Your feed salesman, veterinarian, and nutritionist can help you put together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Premium horse hay. For some types of horses—in either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn’t a great choice. She says alfalfa is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as lactating broodmares, growing horses, thin horses, racehorses, performance horses, or young foals that aren’t getting enough milk. Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. If I had a horse that was sensitive to potassium, rather than exclude alfalfa per se, I would have the hay analyzed. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. When grass is not available, hay may make up the largest part of a horse's diet. You can add alfalfa pellets or cubes to a grass hay diet for the same effect. These horses are affected by hyperkalemia, or an excessive amount of potassium in the blood, which causes their muscles to contract more readily than normal and makes them susceptible to sporadic episodes of muscle tremors or paralysis. “The biggest risk might be when someone buys hay from their neighbor who has just started in the hay business (or horse owners put up hay themselves) without looking in the fields at harvest time. “By the late 1800s and early 1900s we began to learn more about adding lime to low-pH soils, to make them more appropriate for growing alfalfa. Digital Media Library, “It can also be beneficial to horses with muscle problems that are prone to ­tying-up (due to their increased protein needs) or horses with, She says alfalfa is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as, “With growing horses, however, use caution in amount fed, simply so they don’t grow too quickly or get too big too fast and become at risk for, Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to, While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. Beetles killed by the haying equipment can end up in the hay. RFV. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. It is widely know that alfalfa hay is an excellent source of nutrients. “A lot of horse owners are intimidated by alfalfa and think they shouldn’t feed it, but it is a great feed for horses,” says Martinson. “Many horse owners buy bales of alfalfa and bales of grass hay and feed several flakes of grass hay and one flake of alfalfa” as needed, says Krista Lea, MS, forage extension specialist and research analyst at UK. However, when only given the choice of acid treated hay, the horses readily consumed it. Chopped cubed hay (usually alfalfa or timothy or a combination) is another 100-percent replacement. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. To determine the nutrient content of any hay, have it tested. Lucerne - Also Known As Alfalfa Cut three times a year, lucerne produces a protein-rich 14t DM per hectare without nitrogen fertiliser and on dry land. Years following drought typically see more blister beetles, as do central states such as Kansas and Oklahoma. Hay can also be useful when keeping horses indoors, and while transporting them. No one can really understand why so little lucerne is grown in the UK, when worldwide there is 13 million hectares cropped for forage. Stephen Duren, PhD, equine nutritionist and founder of Performance Horse Nutrition, in Weiser, Idaho, says this is because alfalfa provides amino acids needed for muscle regeneration. “This is especially true with foals, since they are smaller and spend more time lying down. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. In table 1, there is a comparison between a mid bloom alfalfa and a mid bloom timothy hay. “It can also be beneficial to horses with muscle problems that are prone to ­tying-up (due to their increased protein needs) or horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) due to the lower amount of nonstructural carbohydrates,” says Martinson. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. The last thing you want on an endurance ride where the horse is sweating for long periods is the increased body heat, water needs, and urine production described. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. “The biggest benefit of alfalfa for horses is that it tends to be more nutrient-dense than most grasses when harvested at the same stage of maturity,” says Martinson. Can be fed from the bucket or ground. Soak cubes to reduce risk of choke. “(It) does have more energy compared to grass hay of similar maturity, so perhaps a horse eating a lot of alfalfa in the absence of exercise may have more energy,” she says. