Which Hay?


Hi there!  I have a bit of a dilemma, and am not sure how to proceed.  We have 3 different cuts of hay this year, and the hay we usually rely on for feeding Jolene is a mixed grass hay, but this year, it's a lot higher in NSC than it has been in the past.  We do have a cut that is lower than 10% NSC, but it is a second cut alfalfa/grass mix.  I didn't even bother having the 1st cut of the alfalfa/grass mix tested, because I assumed that we would be feeding the grass mix and selling the 2nd cut and just feeding the first cut to the cows.  I am hoping you all could give me some insight into what to do in regards to feeding her this year.  

Hay analyses: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Jolene/Hay%20Analysis
Ontario, 2020

Sherry Morse

As we don't recommend alfalfa for IR horses that limits your options.  Do you have current test results for Jolene for IR or PPID?  Has she been on alfalfa before without isues?

We also look at ESC+starch, not NSC and as fed values, not dry matter.  Your tests are done via NIR which can be off by up to 30% from Wet Chem so there's that to consider as well.  


Hi, Carlye.
We really can’t offer much guidance because the type of testing done, NIR, is not accurate enough to say the mixed grass hay will be safe. Mixed grass alfalfa is not advised because alfalfa can cause hoof pain in some horses. Fescue hay is not advised for the same reason. 

My best advice is to send a good sample - using a hay probe and sampling 20% of the bales - of the mixed grass to Nutrilytical for wet chemistry analysis of ESC (not NSC) and starch. It’s possible that hay is safe. 

You’ll find more useful information about hay analysis in  the Files:
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
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