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Credits

The majority of the history of Anderson Hay that appears on the Race Horse and Timothy Hay Blog was written by Robert R. Morris, as published in Celebrating Fifty Years of Pioneering Dependable Opportunities for Agriculture Worldwide.

Contact Anderson Hay & Grain

For information on ordering Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay or Straw Products, please contact us today.

Timothy and Alfalfa Hay Blog

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Harvest Season for Alfalfa Hay

  
  
  
Alfalfa hay, Anderson Hay

The Washington state alfalfa hay harvest has begun in the Southern Columbia Basin. Some growers go an early start on harvest this year. They were able to put up some nice quality hay. Unfortunately, rain fell after hay was cut and damaged about 70% of the early harvest.  Cooler, wet weather  delayed further harvesting as growers waited for the drier weather to arrive.  Many growers were able to continue harvesting this week.

Prevent Grass Tetany in Cattle During Spring Turnout

  
  
  
Cow in pastureDuring the spring when the temperature is warming and moisture is not a limiting factor, cool-season grasses grow rapidly and nutrients in the grass are diluted because the moisture content is high.  In a previous blog we discussed the potential problems that a horse may experience if he were turned out on lush grass after having been fed a hay-based diet.  Cattle may also be affected by similar metabolic disorders such as grass tetany (also known as grass staggers) after being turned out to graze spring pastures. 

Grass tetany is a metabolic disorder seen in cattle that have not consumed enough magnesium and most commonly occurs in cattle that have been turned out on spring pasture after consuming hay all winter.  Magnesium is an important component of enzymes that are used for cellular maintenance and growth, including DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis (1) and it also plays an important role in nerve transmission in skeletal muscle.  Interestingly, unlike other essential minerals, there is no internal control mechanism to regulate magnesium levels (1).  Excess magnesium is excreted by the kidneys in the urine, but magnesium is not stored in the kidneys.  Therefore, when output, especially during lactation, exceeds input, cattle may develop hypomagnesemia or magnesium deficiency.

Alfalfa Provides Needed Fiber in Gestating Sow Diets

  
  
  
Alfalfa Hay Field

Can alfalfa hay be fed to pigs?  Yes, however the amount that can be included in the diet depends on the nutritional quality of the alfalfa hay as well as the age and physiological status of the pigs.  Unlike ruminant animals (cattle, sheep, and goats) that have four-chambered stomachs which are efficient fermentation vats, pigs are monogastric animals that have simple, one-chambered stomachs that do not efficiently digest diets that contain high percentages of roughage or fiber.  In order to meet dietary energy requirements, pigs are generally fed diets that contain mostly cereal grains such as corn, barley or wheat.  While high-quality alfalfa hay is a good protein source, the low digestible energy content of alfalfa hay compared to cereal grains limits its use in many swine diets.  In addition, alfalfa hay contains several anti-nutritional factors, such as saponins and tannins that reduce the growth rate of young pigs.  Therefore, feeding alfalfa hay to weaned and growing pigs is generally not recommended.

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Anderson Hay Featured in Department of Commerce Videos

  
  
  
Anderson Hay Export Hay Port of Seattle

Anderson Hay & Grain Co., Inc. is honored to be a part of a new video series developed by the Washington State Department of Commerce. As the leading exporter of hay and straw products, Anderson Hay was asked to be featured in ‘Export Washington’. This series of short videos was created by Commerce to highlight Washington State companies who are stimulating the local economy by exporting local products. Commerce hopes to raise awareness about the many benefits associated with foreign exports.

Move from feeding your horse hay to grazing pasture safely

  
  
  
Horse grazing pastureRecent warm days along with abundant rainfall have 
caused pasture grasses in the Pacific Northwest to explode into a lush green carpet.  During the long, cold, and dreary winter, horse owners look forward to spring.  Since most horse owners remove their horses from pasture during the winter to protect their pasture from damage – spring equals turnout! But, beware – danger may be lurking out in that emerald expanse.

The horse’s digestive system does not acclimate easily to sudden dietary changes. Abrupt turnout on lush pasture is almost certain to result in problems.  Pasture grasses accumulate high levels of sugars during times of rapid growth.  While simple sugars such as glucose and fructose are rapidly digested in the horse’s small intestine, fructan, a complex sugar, passes undigested to the large intestine where it is fermented into lactic acid by microbes.  If a large amount of fructan-containing grass is consumed in a short period of time, a concentrated burst of lactic acid is released after microbial fermentation and cecal pH drops precipitously, which can lead to colic or laminitis. 

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