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Timothy and Alfalfa Hay Blog

    Timothy and Alfalfa Harvest Seasons Ending

    Posted on Oct 9, 2013

    The next few weeks will see the end to both Alfalfa and Timothy hay harvest seasons. Both crops were heavily affected by the numerous rain showers that fell over the course of the summer and early fall. Our staff will be working very hard to support our customers to the best of our abilities and we appreciate the strong teamwork of our business partners to provide the best results possible.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Timothy, Harvest Update

    Alfalfa Hay Fertilized with Selenium Beneficial for Calf Growth

    Posted on Sep 26, 2013

    Selenium-Fertilized Alfalfa Hay Improves Selenium Status and Growth of Beef Calves


    Cattle must consume diets that contain adequate amounts of selenium (Se), an essential micronutrient. Proper Selenium intake is required to prevent Se-responsive diseases. Unfortunately, many soils around the world are Se-deficient. Selenium concentrations in soils of the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Idaho, and Oregon) are generally deficient (see map on the U.S. Geological Survey website). Soil selenium content is affected by soil conditions, such as low pH and high concentrations of phosphorus and sulfur from fertilization. Selenium may also leach from the soil in areas of high rainfall or irrigation.

    Since soil is the major source of Selenium for plants, livestock that graze or are fed crops that are grown on Se-deficient soils eventually become Se-deficient themselves. Fortunately, selenium concentrations in crops can be increased by application of fertilizer that contains Se.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Quality of Forage

    Harvest Update - Alfalfa & Timothy

    Posted on Sep 5, 2013

    Once again, rain has challenged the harvest last week through much of the Western United States. The majority of areas where rain fell were hit more than once. Growers stopped harvesting or delayed the start to avoid the showers. The actual damage to hay varied widely depending on the area. As Oregon Alfalfa was between cuttings, the hay received little damage. Very few fields had just begun to cut their fields. Meanwhile, the Pacific Southwest sustained more damage across a wide area. During the long harvest season, Sudan and Alfalfa harvest is almost continual. 

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Timothy, Harvest Update

    Prebiotics and Probiotics Benefit Equine Gastrointestinal Health

    Posted on Aug 26, 2013

    Horse owners provide their horses all the right things – clean, fresh water, excellent quality forage like alfalfa or timothy hay, and supplements that provide balanced levels of vitamins and minerals. In spite of this exceptional care, sometimes their horses still don’t seem quite right and may actually be suffering from digestive problems. The equine digestive system is particularly sensitive and overall health is directly tied to a properly functioning gastrointestinal tract. Fortunately, many types of nutritional supplements that support digestive function are available to horse owners.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Race Horse Hay, Timothy, Horse Health, Horse Nutrition

    Wildlife Thrives in Alfalfa Fields

    Posted on Aug 13, 2013

    There’s no denying that agriculture changes the natural landscape and may affect wildlife habitat. However, some crops are actually beneficial to wildlife. Alfalfa is one of those crops that provide a favorable habitat for a wide variety of animal species, both above and below ground. In fact, many species prefer alfalfa over natural habitats because it provides nesting cover, harbors abundant insects, and is a nutritious feed source. Ten percent of the animals that utilize alfalfa use it for breeding and reproduction, 24% make use of the alfalfa canopy as cover, and 57% use it as a feed source. Wildlife may be frequent, moderate, or occasional users of the crop itself, the margins of the fields, or the plowed or seeded fields during harvest or stand cultivation, or irrigation. Some species use alfalfa only at specific times of field management, crop growth, or stage of wildlife.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Quality of Forage

    Alfalfa Essential in Soil Sustainability

    Posted on Jul 3, 2013

    Alfalfa Improves and Protects Valuable Soil

    The importance of alfalfa for hay production is well known. But, alfalfa also plays an essential role in soil sustainability. Not only does alfalfa help prevent soil erosion, but it also protects and improves the soil with its protective canopy, deep root system, and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

    Soil erosion is a major problem in agriculture. Valuable soil is permanently lost each year due to wind and water erosion, overgrazing, and poor agricultural practices. Many crops require cultivation one or more times during the growing season to remove weeds. Alfalfa is one of the few crops that requires little to no cultivation once it is established, and as a result, soil loss from wind and water erosion is dramatically reduced.

