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Timothy and Alfalfa Hay Blog

    Along with quality forage, hoof care important in winter

    Posted on Jan 6, 2014

    As outside temperatures plummet and precipitation becomes increasingly frozen, horse owners may opt to stay inside more often than not. Horses are well cared for – they get fed plenty of high quality hay, have fresh and unfrozen water, get regular turnout, and have access to shelter.

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

    Is your hay high in moisture? Find out with appliances in you home!

    Posted on Nov 15, 2013

    Determining Moisture in Feeds is as easy as Using a Microwave

    Did you know that you can determine the moisture content of your animal feeds with a microwave? It’s true, and is in fact, quite easy to do. But, why is it important to know how much moisture a feed component contains? To put it simply – moisture essentially dilutes nutrients in a feedstuff. The amount of water, or moisture, in a feed contributes to its weight, but does not provide any nutrients. When moisture is removed, dry matter remains. The dry matter contains the nutrients that an animal needs for maintenance, growth, pregnancy, and lactation. Cows and horses must be fed diets that are balanced to meet their nutritional requirements and diets must be balanced on a dry matter basis.

    Moisture contents vary widely by type of feed. Fresh pasture grass contains a lot more moisture than hay. Conceivably, a horse or cow would have to eat a lot more pasture grass than hay to meet its nutrient requirements. Moisture content of feeds can also be affected by timing and method of harvest.

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

    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

    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

    Salt Essential to Horse Health

    Posted on Jul 22, 2013

    Salt – Essential for Life

    Salt is an essential nutrient. It is not produced by the body, but it is required for life. Horses have an innate appetite for salt. When available, most horses will consume enough salt to meet their needs.

    Salt is made up of the minerals sodium and chloride. Sodium is important for muscle contraction, conduction of nerve impulses, and digestion of protein. Sodium also plays a key role in the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Chloride is essential for the maintenance of blood pH and enhances the transport of carbon dioxide from tissues to the lungs.

    Since pasture grasses and hays contain little sodium, salt (sodium chloride) is often added to concentrates formulated for horses. Free-choice salt, either plain or trace-mineralized, can also be offered to horses. A salt block is the most common form of sodium chloride that is fed to horses.

    While salt blocks were originally designed for animals that have rough tongues, such as cattle, they are also suitable for horses. However, if a horse bites or gnaws at the corners of a block, it is possible that he is not getting enough salt by licking the block. Therefore, it might be preferable to feed loose salt in this scenario. If loose salt is provided in the pasture, it should be placed in a covered feeder. Also consider placing salt in at least two widely-spaced locations to ensure all horses have access to salt, especially if there are some that are aggressive in the bunch.

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    Topics: Quality of Forage, Horse Nutrition

    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

    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