkies, 2 EEs, 1 blue salmon faverolle, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 Dexter cattle, 1 momma donkey and her baby
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3 buff orps, 3 light brahmas, 2 silkies, 2 EEs, 1 blue salmon faverolle, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 Dexter cattle, 1 momma donkey and her baby
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post #2 of 18

I don't know the answer to this, so I did some quick research and that led me to the opinion that I would not feed it without check with a vet first. 

Here is a sample of what I found:

Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) is a plant in the grass family, Poaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, but growing throughout Europe and the Middle East. The plant has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and most larger islands and archipelago. It reproduces by rhizomes and seeds.

Johnson grass has been used for forage and to stop erosion, but it is often considered a weed for the following reasons:

   1. Foliage that becomes wilted from frost or hot dry weather can contain sufficient amounts of prussic acid to kill cattle and horses if it is eaten in quantity.
   2. The foliage can cause 'bloat' in such herbivores from the accumulation of excessive nitrates; otherwise, it is edible.
   3. It grows and spreads so quickly that it can 'choke out' other cash crops that have been planted by farmers.

In Argentina the plant is causing new problems as it is growing resistant to the popular herbicide glyphosate[1].

See also

    * List of plants poisonous to equines
    * Wikimedia Commons logo Media related to Sorghum halepense at Wikimedia Commons


HTH

Rusty Hills Farm ... home of  AQHA  A Rusty Zipper and Buff Plymouth Rocks.

"Y'know the worst part about gettin' old? It's gettin' old!" Ben Johnson (My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys)

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Rusty Hills Farm ... home of  AQHA  A Rusty Zipper and Buff Plymouth Rocks.

"Y'know the worst part about gettin' old? It's gettin' old!" Ben Johnson (My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys)

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post #3 of 18

Wow, thanks for this question, I've never heard of Johnson hay and to "rusy" for the reply, that is very interesting! Who would have thought any grass could be harmful!

Northern New England Bird Fanciers Association      http://northernnewenglandbirdfanciers.webs.com/
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Northern New England Bird Fanciers Association      http://northernnewenglandbirdfanciers.webs.com/
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post #4 of 18

Around here we feed johnson grass hay a lot to horses and cattle. Never had any problem.

On the dry years johnson grass seems to come out a lot in the hay fields on the second cutting. It's pretty fair hay if you cut it before the stems get to big.

And like i said we've never had any problem with feeding it to horses ,cattle ,or the goats. I think you'll be fine with feeding it

Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
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Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
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post #5 of 18

Its not worth the chance to us.  I never feed it.  We feed Coastal and Perennial Peanut. ( more pricey) but its not going to kill your livestock.

post #6 of 18

The johnson grass hay will not kill your livestock either!

Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
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Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
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post #7 of 18

My understanding is that you're more likely to have a problem with standing, growing johnson grass than with the hay from it; but even with the hay there is a chance of problems, depending on how it was growing when it was cut and baled. Usually it is ok but not *always*.

Can you buy some other hay and cut the johnson grass stuff with it, 50/50 or whatever is practical? That would give you further insurance.

Good luck,

Pat

post #8 of 18

Just Google Johnson grass and Livestock poison.  There is PLENTY of reading material to back up that it can and will posion livestock.  IT IS possible to manage it but at a high risk.  I would stay away from it.

post #9 of 18

were talking about the hay , not the green grass. Like any other grass it does have to be cut and baled right to be safe. You cant feed any type of grass safely if its baled to green or wet and has mold in it.

I'm just saying in this part of the country theres a lot of it in the dry summers we've been having.   It's in just about every hay field you see.  On dairy farms and beef cattle farms.

We've never had any problem with feeding it. But to each his own.

Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
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Pheasants: Reeves, Elliots, Red Golden, Yellow Golden. Lady Amhearst, Ringneck, Dark Throat, Silvers,Swinhoe, Quail: Gamble, California Valley,Button, Blue Scale,Bobwhite , Tn Reds and Mexican Speckled,  Ringneck Doves  Peafowl: India Blue, Pied, White,  White Call Ducks, Mandrin Ducks, Gunieas.  Racking Horses ,Cattle and Boer goats
Reply
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank to everyone for your replies!  We bought the hay from a reputable operation and I have a hard time thinking they sell that much hay in bulk if it would end up killing a lot of animals.  It still makes me very nervous, and I'll try not to do it again - but with the drought - the coastal bales are very scarce.  Thanks again!

3 buff orps, 3 light brahmas, 2 silkies, 2 EEs, 1 blue salmon faverolle, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 Dexter cattle, 1 momma donkey and her baby
Reply
3 buff orps, 3 light brahmas, 2 silkies, 2 EEs, 1 blue salmon faverolle, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 Dexter cattle, 1 momma donkey and her baby
Reply
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