    As alfalfa grows, it quickly forms a dense canopy that covers the soil and protects it from wind and water erosion and reduces runoff. The dense canopy also suppresses the growth of weeds that are common in annual crops. Moreover, frequent cutting prevents weed seed production, which may reduce herbicide use in subsequent crops.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Quality of Forage

    Harvest Update - Timothy & Alfalfa

    Posted on Jun 11, 2013

    Washington growers have begun swathing 1st cutting Timothy. The Columbia Basin Timothy harvest is slightly ahead of that in the Kittitas Valley. The weather has been good thus far allowing growers to move swiftly through harvest activities. Most areas across both the basin and the valley will be cutting through the weekend. 

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Race Horse Hay, Timothy, Harvest Update

    Hay for Horses become Nutrients for Crops when Managed Responsibly

    Posted on Apr 26, 2013

    Management Tips for Horse Owners that Can Favorably Affect the Environment

    “Environmental stewardship is the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment.”(1) A more sustainable future hinges upon environmental stewardship. There are approximately 4 million horses in the United States (2). Everyone in the horse industry, from single-horse owners to commercial stable managers, face the same environmental challenges that other livestock owners must confront. Since pasture, paddock, and manure management practices directly affect soil and water quality, good environmental stewardship starts with the responsible planning and management of these resources.

    Let’s face it – manure happens! All of that nutritious alfalfa hay or timothy hay that you feed an average 1000-pound horse each year turns into about 8 tons of manure (3). A draft horse will produce twice that amount, while a pony will produce half. Manure, which includes urine, feces, and bedding, can be a valuable commodity if it is used properly. It contains nutrients that plants need to grow, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, over-application of manure to crops results in more nutrients than the plants need. In this case, the extra nutrients can seep into groundwater and contaminate wells or runoff in surface water and pollute streams, rivers, and lakes. In addition, manure may contain parasites or pathogens that may infect horses if they graze pastures where contaminated manure was spread.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Timothy, Horse Health, Horse Nutrition

    Horse Health - Alfalfa Hay quality important to Vitamin A absorption

    Posted on Apr 9, 2013

    Vitamin A and Equine Health

    Is your horse getting enough Vitamin A?  This vitamin is important in vision and in the maintenance of cells that line the reproductive, digestive, and respiratory tracts.  Vitamin A is also important in processes involved in bone remodeling in young, growing horses.  What’s more, Vitamin A is necessary for collagen synthesis and cross-linking, making it a vital component in the development of tendon and ligament strength.  In addition, retinoic acid, an active form of Vitamin A in the body, enhances growth hormone secretion when it interacts with thyroid hormone or glucocorticoids.  Growth hormone is thought to augment wound healing

    Vitamin A does not occur naturally in plant products.  Rather, it occurs as carotenes, which are precursors of Vitamin A that are abundant in nature.  There are more than 600 forms of carotene, but only a few can be converted into Vitamin A.  Most carotenes are converted into Vitamin A in the lining of the horse small intestine, and a smaller percentage is transformed in the liver or in fat tissue.  Beta-carotene (β-carotene) is the most biologically active carotenoid; however, horses are not as efficient in converting carotenes to Vitamin A as are some other animals.  Conversion rate is affected by a horse’s body stores of Vitamin A, level of intake, age, activity level, and air temperature.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Timothy, Horse Health, Horse Nutrition

    Alfalfa Hay Supports Healthy Hooves

    Posted on Apr 2, 2013

    No hoof – no horse

    No hoof – no horse is a commonly heard adage for a good reason because a horse’s usability is severely limited when hoof health is poor.   Equine hoof health is directly linked to a horse’s nutritional status. Suboptimal energy intake during periods of malnourishment not only affects all bodily functions, but it also influences normal hoof development. While hoof growth may continue at a normal rate during unfavorable nutritional conditions, hoof quality is severely reduced. Therefore, a balanced diet containing high-quality forage, such as alfalfa or timothy hay, or pasture, and concentrates when necessary, must be fed to provide energy and other nutrients that are required to support a horse’s health and well-being, as well as hoof growth and integrity.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Hay for Horses, Race Horse Hay, Horse Health, Horse Nutrition