Some horse owners would think to themselves, “Yeah, testing hay sounds like a good idea…but my program is way too big, busy, and I just don’t have time for something that complicated.” Well say good-bye to that excuse because I am here to fill everyone in on how easy it is to have your hay analyzed.

 

First and foremost, I want to make sure readers know that Excel Equine®® tests ALL of its customers hay for free if they wish for it to be done. All they have to do is 1. Be a customer 2. Call and ask for someone to come take a core sample of their hay 3. Wait for the results and have our nutritionist guide them on what they say. Simple as that! Also…it is probable that your local extension office offers the exact same service… the only difference is you will be paying for the analysis rather than receiving it as a customer benefit.

 

“So why exactly should I worry about getting my hay analyzed?”  We are already given lots of ways to tell if hay is of good quality or not: sight, smell, touch…etc. Well…those areal all great things to know for when you get a shipment of hay in and can send it back if those obvious components are off. However, the only way to know FOR SURE what the nutritional value of your hay is would be to have it analyzed. A hay analysis tells you things that you can’t base on a simple observation of the hay. An exact, nutritional value of hay is important for a variety of different horses. It is very important for horses with metabolic problems. You would really need to know the NSC value of your hay when feeding these horses. The only way to obtain that is through testing your hay. You cannot assume that just because you are feeding a grass hay, you have eliminated the sugar from your horse’s diet.

 

Growing foals and broodmares also need to be paid special attention to when it comes to what kind of hay they are consuming. Most people know legumes have more protein than grass hays…but the variance between one shipment of alfalfa from another shipment of alfalfa is still very real. Not all alfalfa hays are the same and not all grass hays are the same. To get an accurate read on how much protein you are feeding your horse through forage, you need to have your hay analyzed.

 

Knowing the calorie count of your hay is another piece of information that you will receive from having your hay analyzed. Calorie counts on your horses’ rations play a role in training barns, breeding programs, heavy keepers, and hard keepers. Basically…that accounts for a lot of horses out there! So the DE (digestible energy) reading that you will get on your analysis can really help your determine if you should look into buying a different hay, buy a different grain, add a ration balancer, or how much to feed.

 

So no more excuses! Now you know just how easy it is to have your hay analyzed. You also now know WHY you should be doing it and the value that it brings to your feeding program.

 

 

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