Subscriber Content Preview
By Horse Journal Editor
Timothy is an excellent hay choice for horses, but you may have noticed increasing amounts of brown, curled leaf. Timothy producers, especially in the Mid-Atlantic region, are having problems with mite infestation. Yield may be reduced from 30% to 70% (driving hay prices up), and hay with this infestation is of poorer nutritional quality. The mite and/or its droppings may also be potential respiratory allergen.
The culprit is the cereal rust mite, Abacarus hysterix. It originated in Europe and has been in this country for 50 years. However, for unclear reasons, this mite has been causing much greater damage in the past few years. One theory is it might have mutated to a form that is particularly suited for timothy. The mite is tiny, less than 1 mm long, and hides in the leaf vein grooves. It can be seen with a 20X magnifying lens....