In some areas of the country, alfalfa is a regular part of life. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. High quality hay can be an excellent source of nutrition for - including protein and calcium - for horses and ponies and is a very palatable feed.. 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. “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. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Alfalfa is a popular forage choice among horse owners for a variety of reasons. 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. 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. No one can really understand why so little lucerne is grown in the UK, when worldwide there is 13 million hectares cropped for forage. As Sampled Basis: nutrient results for a sample in its natural state including the water. Other horses that do best with limited alfalfa are horses with the genetic muscle disease hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. “When alfalfa was first brought to the eastern part of the U.S. in the 1700s from Europe, it didn’t survive well—partly because of wetter soils and lower pH,” says Smith. Forage legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, are members of the pea family and, so, are cousins of peanuts and garbanzo beans. “These beetles tend to be more prevalent in late summer,” says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. “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. They are also great forage for horses that have, or are prone to laminitis as alfalfa is naturally low in sugar and starch. “In California there are many cutting, reining, and other performance horses that eat a lot of alfalfa hay (due to its wide availability) and balancer pellets, and that’s their entire diet and they do fine.”. It was one of the first domesticated forages, planted and harvested in what is now Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan several thousand years ago. “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. “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. best hay for horses First Cut Hay. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. 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. “Many performance horses are not worked to the point of dehydration, so they can handle a higher percentage of alfalfa,” he says. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. 3. “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. Beetles killed by the haying equipment can end up in the hay. The simple act of chewing creates more saliva, which also helps buffer stomach acid, says Lea. Contains pure alfalfa and are a high-fibre source for horses, ponies and other animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats and camelids. To steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free. Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. From 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. who felt alfalfa was the best hay for horses, some would suggest it never be fed and a few would ride the fence being neither strongly for or against alfalfa hay. Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. Additionally, it supplies more nutrients than most nonworking horses need, leading to obesity and its associated issues. Ammonia is heavier than air and concentrated near ground level.”. In table 1, there is a comparison between a mid bloom alfalfa and a mid bloom timothy hay. “Extra protein cannot be stored in the body like extra fat or carbohydrates and must be excreted,” says Duren. Because it’s so nutrient-dense, it is a good feed for underweight horses. See more ideas about alfalfa hay, alfalfa, grass hay. “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. Combining high-temperature dried grasses and alfalfa, Hi-Fi Senior has been formulated to be soft and easy to chew. The succulent taste stimulates the appetite of ill or post-surgical animals. 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. “Use of alfalfa grew rapidly in the western U.S. as people realized it fit well with that climate” and less-acidic soil types, says Smith. We know that for horses sensitive to sugar or carbohydrates (e.g., horses with insulin resistance, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, etc. “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. Alfalfa pellets are an excellent way of providing fibre in a concentrated form; No added sugar and low in starch; Alfalfa Pellets are rich in calcium and other naturally occurring vitamins and minerals This creates more urine and, thus, more ammonia odor. Research   /   Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. It typically contains more digestible energy, more crude protein and calcium, and fewer nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. Protein is essential for both the growth and repair of muscles, bone, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood. High quality ("dairy") alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. Departments & Units   /   Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Blister beetles feed on alfalfa blossoms and might swarm fields during harvest. Key Features. “Alfalfa is a perennial legume, grown in most regions of the U.S. for horses and other livestock,” says Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor and equine extension specialist in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Animal Science, in Falcon Heights. Some grass hays are also too high in sugar for these horses, and this is where a legume diet or mixed legume/grass diet can help lower total sugar intake. If your horse doesn’t need the high nutrition value of pure alfalfa, look for a mixed grass/alfalfa hay. 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. “(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. 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. Can be fed from the bucket or ground. Poisonous weeds that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. Orchard alfalfa mix hay. “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. View 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. Hay allows us to keep horses in climates and conditions not natural to horses. “If you always check the hay as you feed it, you can discard those bales or flakes that contain beetles,” says Smith. When grass is not available, hay may make up the largest part of a horse's diet. “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. S123 Ag Science – North This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. It is ideal for ensuring maximum health and well-being of all classes of horse, deer, goat, llama, chickens, … “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. By contrast, when settlers brought alfalfa west in the 1800s during the California Gold Rush to grow livestock feed, it did quite well. The first cut of hay is the first hay harvested from a field for that year. 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). Research in Colorado reported that mature horses fed alfalfa cubes maintained their body weight better than horses fed equal amounts of long-stem hay. It is recommended that horses with metabolic syndrome consume hay with NSC levels of around 10% to 12%. 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. Owners might also offer the legume to horses needing to develop more muscle, particularly along the topline. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. “I have three horses with three different nutrient requirements, so if I have different kinds of hay I can mix them appropriately for each horse—to get the right balance for what they need,” she says. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. | Photo Credit: Courtesy North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As both the grasses and alfalfa have been high temperature dried, this is a very ‘clean’ forage source making it especially beneficial for performance horses or … “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.”. Forage that has been dehydrated, ground and cooked to make pellets can technically replace hay. 2-twine bales in 21 bale bundles. Choosing the right hay for proper balance can be challenging, however. While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. High levels of calcium, on the other hand, can interfere with the horse’s ability to mobilize bones’ calcium stores during exercise. 