What type of hay will you be purchasing next year?
It's time to be thinking about what type of hay you will be purchasing for the coming year. We are looking forward to our usual first cutting alfalfa/grass mix, and a low-quality first cutting grass for our 'air fern' quarter horse Reba. We have consistently observed that the first cutting hay in our area typically is baled when there is a higher moisture content in the ground, so it has always been very low in NSC (10.7% - 8%). We very pleased with this and our horses come out of winter looking nicely muscled with lean necks and decent concavity in their hooves.
Another observation in our hay is that the calcium levels are quite high, and the magnesium levels are very low. To balance this, we feed a bit of grain so that we can top-dress with magnesium and pre and probiotics. Balancing magnesium and calcium is vital, especially when feeding alfalfa. Unbalanced magnesium levels can lead to soreness, muscle tremors, nervousness, and inattention (taken from Juliet Getty's book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse.) And who wants a sore inattentive horse?
We recommend Equi-Analytical | Profiling Feed for Better Nutrition to hay testing. And we recommend FeedXL Online Horse Nutrition Calculator | FeedXL.com for balancing nutrition.
We hope this helps. Blessings,
Julie Johnson, Savvy Feeder