Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hay analysis

The hay analysis for my 420 (now closer to 380) bales of hay, imported from Canada, is in. YAY!

Below are the percent of total (%) and grams/pound (g/lb) values of the hay, from Equi-Analytical. The values in the Recommended Daily Dose column also come from Equi-Analytical, and are based on a 1100 lb horse in light work.

The final column, Daily Intake (High/Low), shows how much of each nutrient each horse gets per day, based on roughly 20 lbs of forage per day. I've also noted whether or not they're getting enough of each nutrient by using HIGH (meaning yes, they're getting plenty), or LOW (meaning they might need a supplement).

Nutrient % g/lb Recommended Daily Dose Daily Intake (High/Low)
Crude Protein 13.4 60.7820 g1214 g/ day HIGH
Estimated Lysine .52 2.429 g48 g/day HIGH
Water Soluable Carbs 7.2 32.8
ESC (simple sugars) 4.8 21.6
Starch 1.6 7.0
Non Fiber Carb. (NFC) 13.3 60.1
Crude Fat 1.9 8.8

Calcium 1.02 4.6325 g92 g/day VERY HIGH
Phosphorus .28 1.2917.8 g25.8 g/day HIGH
Magnesium .17 .7917.8 g15.8 g/day LOW
Potassium 1.94 8.8131 g176.2 g/day VERY HIGH
Sodium .027 .12225.1 g Not reported

A couple of things to note here:
  • NSC (which is what I'm so concerned about for Saga's feet) is equal to WSC + Starch. In the case of my hay, that's 8.8%, well below the 10% I was hoping for. Hurrah! (Please, please tell me I did that math right.)
  • Nobody's hurting for protein around here!
  • Magnesium is a tad bit low, but they are already getting a magnesium oxide supplement. I've decreased that to 1 tbsp/day, so they're probably getting a bit extra, but not much.
  • Although Sodium is not reported, I'm not terribly concerned. The boys have free access to loose salt, and since I have to refill it regularly, I know they're making use of it. :) 
  • They are getting a LOT of Calcium. Worse, the Calcium:Phosphorous ratio, which should be roughly 1:1 or even 2:1, is more like 3.5:1. Supposedly horses are OK up to 6:1, so maybe I shouldn't panic? The literature seems to agree that as long as the ratio does not fall BELOW 1:1, I'm OK. Well then, I won't panic. Yet.
  • They are also getting a lot of Potassium. However, the literature says that most forage is between 1-2% dry matter in K (at 1.94, we're right in there), so horses generally get way more than they need with no adverse effects. Well OK then, I guess we're fine.
Here's the rest of the nutrients (separated out since they are reported in ppm):

Nutrient ppm mg/lbRecommended Daily DoseDaily Intake (High/Low)
Iron 203 92335 mg1840 mg/day VERY HIGH
Zinc 20 9335 mg180 mg/day LOW
Copper 13 684 mg120 mg/day HIGH
Manganese 91 41335 mg820 mg/day VERY HIGH
Molybdenum 1.2 .5Unk
5-8 ppm
10 mg/day HIGH

More thoughts:
  • I should probably look into a zinc supplement.
  • HOLY CRAP they are getting a LOT of Iron. Fortunately it doesn't appear that it's toxic; so I'm not going to panic.
  • They are also getting a lot of Manganese, but it's supposedly one of the least toxic minerals. Again, no need for panic.
I wish I knew how much Selenium was in this, but it wasn't reported for some reason.

So, overall, the hay looks pretty good! I can supplement a little for Mg and Z and get them where they should be, but otherwise they don't really need anything extra in their diets.

The question is, should I continue to give them the tiny bit of vitamin/mineral supplement they are currently receiving? I think I might, since it has some extra stuff (namely vitamins A, E, and D) in it. I'll continue to give beet pulp to Cash and Saga since it's doing a good job of keeping the weight on them, and of course the ground flax. Otherwise, the feeding program around here seems pretty reasonable!

What do you think? Any suggestions on things I should change up?


  1. I bet that's a relief! Looks like you're in good shape. Thanks for posting this info - I've been wondering who to go to for hay analysis.

    Did you use a hay probe?

  2. You won't like this, but you should probably read it anyway: Endurance horses and alfalfa The second half of the article concerns the Ca/P ratio. They're at a somewhat increased risk for thumps if they do strenuous endurance-type activities. (But remember, plenty of people feed nothing but alfalfa and ride their horses HARD and don't have trouble - risk isn't guaranteed trouble.)

  3. High iron, high manganese both mean you are likely to need to increase copper and zinc - the theory being that Fe and Mn in high amounts block absorption of Cu and Zn. I'd have to crunch numbers (which I hate worse than drawing) to give you actual figures, but in the meantime run those numbers past the guys on the Cushings/IR list... ;-)

  4. Interesting analysis...We get our bales in such small lots that I'd be paying through the nose to test every lot, ugh. I've heard Potassium being a problem only if your horse is IR/Cushings according to Dr. Kellon's group.

  5. My barn gets hay from a zillion different places, so getting an analysis is pretty much hopeless. I think it's great you were able to get your hay done, especially since you have enough bales to last a long time! It'll make getting their nutrition stuff much easier.