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. “Extra protein cannot be stored in the body like extra fat or carbohydrates and must be excreted,” says Duren. “These beetles tend to be more prevalent in late summer,” says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. “It should be a green color, meaning there are more leaves and the hay is not weathered or rained on before it was put up,” says Smith. ��RZ��n��ڛ�=�)Nw[a1�� � �� �3��~k]Ȭ��r���d�r��y��0��������,/�O�RH���H�yÄ�g�����Ow�]I|�qΔ����>�Q&��Ԟ3��c;��. “If you always check the hay as you feed it, you can discard those bales or flakes that contain beetles,” says Smith. Key Features. High levels of calcium, on the other hand, can interfere with the horse’s ability to mobilize bones’ calcium stores during exercise. Thus, after a short conditioning period, horses will consume acid-treated hay. “Many horse owners buy bales of alfalfa and bales of grass hay and feed several flakes of grass hay and one flake of alfalfa” as needed, says Krista Lea, MS, forage extension specialist and research analyst at UK. Additionally, it supplies more nutrients than most nonworking horses need, leading to obesity and its associated issues. | Photo Credit: Courtesy North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Ideal for older horses with poor dentition or those recovering from surgery; View ... With alfalfa, 'super fibres', and oil for improved stamina and recovery. They are ideal for feeding outdoors and are particularly beneficial for breeding stock as they supply highly bio-available calcium and good quality protein.Dengie Alfalfa Pellets allow poor quality forage to be upgraded, whilst providing a good quality and nutritious feed for horses and ponies at a competitive price.One scoop of Alfalfa Pellets = 1.6Kg Combining high-temperature dried grasses and alfalfa, Hi-Fi Senior has been formulated to be soft and easy to chew. Adult blister beetles emerge in June (sometimes a little earlier or later depending on the region and climate) to feed on alfalfa blooms. This combination results in a steady release of digestible energy. In some areas of the country, alfalfa is a regular part of life. Grown in the Great Basin mountains at 4200 feet. It is recommended that horses with metabolic syndrome consume hay with NSC levels of around 10% to 12%. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. For instance, a horse that’s overweight and insulin resistant needs a lower-sugar hay (the alfalfa), says Martinson, but not the additional calories, “So we often end up doing a mix where those horses receive some legume and search for a low-sugar grass hay to mix with it.”. Research   /   Oxbow Alfalfa Hay is a high-fibre legume hay with the same long-strand fibre found in grass hays, but with more protein, energy and calcium. And, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some horse owners, a multitude of misconceptions. Alfalfa is a good source of nutrients for sport horses, but owners might want to avoid offering it when horses are working hard in hot weather, says Duren. Also aim for a good leaf-to-stem ratio (most of the nutrients are in the leaves; the stems are more fibrous). It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. It, Other horses that do best with limited alfalfa are horses with the genetic muscle disease, Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Maturity, harvest conditions, soil conditions, and more can affect protein, energy, and mineral levels, says Smith. “The first (and sometimes second) cutting of alfalfa almost never contains blister beetles because it is generally cut and baled ahead of when the adult beetles emerge.”. It typically contains more digestible energy, more crude protein and calcium, and fewer nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Premium feed for livestock and horses. Ammonia is heavier than air and concentrated near ground level.”. He might even suffer from dehydration (due to extra sweating and increased urination from the alfalfa breakdown/flushing from the kidneys) and be more likely to experience heat stress. Alfalfa is a high protein forage, so it makes an excellent supplement for horses that are protein deficient or for horses that have higher protein requirements such as senior horses or pregnant or lactating mares. At the same time, poorly managed pastures supply little or no feed and frequently are the sourc… So feed overweight horses or easy keepers just as you would the sugar- or carb-sensitive ones—offer them a mature grass hay with lower caloric content over a rich legume. Poisonous weeds that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. “Owners just need to manage the diet carefully … and make transitions to and from alfalfa slowly.”, N212 Ag Science Building NorthLexington, KY 40546859-257-2226equine@uky.edu, Nancy Cox, Ph.D. View Whatever your alfalfa experience, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this forage, starting with a little bit of history, and clear up any confusion about it. Departments & Units   /   “Ammonia in stalls can irritate airways and make horses susceptible to respiratory problems,” says Duren. In other areas, it is a delicacy of sorts, shipped in from different regions and bought a bale at a time on a vet’s recommendation to help certain horses that need nutritional support. Owners might also offer the legume to horses needing to develop more muscle, particularly along the topline. “Many performance horses are not worked to