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. Always follow the recommendations in your state regarding scouting for and controlling blister beetles.”, Some owners believe alfalfa makes horses “hot,” but Martinson says there’s no scientific basis for this. 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. Endurance athletes can benefit from small amounts of alfalfa, just like any other performance horse, says Duren, but make sure it’s not their sole forage source. 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. Grasses you’re likely familiar with include orchardgrass, timothy, and bermudagrass and are long and stemmy. And, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some horse owners, a multitude of misconceptions. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. Early farmers discovered its nutritional benefits, especially for hard-working horses, says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension -specialist at the University of Kentucky (UK), in Lexington. 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. Adult blister beetles emerge in June (sometimes a little earlier or later depending on the region and climate) to feed on alfalfa blooms. 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. We are located in Eastern Idaho where we have been growing our own high quality. Maturity, harvest conditions, soil conditions, and more can affect protein, energy, and mineral levels, says Smith. Horses are designed to eat forage and quality forage is the basis for the feeding programs of all classes of horse. It’s readily available and commonly fed, so it’s a logical foundation for many horses’ diets. This added heat can impair the horse’s ability to dissipate heat. This hay is perfect for young or lactating animals that need concentrated nutrition. WELCOME TO CUBEIT HAY “Premium Cubes for Premium Animals” We are producers of premium quality alfalfa hay cubes for over 20 years. Lexington, KY 40546-0091 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. Hay pellets. “The biggest issue with alfalfa is weight gain in horses that don’t have adequate exercise.”. “The main feed for horses of early armies in those regions was alfalfa,” he says. Ideal hay replacer. If I had a horse that was sensitive to potassium, rather than exclude alfalfa per se, I would have the hay analyzed. When purchasing hay, examine a few bales to see if the alfalfa has blooms. Ideal for older horses with poor dentition or those recovering from surgery; View ... With alfalfa, 'super fibres', and oil for improved stamina and recovery. When incorporating alfalfa into a horse’s diet, plan for the animal’s specific nutritional needs. See Full Listing. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. lfalfa is often the pre- ferred forage for horses because of its high quality, high digestibility, and good roughage value.Well-preserved alfalfa hay should be the foundation of a feeding program for young growing horses, recreational horses, and active horses.This publica- tion describes the horse’s digestive system and nutritional needs and how to select alfalfa hay. You can add alfalfa pellets or cubes to a grass hay diet for the same effect. Kentucky Alfalfa Update at the 2020 UK Stored Forages Conference February 8, 2020 Liming for a Successful Soil pH January 2, 2020 Placing 12th at the 2019 World Forage Analysis Superbowl December 31, … However, when one considers hay as that basic forage, what criteria are used to describe quality horse hay? Protein metabolism creates more heat than fat or carbohydrate metabolism. “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. Premium feed for livestock and horses. 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.”. This is the cut that’s taken before the hay blooms and is a good, solid, 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. ��RZ��n��ڛ�=�)Nw[a1�� � �� �3��~k]Ȭ��r���d�r��y��0��������,/�O�RH���H�yÄ�g�����Ow�]I|�qΔ����>�Q&��Ԟ3��c;��. 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. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. The more serious issue with these horses, however, is the liver damage from the toxins in the mold. ), 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. Also known as as fed or as received.. Dry Matter Basis: nutrient results for the sample with the water removed. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. The stems are thin and flexible, and it has a high fibre content. For some types of horses—in either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn’t a great choice. Abstract. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out.”. “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. To determine the nutrient content of any hay, have it tested. Grown in the Great Basin mountains at 4200 feet. Extension   /   These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. However, when only given the choice of acid treated hay, the horses readily consumed it. Premium horse hay. 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 600 Bales of 3 String Square Alfalfa Orchard. Emerald Green Feeds Alfalfa Pellets are ideal for horses both young and old, they are very palatable and high in fibre content. Dean “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. A horse eating more protein than the body can use will also drink more water (to help flush out the additional waste products). Years following drought typically see more blister beetles, as do central states such as Kansas and Oklahoma. Also aim for a good leaf-to-stem ratio (most of the nutrients are in the leaves; the stems are more fibrous). “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. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. Hay can also be useful when keeping horses indoors, and while transporting them. “This is especially true with foals, since they are smaller and spend more time lying down. alfalfa hay for more than 40 years. 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. Aug 28, 2019 - Explore Premium Quality Product Export's board "Alfalfa Hay" on Pinterest. RFV. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Today, alfalfa still grows best in well-drained soils rather than wet soils. It is widely know that alfalfa hay is an excellent source of nutrients. 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. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. First, cut hay also has a lower fat and protein content. 859-257-4772, Students   /   Weed, mold and beetle free. A study conducted at Cornell University showed that when given a choice, horses preferred untreated alfalfa to alfalfa that was treated with a mixture of propionic and acetic acid. Thus, after a short conditioning period, horses will consume acid-treated hay. These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts. “Ammonia in stalls can irritate airways and make horses susceptible to respiratory problems,” says Duren. At the same time, poorly managed pastures supply little or no feed and frequently are the sourc… “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. “Potassium levels in forage are dependent on what the plants are pulling out of the soil, however,” says Duren. 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 … Soak cubes to reduce risk of choke. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. Your feed salesman, veterinarian, and nutritionist can help you put together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage. Chopped cubed hay (usually alfalfa or timothy or a combination) is another 100-percent replacement. This combination results in a steady release of digestible energy. Philanthropy & Alumni Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. This is a mold that causes black blotches on the undersides of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa. Nutritional requirements for many classes of horse sugar and starch and commonly fed, so that. ” we are located in Eastern Idaho where we have been growing our high. Gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach,... Black blotches on the less-nutrient-dense hay wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy.! In large amounts the genetic muscle disease hyperkalemic periodic paralysis ( HYPP ) of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn ’ need... ’ t a great choice due to its protein and should be kept on a low-protein! Grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass water! Taste stimulates the appetite of ill or post-surgical animals hay blooms and a... 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