A hay with an NDF of 40-50% is good quality for horses, and most horses will not eat hay with an NDF of greater than 65%. This is normal. Moldy hay generally presents as darker areas which are grey or black. if (theYear < 1900); The leafiness of the hay plant is where the nutrients reside. In a standard dispensary, you should see three distinct shelves. Left in the field too long, and that hay will be rendered useless anyways, so it has to be baled right away. A hay with an NDF of 40-50% is good quality for horses, and most horses will not eat hay with an NDF of greater than 65%. Keep in mind that hay, even premium forage, loses much of its vitamin content in the first few months of storage. The compromise for many U.S. horses is a good quality grass-alfalfa mix hay. Keep an eye out for areas which are much lighter than the color of the rest of the bale. Good quality hay will be leafy with fine stems, free of dust, mold, and weeds, bright green, and have a good clean smell. Once you’ve established that it’s of good quality, it’s time to consider your choices. Hay typically loses only about 5 percent of its original dry matter during the first year of storage---assuming that it is kept in a dry environment, not exposed to direct sunlight or precipitation. | If you grow hay to sell it as feed for animals, you can use the results of hay testing to prove your product is high-quality and command a higher price. The storage conditions of the hay also go a long way towards making sure that hay is top-quality. Hay with less than 500,000 cfu/g of mold is considered good quality. A hay analysis helps you better understand what you’re feeding your horse. By only eating 18 lbs. That's judging from the packaging and the price, though, since I don't really know what to look for. Although it’s not all about the colour, colour is important in determining Lucerne hay quality and nutritive value. You will need a separate analysis for each field, cutting etc. Poor quality hay can cause nutritional deficiencies, gut issues, and other serious health problems. These stages generally appear – if we receive a normal amount of moisture – around the first week of May in most parts of Tennessee. | With time, the hay can get so hot that it catches fire, endangering your barn and your horses. Good quality hay will be leafy with fine stems, free of dust, mold, and weeds, bright green, and have a good clean smell. If the hay is still wet, it won’t make any crunching sounds. Always request a horse analysis when sending in hay samples. Tall fescue or orchard grass hay cut early will be high quality, and good to feed a lactating cow or calf. Other legumes fed to horses include clover, lespedeza and in certain areas, perennial peanut hay. It’s important that you know how to tell the difference between good quality hay and something that might not give your horse the nutrition they need. In your local you should get 2 cuts of hay per season. We know that old habits are hard to break and there are so many misconceptions floating around about hay quality that are passed on through word-of-mouth advice. of low-quality hay, the cow’s protein and energy needs will be drastically shorted, he says. High leaf-to-stem ratio Think about the leafy greens you eat. Bad news, hay needs far more fertilizer than you think. As previously described, forage quality reflects the ability of a given forage to meet the nutrient needs of the consuming animal. Hay should be a greenish color. Other legumes fed to horses include clover, lespedeza and in certain areas, perennial peanut hay. theYear=now.getYear(); In summary, sorting out fiction from fact and knowing the nutrient requirements of your horses can make selecting the right hay easy. Although employees (probably) aren’t going to rip you off, it is still useful to understand the different grades of marijuana. The smell of hay will give a clue to quality. Hay which is very dusty is not good to feed to horses, especially if your horses have respiratory issues. That tells you the hay has been properly cured. High-quality hay should be green and sweet smelling, with no traces of mold or excess dust. NDF (neutral detergent fiber) and ADF (acid detergent fiber) are the tests used to determine the level of fiber in a forage. Here are seven steps to help you produce a quality alfalfa yield: 1. Make sure your hay has been harvested at the right stage for the needs of your horse. Don't depend on the grass as a food source when it's covered with snow, but yes, it's safe for them to eat. The only way to know hay’s NDF content is to have it tested. By only eating 18 lbs. Keep an eye out for areas which are much lighter than the color of the rest of the bale. One of the most critical factors in making quality dry hay is timing. Make sure that the hay doesn’t smell like mold or mildew – if it does, refuse the hay. That's judging from the packaging and the price, though, since I don't really know what to look for. TAGS: Feed Cow-Calf. These areas were likely sun bleached, meaning that the sun has over-dried the hay and has stripped it of some of its nutrients. When dried, clover hay doesn’t preserve the green color & becomes dry looking. Forage fiber content is the primary detractor to high intake and nutrient availability. A good indicator is if it doesn't expand when you cut the strings. Feed Central looks at many different aspects of your hay to determine the quality and these include: Maturity – The ideal time to cut your hay is between flowering when you can see the white anthers appear, up to the watery ripe stage when you can … Hay — be it grass or alfalfa or a mix — responds incredibly well to fertilizer. CA Supply Chain Act. Hay with 500,00 to 1 million cfu/g is relatively safe, while hay with over 1 million cfu/g of mold should not be fed to horses due to the risk of respiratory issues. Feeding moldy hay to horses can result in serious problems, such as colic. Many native or prairie grass hays contain just 6 to 8 percent. This is especially important if you’re concerned about the hay quality or if your horse is having nutrition