locked high iron hay options - Fe = 1,250 ppm


Hilary McGregor
 

We were hoping to get this teff hay shipped in for Jack. It's the lowest ESC+starch of any hay locally.

I just received the wet chem analysis and it has 1,250 ppm iron. I've not dealt with high iron hay before and what I understand is that this is too high to be safe. Correct? We are aiming for max 500 ppm iron in total diet, right? What chance of contamination or lab error?

So, even if we were to mix 50:50 with this low-iron local grass hay with approximately 40% alfalfa it wouldn't lower iron enough to be safe. Is this true?

Is the teff hay a hard pass then?

If so, our next best option is the local grass/alfalfa mix. Any thoughts?

--
Hilary and Amika
Prince George, BC, Canada
Joined July 2019
NRC+ proficient grad January 2022

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Trisha DePietro
 

Hi Hilary.  I would avoid the high iron one and go with the grass/alfalfa. However, if your horse gets foot sore with alfalfa- then that is something to consider as well, but I'm sure you know that.  I'm not a balancer by any means, so I can't help you with the 50:50 mixing of the hay...I'm sure one of our more experienced will chime in on that piece ...but I also wonder how much zinc and copper would be needed to balance out all that iron? 
--
Trisha DePietro
Aug 2018
NH
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Nancy C
 

Hi Hilary

Did you test this hay or was it the grower? You can call the lab and ask for retest. When things are this high, however, it can often be that a plug of dirt was hit in a given bale. If you suspect that, a resample (as many bales as you can) and retest would be in order.

Baring that, shaking the hay before feeding, or rinse and feed, would lower the iron somewhat.  Again, you'd want to retest.

When iron is very high, I've found that getting to a tight trace mineral balancing ratio is not possible.  You do the best you can.

As Tricia says, alfalfa can be a problem.
--
Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
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Hilary McGregor
 

Thanks Nancy. The producer (I think) provided an NIR analysis, so I managed to get 10 bales and core and sample them myself (not exactly representative, but the best we could do). This hay is grown in Washington state and sold by a broker 10 hours drive from where we live. The bales are compressed and the one we opened appears to be very clean, green, lovely teff. I just checked the half pound of cored sample I retained and it appears extremely clean with absolutely no grit or dirt clumps.

I know that tight balancing will not be possible with this level of iron, but isn't it also past the dangerous/toxic level to feed? Does some hay have this high iron without being contaminated with dirt? Is there be another mineral that would be abnormally high if the iron was from dirt?

I will ask the lab to retest. 

I know alfalfa can be a problem, and I'm worried about getting the alfalfa mix, however it really is the only option that I found this year with ESC+starch below 10%, moisture below 15%, and protein above 4%! Jack was fed a small amount of alfalfa cubes as a mineral carrier and protein boost before his laminitic episode in January without ill effect. But everything seems to have changed for him now! 

--
Hilary and Amika
Prince George, BC, Canada
Joined July 2019
NRC+ proficient grad January 2022

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Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Hilary,

Iron 1250 ppm is toxic. You can't feed that. To use this hay, you would have to dilute it with lower iron hay until iron is below 500 ppm.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001
The first step to wisdom is "I don't know."


Kirsten Rasmussen
 

Mg and Mn can be higher if the iron is from dirt.  Mg in particular is often associated with iron in rocks and soils so where one is high, the other likely is. 

Can you ask the lab to rinse their sample, dry it, and reanalyze it?  If it still comes back high, I'd decline to buy the hay.  500 ppm is the upper safe limit for iron.

Since Jack doesn't need a lot, being small, have you considered bringing in or picking up a pallet (2000lb for 520$--last year's prices) of Highbred Horse Hay from Olds, Alberta?   It's pre-tested (NIR) but they do run the minerals so you can see iron before you buy it.  It's compressed, blended hay and doesn't take up much space.  Their Diet blend is the lowest sugar option and is all grass.  Not sure if they have their 2022 hay ready yet but you could call and ask when that might be.  Just watch the ADF (palatability) and NDF (digestibility), last year they were quite high and not be ideal for an elderly horse. 

--
Kirsten and Shaku (IR + PPID) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
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Hilary McGregor
 

Thanks Dr. Kellon. That's what I thought. I can feed about ¼ of this hay with the low iron grass/alfalfa hay and get iron comfortably below 500ppm. Will still require significant copper/zinc to balance.

Sounds like that's what we will have to do unless the lab is able to provide new info.

--
Hilary and Amika
Prince George, BC, Canada
Joined July 2019
NRC+ proficient grad January 2022

Amika's Case History Folder
Amika's Photos Folder

Jack's Case History
Jack's Photos Folder


Hilary McGregor
 

Thank you for the info and these suggestions, Kirsten! Mg and Mn both look low in the teff, supporting that it may not be dirt contamination.

I will look into Highbred Horse Hay in Alberta. I haven't heard of them before and I'm looking all over BC and AB for options! $520 a ton is still way less expensive than what's on the lower mainland. That teff is $850/ton (2000 lbs)!

--
Hilary and Amika
Prince George, BC, Canada
Joined July 2019
NRC+ proficient grad January 2022

Amika's Case History Folder
Amika's Photos Folder

Jack's Case History
Jack's Photos Folder


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Hilary,

At these prices I would also look into getting Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance Cubes in bulk. They are not only safe, they are mineral balanced already.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001
The first step to wisdom is "I don't know."