Dandelion in grass---good for what?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DixyDoodle, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    I have about 25 acres that is used strictly for grazing by my horses. I keep getting people say that I should harvest the grass for hay for winter.....however, it has a good bit of dandelion in it. I was always under the belief that dandelion is not good for horse hay.

    So what IS it good for? I was told that it is suitable for cattle, and actually some cattlemen prefer it becuase (as I was told, don't know this myself) that is helps in milk production? Someone else said, it makes good sileage. What is that? Just aged chopped hay or what? LOL Sorry, I really don't know what that is!

    IF I could get someone to harvest it, since I don't have the equipment myself......is it worth it? Would it be cut into bales or loose? What would one expect to pay for someone to come and cut it----could I cut a deal with a farmer? As in, he cuts it and keeps it, but I get horse hay or something else in trade? Not sure what (if anything) this grass would be worth.

    I would like to see this grass cut either way, just because it is getting pretty hairy and I don't want the weeds to take over. Surely some of it must be worth something to someone? Or am I better off to maybe just lease the property out fully and let them pay me to cultivate the fields? I can make one of the fields smaller for my horses and lease out the rest.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    DD
     
  2. rain4me

    rain4me it's all good

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    Horses are hebivores, and 'weeds' such as dandelion, plantain, etc are part of their natural diet. Very high in beneficial and required minerals. What difference it makes for the dandy to be dried as hay, I don't know. But the dried plant is made into herbal remedies for horses. Were it my pasture, I'd have it baled up.

    We used to have our pasture cut by the hay farmer down the road. He'd cut, bale and load it for half the hay. Worked great for us. If you just want to refresh the grass, you can shred it and let it compost in the pasture. The grass comes back beautifully that way. Interrupting the life cycle of the 'weeds' by regular mowing will greatly reduce/eliminate them. This is my experience, anyway.

    Leasing it out is a good option as long as you have control over what they spray, etc.

    By the way, dandelion is a wonderful herb for people! Lovely as a salad bitter, or the leaves as a cooked green. Dandelion flower wine is very good, too. The whole herb (root to flowering tops) can be tinctured or dried to use as a tea; it's a wonderful liver and kidney tonic. As a diuretic, the leaves are as effective as prescription drugs....being full of minerals, particularly potassium, they're even better: they don't rob the body of vital minerals like the pharma diurectics do.

    I'd count myself lucky to have a good bit of it growing in my pasture. I order live plants shipped to me from a NW pasture to make my own medicincal tonics with!
     

  3. stumpyacres

    stumpyacres Well-Known Member

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  4. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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  5. sssarawolf

    sssarawolf Well-Known Member

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    Hprses should eat I know people do for the Vit C and etc, young tender leaves, my folks would boil the leaves to take out any bitterness
     
  6. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    you should try and get it before the horses. Makes good greens, the flower heads will make a wine that drinks like soda pop and sets you gently on your behind. And the next morning you wake up under a tree full of ticks. DAMHIKT :). the roots make some kind of medicine or something. I prefer the flowers :)
     
  7. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    Dandelion for humans (I know nothing about horses):

    Culinary Uses: Leaves are used as a vegetable or raw in salads. Flowers used to make wine, buds are pickled, or boiled and served with butter, or battered and fried. Roots are peeled, boiled and sauteed as a vegetable, or roasted and ground as a coffee substitute.

    Medicinal Uses: Has an astonishing range of health benefits, as well as being highly nutritious. Leaves are a powerful diuretic and are also used for the treatment of acne and eczema. They are an excellent detoxifier and a tonic for the liver, gallbladder and kidneys. They treat urinary infections, prostate enlargement, rheumatism, gout, diabetes. Good for food allergy sufferers. White sap treats warts, corns. Root reduces blood pressure and inflammation and is a liver stimulant. Frequently used in the treatment of diabetes, water retention, poor digestion and liver problems, including hepatitis.

    Warning: May cause bed wetting in children from excessive handling. Use with caution, and under medicinal supervision, if suffering from gallstones, stomach ulcer or gastritis. The miky latex in the stem and leaves of fresh dandelion may cause an allergic rash in some individuals.
     
  8. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    The roots can be roasted in the oven till dark and dry and be ground in a coffee mill, makes great coffee substitute much like chickory but with a stronger 'coffee' flavor.
     
  9. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    have not tried it myself, but the stems are good for diabetics, eat seven every day while in season. they are nice and crunchy, sweet like with an aftertaste of bitter.

    Culpeper, are we digressing? she wants it for her horse....?
    flowers make an excellent syrup,like honey, (except the flowers here were so little, you got more green than yellow, that is not good in the syrup). Dandelion root tea for stomach problems.
    We considered dandelion leaves the greatest for rabbit feed.
    Dandelion salad is my husbands all time favorite.
     
  10. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    LOL :D Yes, I have relatives that used to make dandelion wine.

    But yeah, Tabitha, I was more wondering what to do with it should I cut it as forage, and what can actually eat it?

    Is everyone saying that dandilion in hay is ok for horses? I'm still not sure, but that would be awesome if it is! No more searching for hay, just for a farmer that wants to trade!

    DD
     
  11. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

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    i cut and bale my hay after the dandelions got to seed...it makes great feed for both horses and cows...mink
     
  12. rain4me

    rain4me it's all good

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    Yes, DixyDoodle, that's exactly what I would do....cut and bale.
     
  13. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been posting my dandelion ways on the tightwad tips thread on countryside families. When I weed, I pull the tender (non flowering) dandelions and use for salads. Others, I parboil, drain and freeze to use in casseroles, soups and stews. Yes I believe they have the highest concentration of vitamin C of any green. I like them best in wilted salad.
    I've not noticed our cows picking around them.
     
  14. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    It's much healthier for any animal to have some variety in it's diet. So herbivores should have some herbs, instead of just straight grass or alfalfa. And dandelions are a good one. I have goats, not horses, but if I was planting a pasture I would add dandelion seed to the mix, as well as a number of other herbaceous plants (it's called an herbal lea, if you want to do some research).

    Kathleen
     
  15. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The grass is what you could have a problem with moreso than the dandalions. After grass has gone to seed, livestock won't eat it unless they are starved into it. Some areas of Ontario grow Timothy (tall hay grass) and red clover for hay. The red clover dies out after a few years and whats left is mostly timothy. Timothy makes excelent horse hay.
    The number one problem you have is finding a farmer willing to bale your hay. It could take three or more acres of hay to feed one horse through the winter. The farmer will want at least half the bales, so you would need several acres to get the bales you will need.
     
  16. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Ha, no problem there. :D I have at least 25 acres of pasture here just waiting for someone to cut it.

    One more question though: is it a problem if you want to harvest the field and the horses have been grazing on it? I would like to shorten up one field so that it is strictly for the horses, they have way too much room to move and they certainly cannot eat all that grass. Is it ok to harvest where there has been fresher manure in the ground? Not sure if farmers might have an issue with that, since they might be concerned with contamination?

    Also, approximately how many square bales might one get per acre?

    DD