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Feeding Horses
First Posted Nov 10, 2008
Jul 24, 2010

The Nutritional Values of Forages

The Nutritional Value of Forages
by: Christy West, theHorse.com Webmaster
November 09 2004, Article #5249

The above link gives you the entire article of "The Nutritional Values of Forages." It is an excellent article so please follow the link.

"To feed your horse the best forage for his needs, you have to understand the plants and what affects their nutrient content, said Jerry Chatterton, PhD, Research Leader of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Forage and Range Research Laboratory in Logan, Utah. He spoke at the Equine Forage: Risks and Rewards Seminar and Summit held Oct. 22-23 at Rutgers University...

Eight points to remember:

  1. Much of the "organic hype" is a hoax. There is no scientific basis for a lot of it.
  2. Cool temperatures in spring and fall can result in forages with high carbohydrate content.
  3. Don't be afraid to feed hay that isn't a pretty bright green.
  4. High fiber is good for horses.
  5. Mineral content varies with the plant species, soil fertility, and plant maturity; few generalities are applicable.
  6. Cutting number (first cutting alfalfa) has little meaning; environment and plant growth stage are much more important considerations.
  7. Carbohydrate content is influenced by the environment--cold generally equals high carbs.
  8. Visual observation for judging forage quality is not a good indicator, forage analyses are best!"

For More Information:

Equine Nutrition
Choosing Hay for Your Horses

Feeding Horses