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Timothy and Alfalfa Hay Blog

    Forage Nutrition 101: Crude Protein

    Posted on May 11, 2021

    High-quality forages are essential for livestock, as premium products provide the optimal amounts of energy, protein, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients. Forage quality relies upon many factors, including:

    • Climate
    • Soil fertility
    • Harvesting technique

    Production of premium forages is extremely complex. One of the top and most widely recognized measures of forage quality is the amount of crude protein it contains. Crude protein has a large impact on animal digestive health and productivity. Read on for more information on crude protein, why it’s important and what percentages are ideal in different types of forages.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Horse Nutrition

    Forage Nutrition 101: Phosphorus

    Posted on May 26, 2016

    In the agriculture industry, the quality of forages is measured by the levels of energy, fiber, and other essential nutrients they provide. Growing environment, soil conditions, and harvesting technique all impact forage quality. The physical attributes of forages (smell, color, leafiness) are not as specific indicators of quality as chemical analysis.

    One factor to consider when looking at you forage options is the concentration of phosphorus (P) as different levels affect digestion and animal productivity.

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Timothy

    Forage Nutrition 101: Nitrates

    Posted on May 19, 2016

    Quality forages are vital to the livestock industry, as only the top quality options provide crude protein, acid detergen/neutral detergent fiber, minerals, and other nutrients essential to animal health. Forage quality depends on a variety of conditions, such as the harvesting process, soil, fertilization, maturity – factors that impact both the physical characteristics and chemical makeup of the final product. Premium forages aren’t developed overnight; they are the result of extensive expertise and years of experience.

    When assessing forage options, one measurement commonly used to measure quality is the percentage

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    Topics: Alfalfa Hay, Quality of Forage, Timothy, Horse Nutrition, Export Hay

    The North American Monsoon

    Posted on May 9, 2016

    Growers in the southwest United States have become accustomed to the monsoon season, but what exactly is it and what does it mean for forage

    What is monsoon season?

    The North American monsoon season is a large weather pattern similar to the monsoon season in Asia, although not as strong. It officially occurs from June 15 – September 30 with most storms occurring in July and August. This particular monsoon system effects northwest Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Utah and Colorado. It brings unpredictable weather patterns, strong winds, and precipitation. It is important to note

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    Topics: Quality of Forage, Weather

    2015 Western United States Hay Acreage Infographic

    Posted on Feb 4, 2016

    Accounting for about 20% of the national hay area harvested in the United States, the Western US has a climate suited perfectly for the growth of high-quality, nutritious forage. Every day, bales from these states feed animals across the country and around the world. Hay is shipped from ports along the West Coast, making its way to dairies, farms, race horses, and camels across the world.

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    Topics: Hay for Horses, Quality of Forage, Race Horse Hay, Export Hay

    Moving Horses from Hay to Fresh Forage Can Pose Some Risks

    Posted on May 7, 2014

    Is There Danger Lurking for Horses in Lush Spring Pastures?

    Did you know that those lush, early spring pastures can be dangerous for horses?  Over the years, grass breeders have developed cultivars, or types, that rapidly accumulate high levels of sugar, starch, and fructans (together referred to as nonstructural carbohydrates, or NSC). Grasses that have higher NSC are more drought resistant and have faster regrowth after grazing or harvesting. Furthermore, grasses that store more NSC have more calories, stimulate microbial fermentation, and improve nitrogen utilization in the rumens of cattle. Animals prefer forages with higher levels of NSC, which subsequently leads to greater intake and better performance by meat and milk producing animals. While cattle benefit from forages with high NSC, these types of grasses are not necessary good for horses.pastures can be dangerous for horses? Abrupt dietary changes, from hay to fresh forage 

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

    Steamed Hay for Horses

    Posted on Mar 21, 2014

    Does Steaming Make Hay Healthier and Safer for Horses?

    Soaking hay in water for 30 minutes or less is a good way to reduce airborne particles such as dust and mold, making it an effective management strategy for horses with respiratory problems. Soaking also reduces levels of nonstructural carbohydrates in hay, which is essential for horses with metabolic issues. However, soaking also leaches other essential nutrients from hay.

    Steaming hay before feeding is commonly practiced in Europe and is becoming more popular in the U.S. But, not much is known about the effects of steaming on the nutritional quality of forage and if it effectively reduces dust and mold in hay. Fortunately, a study to examine the effects of steaming on hay quality was recently conducted by a team of researchers based in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota.

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

    Timothy and Grass Hay Requirements of Small Animals

    Posted on Mar 7, 2014

    Nutritional Needs of Small Herbivores

    Guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits are small herbivores, or plant-eating animals, that are commonly kept as companion animals. They have been bred in captivity for years and their quiet natures, ease of handling, and relatively simple housing requirements make them ideal pets, especially for owners that do not have a lot of room for four-legged friends. Feeding these small mammals is an important part of their daily care and each species has specific nutritional needs.

    Clean water must be accessible to all species at all times. A sipper water bottle is the best method to provide water because it is less likely to be contaminated with bedding, food, feces, and urine. Animals that are unfamiliar with sipper water bottles may require some training to use them properly. Water bottles and bowls should be emptied and filled with fresh water daily to encourage water intake and to prevent overgrowth of bacteria.

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    Topics: Timothy Hay, Quality of Forage, Timothy

    Timothy Hay: What Cutting is Better for Horses?

    Posted on Feb 19, 2014

    Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. Many believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is inferior to the second cutting. While this may be true in some cases, this assumption is really erroneous if first-cutting hay is harvested from a weed-free field at an early stage of growth before the stem becomes larger and coarser.

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

    Composting for your Horse's Health

    Posted on Feb 13, 2014

    Key Factors for a Successful Compost Pile

    Composting horse manure is beneficial to your horse’s health. A properly managed compost pile will reach temperatures that are high enough to kill fly larvae, which reduces the fly population in the area, and also destroys weed seeds. The high temperature in the compost pile will also wipe out parasites and pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria that could cause diseases in horses.

    There are several things to consider in creating and managing a successful compost pile.

    Pile size. A compost pile that is about seven square feet at the base and at least three feet high will result in the best heating. Heat is generated when organic material decomposes. However, if the pile is too short, the heat will quickly dissipate and will not reach temperatures that are high enough to kill parasites, bacteria, viruses, and weed seeds.

    Airflow. It is important to keep air in the compost pile to minimize odors and achieve high temperatures. Proper airflow will also speed up the decomposition process. Turning the pile at regular intervals (especially during the first few weeks) speeds up decomposition. Turning ensures that air reaches all areas of the pile and thoroughly mixes particles.

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