the point of dehydration, so they can handle a higher percentage of alfalfa,” he says. Horses are designed to eat forage and quality forage is the basis for the feeding programs of all classes of horse. As Sampled Basis: nutrient results for a sample in its natural state including the water. Forage legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, are members of the pea family and, so, are cousins of peanuts and garbanzo beans. ), building a diet on a good foundation of forage is especially important—the oats, corn, and barley that make up many feeds are 55-75% carbohydrate. This hay is perfect for young or lactating animals that need concentrated nutrition. Weed, mold and beetle free. Plant breeding was also beginning by the 1900s, and plant scientists were able to develop alfalfa plants that were better adapted to various soils in the U.S.” Modern plant breeding has also improved this legume’s disease resistance. “We see this practice more in the East where a lot of marginal grass hay is fed.”, The three-striped blister beetle is one species attracted to alfalfa blossoms. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. From “The main feed for horses of early armies in those regions was alfalfa,” he says. Also known as as fed or as received.. Dry Matter Basis: nutrient results for the sample with the water removed. Aug 28, 2019 - Explore Premium Quality Product Export's board "Alfalfa Hay" on Pinterest. Ideal hay replacer. First, cut hay also has a lower fat and protein content. Abstract. It was one of the first domesticated forages, planted and harvested in what is now Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan several thousand years ago. These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. Forage that has been dehydrated, ground and cooked to make pellets can technically replace hay. Blister beetles feed on alfalfa blossoms and might swarm fields during harvest. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. Protein is essential for both the growth and repair of muscles, bone, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood. Understand how to interpret a nutritional and mineral analysis report of horse grass, hay and haylage so that you can improve horse feeding and health Click To Tweet. “With growing horses, however, use caution in amount fed, simply so they don’t grow too quickly or get too big too fast and become at risk for DOD (developmental orthopedic disease),” Martinson says. You might offer performance horses alfalfa an hour or two before work or competition, during which acid can splash up into the nonglandular part of the stomach (where the cells of the lining do not produce protective mucus). These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. They are also great forage for horses that have, or are prone to laminitis as alfalfa is naturally low in sugar and starch. See Full Listing. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out. 3. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. She is getting no grain, and she has never developed laminitis, inflammation of the soft connective tissues within the foot that can result from a variety … Hay allows us to keep horses in climates and conditions not natural to horses. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out.”. “The beetles will be very concentrated; if you find one or two you will usually find many.” He adds that 99% of bloomed hay won’t have beetles in it. “Many horse owners buy bales of alfalfa and bales of grass hay and feed several flakes of grass hay and one flake of alfalfa” as needed, says Krista Lea, MS, forage extension specialist and research analyst at UK. A horse eating more protein than the body can use will also drink more water (to help flush out the additional waste products). Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. “It can make a difference how and where the alfalfa was grown and whether it was fertilized with manure—which really drives the potassium levels higher. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Horses that are fed alfalfa cubes tend to eat all the cubes provided, whereas horses fed long-stem alfalfa hay will sort through the hay and not eat all the hay offered. Chaffhaye is a premium Non-GMO Alfalfa sold in 50-pound bags that capture the key characteristics of alfalfa, while also offering a guaranteed level of nutrition. Research in Colorado reported that mature horses fed alfalfa cubes maintained their body weight better than horses fed equal amounts of long-stem hay. Even after you’ve selected good hay, it pays to check it for dust, mold, weeds, foreign objects, blister beetles, and dead animals as you feed it. S123 Ag Science – North Hay pellets. This added heat can impair the horse’s ability to dissipate heat. Grasses you’re likely familiar with include orchardgrass, timothy, and bermudagrass and are long and stemmy. If your horse doesn’t need the high nutrition value of pure alfalfa, look for a mixed grass/alfalfa hay. 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