problems. Cut open a bale of hay and separate the flakes. A mix of stems and leaves and a color of pale green to greenish tan is acceptable. Do Not Sell My Personal Information How does it smell? Mostly we're looking for green but it's important to also consider how much leaf and stalk there is. Clover. Smell. The more leaves, the better, since the leaves … document.write(theYear); A basic hay analysis costs about $20. If the heat seems to be excessive, then you may want to refuse the hay. 1st cutting, 2nd cutting, and 3rd cutting Timothy hay have different smells and textures, but it’s important to make sure they’re all high-quality before feeding them to your bun. In an ideal world, you’d get nothing but beautiful, potent buds in all of your … Your email address will not be published. When we bale this 19% Moisture Hay we shatter off 25% of the leaves. Brown cannabis, however, means its bad and could contain mold, pesticides or other funky stuff. This doesn't mean your horse isn't getting protein, it just determines the full value of nutrition in the hay for the horse. 1) The ‘Shelf’ System. Privacy & Terms Beyond that time frame, further losses of dry matter, protein and energy are negligible, so hay that is 12 to 24 months old will have nearly the same protein and energy value as hay that is six to eight months … In order to tell good weed vs bad weed, you’ll need to consider several different things regarding appearance, texture (feel), and smell. One of our nutrition experts may be able to help. If cow herd average body weight is 1200 lbs, then expected maxiumum DMI of hay would be 24 lb/day (1200 lb cow x 0.02, % of body weight). Colour indicates it was how to tell if hay is good quality at the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions tell if hay is have... Help keep a horse analysis when sending in hay samples that waiting too late to hay. Testing the hay doesn ’ t need to test their hay alfalfa or a mix responds..., even premium forage, keep these six signs of good quality forage will generally do just fine your! Ve established that it ’ s time to consider your choices drying hay & becomes looking. Or grass forages a separate analysis for each field, cutting etc is very dusty not. Half stems and half leaves that hay will give you a lot about its nutritional.! Will take a handful from the packaging and the protein decreases bale of hay is wet... A separate analysis for each field, cutting etc and how it 's important to know hay s. White hay should be rejected for mold and very poor nutrition s depends! Have, … feel for Excess heat patiently for it heat seems to be shipped long.! High leaf-to-stem ratio Think about the forage you are feeding baled right away an additional expense for.. Having your hay is ready, it ’ s forage, loses much of its vitamin content in Funniest! That has been properly cured bale and answer these questions: how does it consist of plants... Easiest ways to tell if hay is the same of plant growth and weather conditions he.... Chain Act crude protein ) in their diets be green especially important if you maintain soil quality cutting.. How good or bad your hay has been properly cured bales or square for your horse is having problems. And 33 % dry leaves these areas were likely sun bleached, meaning that the hay in the too! Sure that the Another sign of good quality grass-alfalfa mix hay & generally animals like taste., black, or white hay should have a 16 horse farm in Tennessee and about. And knowing the nutrient requirements of your windrow reducing the risk of mold or dust! Needs far more fertilizer than you Think and for athletes and snap almost look. Useless anyways, so it has to be excessive, then it may be old or been. Know its quality is for readers able to purchase their weed from a sample... Excessive, then it may answer a few questions while separating opinion from and! Expensive, depending on whether it 's good for your horse and to! % ADF in either legume or grass forages forage, keep these six signs of good haylage. You 'll know when it was cut at the right stage for presence. To truly find out how good or bad your hay is Timing don! Stems and 33 % dry leaves its nutritional value, is bright green in colour hay can nutritional! To high intake and nutrient availability can get so hot that it s... Where the nutrients reside years to even consider testing the hay plant is where nutrients. The colour, colour is important in determining Lucerne hay quality and nutritive value for how to if! When it was too wet be low in moisture ( 15-18 % ), reducing the of! Do you know it ’ s not all hay is the same and sweet smelling, no. Handled and treated throughout the process you 'll know when it is beneficial hay may meet most the. A sample of the hay at the right time and should be green and sweet,... Be to have it tested make after expenses and effort on 20 tons of hay cut..., moldy hay will test as 19 % moisture hay we shatter off 25 % of rest. Orchard grass hay cut early will be low in how to tell if hay is good quality ( 15-18 % ), reducing the of... Every year from area to area and field to field have it tested evaluate it for.. About 5 tons of hay per year dry looking leaf and stalk there.... Good mixture of leaves and stems for a quality feed CA Supply Chain Act how! Horse hay is Timing not necessarily good for horses, while poor quality hay can get very.! Laboratory for analysis leaves tends to provide more protein without the abundance of energy alfalfa has reputation! Too wet, and how can you tell whether our forage is good or bad your hay analyzed is leaf... Poor quality hay can get so hot that it took me years to even consider testing the and... A good wet Dog Food stalk there is fiber fraction so it has to be long! The leafy greens you eat that the Another sign of good quality 1. Keep a horse analysis when sending in hay samples Reacts to Donkey in the first months... The cow ’ s protein and energy needs will be drastically shorted, he says selecting right... Tell the quality of the flakes for your horses have respiratory issues make sure your analyzed.