Making Quality Hay

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Buying Horse Hay
Key issues for Horse Owners
Nutritional Requirements
of Horses

Pseudo-Ruminants
– ineffective ruminants: high quality needed
– fiber required:
» daily forage intake should >1% bw
» Prefer 1/2 of daily intake to be forages

Multiple Requirements
– Production: Reproduction, Growth, Work
– Maintenance: infrequently exercised,
mature horse
Forage Requirements of
Horse Owners

Nutrition
– High Quality needed
– Reduce feed costs
– Control of Toxic plants

Exercise
– Daily requirements
– Soil compaction

Aesthetics
Forage Quality
Digestibility is a function of maturity
 Crude protein is a function of maturity
and soil nitrogen.

Nitrogen rate effect on
digestibility and crude protein
Crude Digestible
Nitrogen Protein
Dry
Rate
Level
Matter
Lb/ac
%
%
25
6.7
53.8
100
7.6
54.8
200
10.6
53.4
300
10.8
55.1
Maturity effects on Digestibility
and Crude protein.
Dry
Harvest Nitrogen
Crude Matter
Interval Rate
Yield Protein Dig.
Weeks lbs/ac
tons/ac %
%
1
300
5.27 19.2
59.8
600
4.97 22.2
61.6
2
300
5.60 16.8
59.5
600
6.70 20.2
61.7
4
300
6.39 14.9
58.6
600
7.32 17.2
59.2
8
300
6.47 11.1
52.0
600
10.48 11.7
52.3
22.2
Forage Selection

Cool Season
– Annuals
» Ryegrass
» Small grains
» Clovers
– Perennials:
» Tall Fescue: toxin
» others

Warm Season
– Annuals
» Crabgrass: loams
» Millets: Sand
– Perennials:
» Switch Grass, Indian
Grass, Side Oats
Gamma, Big and
Little Bluestem
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage

Sensitive horses
– Laminitis (founder)
– Equine metabolic syndrome
– Equine Cushing’s syndrome
– Polysaccharide storage myopathy
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage
Cushing Disease and pasture laminitis
 Cause: Unable to take up sugar in the
form of glucose due to diminished
response to insulin (insulin resistance)

– Obese or fat horses over 15 years of age
– Common in ponies
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage
Polysaccharide storage myopathy
 Cause:Increased sensitivity to insulin and
increased glucose uptake in muscles

– Found more often in heavy muscled horses
and ponies
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage

Cool Season Grass Ratings
– Orchardgrass, meadow fescue, tall fescue all
high in sugar
– Timothy and crested wheat grass are
medium in sugar
– Warm Season Annuals are medium in sugar
content
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage

Test forage for Sugar if horses are
sensitive
– 10% of less considered safe
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage

Producers can Take Some Action
– Soak hay 60 minutes in cold water followed
by 30 minutes in hot water
– Removes 30% of the sugar content
Sugar Problems With Hay and
Forage

Grazing Control Options for Producers
– Sugar highest at vegetative state and periods
of cool nights and warm sunny days, or after
a hard freeze and during periods of drought
– Usually found in top 2” of plant so grazing
susceptible horses last is recommended
Warm Season Perennial Grasses
adapted to Central Sands
Rye Grass: most popular
 Switch Grass: gaining popularity
 Sudan Grass: Can be toxic and avoided
 Big and Little Bluestem: Late Summer
 Indian Grass-Side Oats GammaGamma Grass-Some interest

Weed Control
Limited Herbicides
 Multiple options
 Integrated Management

– Multiple uses
– Multiple methods
Why Control Weeds
Economics: forage quality and quantity
 Animal Health: toxic

– Hoary Alyssum
– Tall fescue

Spouse Nagging: better listen
Weed Control Methods
Herbicides
 Defoliation

– Mowing
– Grazing

Good Management
– Fertility
– Carbohydrate Management
– Shading
Basic Principles of Chemical
Weed Control
Know your weeds
 Choose the right herbicide
 Calibrate your sprayer
 Spray at the proper time

Know Your Weeds
300 different species in Wisconsin
Pastures and Fields
Only a Handful
Economically Significant
Yellow Foxtail
Milkweed
 Pigweed
Ragweed
Thistles
 Spotted Knap Weed
 Horsenettle
Grassburs
 Buffalo Burs and Sand Burs
 Hoary Alyssum
Crabgrass

Life Cycle
Annual: Seed germinates, plant grows,
flowers and seeds out in one growing
season (crabgrass)
 Biennial: Seed germinates, plant grows,
then reproduces in following year
(onion)
 Perennial: Seed germinates, and plant
lives and reproduces for several years
(bermudagrass)

Basic Principle
Starve the weed, feed the crop
 Spray annual weeds when they are
young and actively growing
 Spray perennial weeds when they are at
full leaf or fruit set

Labeled Herbicides
2,4-D: annual broadleaf
 Banvel: Weedmaster
 Picloram: Grazon P+D
 Sulfanyl Urea: Ally, Amber

– specific weed tolerance and susceptibility
Roundup: new uses
 Zorial: only labeled pre-emerge

Summary


Weed management
Weed Identification
Integrated
management
5
4
3
2
1
0
1
3
5
7
9
11
10
12
Growth Rate

6
0
2
4
6
Month
8
Lieberg’s Law of Limits
Soil Fertility

Chemical
–
–
–
–
–
–
Soil pH
Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium
Secondary
Micronutrients

Physical
–
–
–
–
–
–
Texture
Structure
Infiltration rate
Utility
Aesthetics
Crop selectivity
Nutrient removed (lbs./ac) by
grazing and hay production.
Grazing
(500 lbs of
Nutrient
horse/acre)
Nitrogen
18
Phosphorus
9
Potassium
1
Hay
(6 tons of
hay/acre)
300
60
240
Fertility Management

