Tifton 85 is a Great Grass Hay Alternative

Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price

Tifton Hay is part of the Bermuda grass family, along with other common grasses hays. It has many advantages over Alicia hay and Coastal hay. I’ll try to explain the benefits of feeding Tifton Hays.

Tifton-85 was initially developed for cattle feeding programs. It became very popular among horsemen after researchers discovered all its great qualities. It is a perennial forage, which originated in Africa and was brought to the Southern states for hay or pasture. Tifton is a cross between an African tall grass that is highly digestible and a Bermuda grass that is resistant to Armyworms from South Africa. This cross produces a thicker blade, a larger stem, and a highly-palatable grass hay. It is high in crude protein and digestibility, making it the best Bermuda grass for grazing and hay.

Tifton 85 is a great hay variety when managed properly. It can be cut at 3 1/2 weeks intervals and produces hay comparable to alfalfa. Tifton 85 has a digestibility of over 65%, and a protein level that can easily surpass 17%. Tifton 85 is a great choice if you’re looking for high-quality hay products that are both protein and digestible.

Tifton 85

Crops were started using sprigs and not seeds. The runners and rhizomes are used to establish the grass. Although this hay produces less rhizomes per acre than traditional coastal, the quality of the rhizomes is much higher. Tifton 85 can produce up to two-thirds of the forage produced by coastal when grown as a hay crop. Tifton 85 has a higher digestibility and higher fiber content than Coastal. Tifton 85 is also one of the lowest-starch and highest sugar content hays. Horses can reap the many benefits of Tifton 85.

Horses use sugar and starch in an unhealthy way. Excretion of any sugar that is not used is done to the hoof. This can lead to horses becoming overweight, laminitic, or even foundered. Tifton can be beneficial for any horse. Due to the low sugar content, many vets recommend that horses with founder problems such as weight loss, laminitis, or founder problems eat only Tifton. Tifton can also be a great hay for HYPP horses as it is one of the few hays that many HYPP horses like to eat. My experience has shown me that an overweight horse can lose weight even on Tifton free choice. Also, my HYPP gelding experiences fewer episodes with Tifton than Coastal hay. Tifton also has a wider leaf and stem structure which I believe reduces the likelihood of impaction. Tifton has never caused an impaction in any horses of mine that I was a part of.

This hay is simply amazing. Tifton 85 hay was the best hay I had ever hauled. It’s worth a shot if you don’t have the Tifton hay and are willing to try it. It can take horses some time to get used to it. It’s similar to Splenda versus real sugar. You just need to get used to it. It is a favorite once they get used to it. In the past, I’ve put out a roll each of Tifton and coastal at the same time. The Tifton was gone long before the coastal. Thank you for reading and vote!

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!