High-quality hay is integral to ensuring horses and other livestock receive the nutrients they need to mature and thrive. Perhaps there’s no better way to make sure your livestock is properly nourished than to produce your own hay. This was the aim of retail businesswoman, author and publisher Martha Stewart.
Martha is an avid animal lover and the proud owner of two Friesian horses, both of which have been featured on the cover of Bedford & Canaan Magazine. She also owns several donkeys and one Fell pony. So, when she expressed her desire to partner with a family-owned business that could provide expert guidance and recommend premium custom hay production seed blends for the horses and donkeys at her Cantitoe Corners farm in Bedford, New York, Hancock Seed was happy to accommodate.
Creating Custom Blends According to Martha’s Needs
A devoted rider, Martha cares fervently for her horses. As such, improving her horse pastures, increasing hay yield, and streamlining the overall management of her farm fields were top priorities of hers. In order to help Martha achieve these goals, select members of the Hancock Seed team had the honor of visiting her Bedford, NY farm to provide expert recommendations on soil management and determine the perfect custom seed mix for her needs, which included:
Our Tried-and-True Horse Pasture Mix
Before we began, we recommended Martha’s team to take soil samples of each field or paddock and send them to the closest certified lab for us to review. During our visit to Martha’s farm, our experts took time to analyze her hay yields, which she wished to improve upon in terms of both quality and quantity. As a solution, we provided her with 750 lbs. of our Horse Pasture Grass Cool Climate seed mixture, which contains Timothy, Hancock’s Orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and clovers.
Along with this, we also made very specific fertilizer recommendations, which are incredibly important to remain on schedule with to achieve optimal results. We also enlisted the help of our dedicated team of seed experts to curate specific custom blends for her other pastures.
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Blends Ideal for Spoiling Chickens & Attracting Wildlife
As previously mentioned, Martha has a special place in her heart for animals and loves to spoil all on her property, including her flock of fowl. That’s why there was little hesitation on our end to recommend our Happy Hen Forage Mix. This blend can be planted easily and is great for chickens to forage on, as it is rich in xanthophylls and omega 3. We also provided Martha with our Turkey Food Plot Seed Mix for the wild gobblers on her farm. Designed for season-long feeding, this seed mixture offers a perfect blend of millets, sorghum, buckwheat, and chufa.
Flower Seed Mixes for Decorative Landscaping & Resistance to Deer Browsing
Martha’s affinity for activities inside the home, such as cooking, can easily be matched by her outdoor interests, like gardening and flowers. So, we were certain she would appreciate our Northeast Nirvana Wildflower Seed Mix. This mixture contains a gorgeous balance of annual and perennial species, providing a decorative colorful display to the landscaping throughout the year. While Martha does adore all animals, having a flowerbed taken over by deer is something no gardener would be thrilled about! As a result, we also provided her with our Deer Resistant Wildflower Seed Mix which is a blend of annual and perennial garden flowers and wildflowers known for their resistance to deer browsing.
In 2021, Martha’s farm yielded a total of 900 bales, more than 200 of which were too wet for the horses to forage on. After seeding the custom Hancock blends we recommended and supplied, Martha’s team was beyond happy to report yielding 1150 bales in 2022 on the first cut alone. By following our expert fertilization guidance, she should at minimum get two to three cuttings per year! This is a testament that utilizing proper varieties, seed mixtures and fertilizing with expert guidance can bear exceptional results.
Hancock Seed: The Hay Experts
All in all, our visit to Martha Stewart’s farm was filled with thought-provoking conversations and we were happy to have left a positive impact on her team by imparting some expert advice. We are honored that she chose Hancock Seed to assist her in establishing the best perennial forages for her horses, providing the perfect seed varieties for protein-rich hay, and supplying custom food plot mixes for her chickens and wildlife to forage on.
Martha and the Hancocks are kindred spirits, as we both have a deep passion for the land and animals around us, and we can’t wait to continue helping her care for her farm and animals for years to come!