Re: Hay shopping, 8% ESC + starch?


Absolutely, Paula. You got my attention when you said your gelding wouldn't eat it. I looked at last year's sample in your history form and I can see why. I've been on a bit of a toot lately about not focusing on only sugar and starch, but to consider all of the aspects of hay, especially the fiber fractions that affect digestibility and palatability. My experience has been that people come to me with help to balance their hay, and while admittedly, sugar and starch are low, the hay is so unpalatable that their horses won't eat it. ADF and NDF are very high in the sample in your folder. It would be considered poor hay based on that alone.
My experience has been (and I've been posting a lot of graphs lately on my Facebook page and on the ECIR Facebook page), is that you don't have to sacrifice quality for low simple sugar and starch. Most horses will turn up their noses at hay when the NDF reaches 65% - as a general rule, I aim for less than 60%. If you need help deciding, just post your analysis where we can see it and we can help you decide.

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
Director, ECIR, Inc.
Missouri, USA
Dec 2005

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