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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2009
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    536

    Default How do I know if my alfalfa cubes are high quality?

    My horses get mainly good quality hay free choice, plus about 10 alfalfa cubes soaked twice a day to mix their vitamins/sups in. They are in great weight and are doing great in their workouts.

    My husband asked me the other day how I know where the alfalfa comes from in the cubes and how it's high quality. I didn't know how to answer him.

    I always pick apart my cubes before soaking them because I once found a little blue twine in one, and also to help break them up. I buy them from Tractor Supply, which I know is maybe not the highest quality.

    Where can I get quality cubes? Is there a brand in the Northeast I should look for? They always seem to smell the same to me, but they also sometimes seem dusty when I break them apart.

    My friend said she found some blue "tarp" material in a few of her cubes the other day! Yikes!

    I went searching and found another forum where somebody posted that they would NEVER buy cubes because they are the crap hay that the farmers can compress together to make look ok, and nobody knows. Has anybody ever heard that before?

    Thanks for reading and in advance for replies!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2003
    Location
    Staunton, VA, USA
    Posts
    2,487

    Default Most commercial cubes are as high as you will find

    Most commercial dryers buy their alfalfa straight out of the field and its as about as good as you will find.
    So if it is a brand name product with a legit label you will be fine.

    Big producers have to test their product and don't mess around with poor quality crops.

    I think you will be fine.
    I little bit of baler twine will not hurt a horse as long as its only a little bit. Long pieces now that's another matter. plus they usually spit the bits of plastic out, even if they don't they will just add to the indigestible fiber.

    Yours
    MW
    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
    New edition of book is out:
    Horse Nutrition Handbook.

    www.knabstruppers4usa.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    crazytown
    Posts
    1,748

    Default

    there is a difference in quality control from brand to brand. Triple Crown cubes have just hay- some brands (I've heard) have additives like clay to hold them together. If they are more like bricks this may be why..



  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanerpus View Post
    I went searching and found another forum where somebody posted that they would NEVER buy cubes because they are the crap hay that the farmers can compress together to make look ok, and nobody knows. Has anybody ever heard that before?

    Thanks for reading and in advance for replies!

    well the best way is to read the tag...

    does it say

    "no more than <x%> CP
    or
    "more than <x%> CP

    that gives you your first clue...as for very good or not so great...and so many horse people are dumb enough to only let their visual perceptions of the hay drive the purchases that a hay can really look crappy and still be well w/in parameters

    even grinder alfalfa hay is a higher grade than most horses need....

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2009
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    536

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    well the best way is to read the tag...

    does it say

    "no more than <x%> CP
    or
    "more than <x%> CP

    that gives you your first clue...as for very good or not so great...and so many horse people are dumb enough to only let their visual perceptions of the hay drive the purchases that a hay can really look crappy and still be well w/in parameters

    even grinder alfalfa hay is a higher grade than most horses need....

    Tamara in TN
    I will look - I'm not sure about the tag, but I will look!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2008
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    363

    Default

    Dairy Quality alfalfa is much richer than horses need. Usually around 20-21% protien. It is cut pre-bloom. If because of seasonal storms the hay gets cut late. In the bloom stage, the protien will drop down to 13-15% and Dairy farmers won't buy that hay. It's still good hay. But it often goes to the grinders for pellets or cubes. Last year and they are forecasting this year. There will be an excess of premum dairy quality hay because dairy herds have been reduced and the number of dairy cows cut way back. Hence here will be more premium hay going unsold and being offered to the grinders.

    You need to expect a certain amount of dust to be associated with pellets and cubes. You are taking a dry plant material. grinding it and making a pellet/cube out of it. When the moisture that was added during production evaporates, there will be some dust that falls off the product. This will collect in the bags. Bags of feed are stored in warehouses, Fork lifts etc drive by kicking up dust off the floor. Which could be spilled feed that has been pulverized by the wheels into dust. So the bags get dusty,

    I guess what I would worry most about is buying a product that was made from moldy hay. You wouldn't really know once it's been converted to pellets, So you are just making decisions on the companies reputation for producing a good feed product. And assuming they inspect the hay before grinding it and reject any moldy or defective raw hay.

    That would be an interesting question to ask the Feed company representative about what they inspect for in the raw materials they make cubes out off.

    Don't forget that horses have a much different digestive system than we do, They pick grass/hay up off the ground and eat it. I'm sure they ingest all kinds of dirt, bugs etc and survive.



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