Potassium: Tricky
– Grazing: limited
– Hay: depletion
– First indication: Winter kill
– Late application may be more important
– examine roots in late summer
– fertilize for Ryegrass Requirements
Fertility Management

Soil pH:
– limits nutrient availability
– Cool season more intolerant
– Ryegrass/small grains: pH>5.8
– Clover
» pH<7: crimson, arrowleaf, subterranean,
lespedeza
» pH>7:alfalfa, berseem, sweetclover, vetch,
medics (?)
Fertility Management

Secondary: Ca, Mg, S.
– Ca, Mg: adjust with lime
– Sulfur becoming more important

Micronutrients: Zn, Cu, others
– pH regulates
» pH<5.5: Zn, Cu, others
» pH>7.5: Fe, others
– manure: build up of Cu
Summary

6
Maximum response
5
4
– Nitrogen
– Potassium
3
2
1
0


Forage requirement
Nutrient use
Crop Compatibility
– Manage for cool
season
1
3
5
7
9
11
10
12
Growth Rate

0
2
4
6
Month
8
Quality Hay Characteristics
High digestibility
 High nutrient content
 High palatability
 Easily consumed
 Free of toxic materials
 Easily handled

Factors in Purchasing Hay

Chemical Analysis
– Protein
– Digestibility
– other nutrients
Physical Factors
 Anti-quality Factors:

– toxins: fescue, sorghum, kleingrass
– dust, etc.
Physical Factors Affecting
Quality Hay
Stage of Maturity: younger is better
 Foreign Material:

– Dust, mold, etc.
– Metal, Toxic weeds
– Insects (blister beetles)
Texture: softer is better
 Leafiness: more leaf, more digestible
 Color: buyer factor

How Much Hay Will Your
Horse Eat Per Year

Horse Weight x 2.2% of Body Weight (1100x 2.2=25 lbs)

Number of days feed hay: 180 x 25=4,500 lbs
– Small Square Bales(40 lbs) per year
» 4,500 divided by 40 lbs = 113 bales
– Round bales or Big Squares per year at 800lbs
» 4,500 divided by 800=6 large bales per year
How Much Will Your Hay Cost
Small Squares
Price Per Bale
Price Per Ton
$3.50
$175
$117
$88
$3.00
$150
$100
$75
$2.50
$125
$83
$63
$2.00
$100
$67
$50
$1.50
$75
$50
$38
40 lbs
60 lbs
Bale Weight, lbs
80 lbs
How Much Will Your Hay Cost
Big Bales(Round or Square)
Price Per Bale
Price Per Ton
$55
$183
$138
$110
$45
$150
$113
$90
$35
$117
$88
$70
$25
$84
$63
$50
$15
$50
$38
$30
600 lbs
800 lbs
Bale Weight, lbs
1000 lbs
CONSUMPTION
REQUIREMENTS
% BODY WEIGHT CONSUMPTION
Forage
Mature Horse
Maintenance
Young Horses
Nursing foal, 3 months
Concentrate
Total
1.5-2.0
0-0.5
1.5-2.0
0
1.0-2.0
2.5-3.5
Weaning foal, 6 months
0.5-1.0
1.5-3.0
2.0-3.5
Yearling foal, 12 months
1.0-1.5
1.0-2.0
2.0-3.0
Long Yearling, 18 months 1.0-1.5
1.0-1.5
2.0-2.5
Two Year old, 24 months
1.0-1.5
2.0-2.5
1.0-1.5
Horse Requirements

Nutrient Research Council Sets Standards
 Horse Status Digestible Energy Crude Protein
Maintenance
16.4 mcal
1.44 lbs
Working Light
20.5 mcal
Working Intense 32.8 mcal
Mare Lactating 28.3 mcal
1.8 lbs
2.9 lbs
3.1 lbs
2 year old in
training
2.5 lbs
26.3 mcal
Class
Digestible Crude
Energy
Protein
Mcal
lbs
Calciu
m in
grams
Phosphorus in
grams
Maintenance,mature
16.4
1.44
20
14
Weanlings 4-5 months
14.4
1.59
34
19
Weanlings 6-11
months
Yearling 12-17
months
Yearling 18-24
months
Two Year old-resting
15.0
1.65
29
16
18.9
1.87
29
16
19.8
1.97
27
15
18.6
1.76
24
13
Two Year old-Training
26.3
2.46
34
19
35
2.89
40
29
Intense working
Hay-Alfalfa vs Grass
 Is
There a Difference In Grass
Vs Legumes??
 Should I feed Grain???
 Is Hay Enough????
COMMON FEEDSTUFF
% DM
Mcal/#
% Protein
Alfalfa
90
.94
18
Brome
89
.80
11
Orchard
88
.85
11
Straw
91
.70
4
Oats
89
1.3
12
Corn
88
1.5
9
Balancing a Ration
worksheet meeting
requirements
Needs:
MC
Protein
Working Horse
28
2.8
Brome Hay
(feed 15 lbs)
lbs
.80
12 Mc
.11
1.2
NEEDED
16 Mc
1.6
Grain Mix(50% corn x 50% Oat)
Needs
16Mc
1.6
lbs
Ration
10.5%
Amount=
1.4/lb
16/1.4=11.4 lbs
11.4x10.5=1.2
Balancing
.4
0
Need .4 lbs protein
Source 1 lb of Soybean meal
Short
Balancing a Ration
worksheet meeting requirements
Needs:
MC
Protein
Maintenance
Alfalfa/Brome Hay
(feed 20 lbs)
NEEDED
16.4
.87
17.4c
16 Mc
1.6
.145
2.9 lbs
1.6 lbs
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