IH Seeds Equine mix “Equi1st” is a blend of grasses carefully selected for their suitability for horses, providing healthier, quality grass pasture and hay.
Horses are not physiologically designed to cope with high levels of sugars and proteins as provided by more traditional mixes. An ideal horse pasture should be relatively low in sugars and starch, moderate in protein but still highly palatable. Irwin Hunter & Co’s Equi1st mix is a balanced combination of species that includes Prairie grass, Serradella, Tall Fescue, Rhodes grasses and Cocksfoot. Equi1st has been specifically designed to benefit your horses, improve your soils and is tolerant of animal traffic and grazing.
Equi1st Specialty Equine Mix
Recommended soil pH: 5.0
Recommended rainfall: 400mm +
Recommended sowing rate: 25 – 35 kgs/ha
* Sow when soil temperatures are 16°C + and rising.
* Please note that products may vary depending on product availability.
Prairie grass or Pasture Brome grass (Bromus sp.) is a grass that is tolerant to drier conditions due to deep root system. Its sugar and starch concentrations average around 10 to 15% in comparison to ryegrass at 30%+ and is highly palatable to the horse. Protein levels, as high as 12% are achieved at certain stages of its growth. This species of prairie/brome grass is specifically bred as a pasture grass and has no adverse effects on livestock, including horses.
Serradella is a winter dominant, deep rooted annual legume which grows mainly during the Autumn, Winter, and Spring months. Being a legume, it has good levels of protein, consistently low in sugars and starch, highly palatable to the horse, and provides nitrogen fixation to improve the soil quality.
Tall Fescue is another common horse pasture with reasonable (around 15%) sugar and starch levels, highly palatable for horses and provides an excellent swarth of feed when required. Growing reasonably well in drier conditions, its deep root system does give it some resistance to the dry. Its main growing period is late spring/early summer.
Finecut Rhodes Grass
Finecut Rhodes grass is very resilient to drought and heavy traffic. Rhodes does most of its growing during later Spring/Summer before drying off. Rhodes grass retains very low concentrations of sugars in the leaves at most stages of growth. Coupled with good palatability and very low concentrations of oxalates, this makes Rhodes the ideal horse safe pasture species.
Cocksfoot is a perennial tufted grass that is best grazed before flowering, and no lower than 5cm to allow for regrowth. Cocksfoot is hardy, drought resistant with deep roots. Endophyte free, tolerant to pest attack but can suffer from rust until established. Yarck Cocksfoot is a summer activity variety.
Callide Rhodes Grass
Callide Rhodes Grass being a tetraploid, Callide Rhodes grass is more palatable and tends to be preferentially grazed when sown with other sub-tropical grasses. Callide Rhodes grass has a high number of growing points with a more prostate growth habit than more recent releases and is coarser in the leaf and stem. It is also summer active where soil moisture is available.
Lucerne provides a beneficial perennial legume component to this mix. Lucerne is a very nutritious feed and source of fibre. It contains about 18% high-quality protein which provides good levels of all the essential amino acids for horses, including lysine, which can be low in many feeds, including grains. It is high in digestible fibre, including pectin, which provides sustained energy (it is converted to glucose, glycogen, and fat in horses’ livers) and is very good for digestive health because it promotes beneficial gut microflora. Lucerne is readily available, very palatable, and highly digestible.
Before you sow
- Decide the best paddock / location to plant.
- Get a soil test so you know what type of soil you have and what to correct if needed.
- Reduce competition – Ideally spray out any existing pasture / persistent weeds before planting. (Consult with a local Agronomist regarding Herbicide selection.)
- Prepare / cultivate an optimal seed bed and apply lime or gypsum if required.
- Order our IH Seeds Quality Assured Equi1st pasture mix with the Australian Seed Federation Code of Practice and member logo. IH Seeds is compliant and provides packaging and labelling with full details of species, % purity and germination.
- Order ahead and store in a cool dry place.
Optimal sowing time – Autumn / Early Spring
- Ensure you have adequate soil moisture with the possibility of follow up rain and your soil temperatures are above 16ºC as some species in this mix are tropical.
- Choose the right sowing method to ensure good seed to soil contact.
- Seeds should be planted as shallow as possible into a well-prepared seed bed. Care should be taken when planting into sandy soils as some seeding methods can form troughs and if wind-blown these troughs fill with sand and it can result in the seed planting depth being substantially more, therefore resulting in poor germination and establishment.
- Fertilise to encourage germination and establishment.
- If broadcasting the seed, to increase seed soil contact it is often beneficial to drag a light rubber tyre roller, or similar behind your seed drill.
(Not advised for wet soils that may crust)
- Depending upon the soil structure and extent of growth, it is best not to graze the paddock for 4 to 6 months after planting and up to 8 months on very sandy soils, to allow the root structure to establish a strong hold.
- Refrain from cutting for hay in the first year to encourage persistence.
- Introduce your horses to the lush green pasture gradually over several days. Manage your grazing and rotate or strip graze to give pasture time to recover, regrow and store energy in the roots before the next grazing. This helps to maximise continued productivity and persistence.
- Mow down unpalatable clumps not grazed by the horses to avoid persistence of one particular species since horses are preferential grazers.
- Have a fertilizer plan as paddocks grazed regularly need to also have regular fertilizer applications. Be aware of fertilizer history and check soil test results. Consult local agronomists for advice.