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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2010
    Posts
    30

    Smile Organic Alfalfa Hay: Would you buy it, feed it?

    I had to log in with a new log in as my old one would not work (formerly cheerful1).

    Here in Southern Cal., my family has an opportunity to grow Certified Organic Alfalfa, and we wonder what the thoughts are of people in the horse community. What do other horse owners think? Would you feel it was worth it to feed your horse Organic hay? Do you worry about the pesticides and chemicals applied to regular hay crops? Enough to switch to Organic?


    Any thoughts, ideas, input would be greatly appreciated!

    TIA



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,338

    Default

    I would not pay more for organic hay. Just for the record, my dad grows hay and tried those organic fertilizers made from superseaweed one year. Production went way down in the fields he applied it to. He has not tried it again!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2006
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    375

    Default Organic Hay

    I am an organic vegetable and grain farmer. The hay would be valuable in your rotation for many reasons, but I gather you're asking about a market.

    The organic industry has grown 20% each year for the last 10 years, so the market is definitely expanded. Horses are pets for some people and the organic pet food industry is also experiencing fantastic growth.

    If organic alfalfa (horse quality) was available in our area, I would definitely buy it. Knowing the cropping systems in our area, it stands to reason that it would not be that much more expensive to produce than conventional alfalfa.
    Alison Howard
    Homestead Farms, Maryland www.freshorganicvegetables.com



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2005
    Posts
    2,185

    Default

    Are you talking Certified Organic hay or just that it was grown organically? There is a difference. My hay that I buy is grown organically as in the guy I buy it from does not spray or use chemical fertilizer but it is not certified by QAI or OCIA.

    Regardless I would not pay more for Certified Organic.
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    450

    Default

    Yes, I would buy organic hay and even pay a dollar more per bale since I only have one horse to feed. (But I already pay $10, sigh...)
    However, it would have to be something else than alfalfa... Could you grow orchard and/or timothy grass instead, or in addition to alfalfa?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2005
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Organic Alfalfa is grown a lot in this area and is sometimes sold to horse owners but most of it is sold to people raising organic beef... I only see about a 10.00 a ton difference between the organic and the standard alfalfa. If I could get someone to deliver and stack it I would order it but they seldom want to deal with smaller than 10 ton loads.
    In Celebration of all Morgan horses



  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by litehold View Post
    Any thoughts, ideas, input would be greatly appreciated!
    TIA
    we buy about 350 semis a year of hay...and we would not consider buying it

    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.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Posts
    3,575

    Default

    I would seriously consider buying organic hay. Since it is the majority of my horses' diet, I would love the opportunity to produce a good quality organic hay rather than a chemical enhanced product.

    Tamara, why wouldn't you even consider it?????
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2003
    Posts
    45

    Default

    I am in Southern California and would love to have the opportunity to feed organic alfalfa to the horses.

    It would be really nice to have organic alfalfa available for milk goats or cows as well. Not that I have either one yet but I have been thinking about it. Especially with Round-Up ready alfalfa looming on the horizon.

    As for cost, a few more dollars a bale over regular hay prices for the horses would be o.k. but probably not $5.00 or $10.00 a bale more. Might pay that much more to feed it to one milk goat though.

    I would be happy to work out some sort of a co-op with other area horse owners to deliver a large load and then split it amongst us. They are doing that here with local area organic produce. I think it would work great for organic hay and feed as well.

    I have a small flock of hens that I free range. I also feed them Modesto Mills organic scratch and lay pellets. Very high quality feed. The hens look great and the eggs are delicious. I travel extra and pay more for it but it is worth it.

    Hope that helps. It would be super if your family can make it happen!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
    Posts
    3,928

    Default

    If it was about the same price as the non-organic stuff, I'd definitely buy it. If it was considerably more expensive, I would not. I try to eat organic as much as possible myself and do the same for my animals, but since I'm running a business with my horses price does have to be a pretty significant factor.

    I think that's what it comes down to. If you can sell it for around the same price, you'll probably do well. If you have to price it much higher, you'll probably be able to find a decent amount of 1 or 2 horse owners who will buy, but miss out on horse businesses or people with many animals. That'd be my guess, anyway, but take it for what it's worth...which isn't much.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
    Location
    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
    Posts
    2,504

    Default

    I'm curious as to how you intend to control blister beetles.



  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cls View Post
    Especially with Round-Up ready alfalfa looming on the horizon.

    !
    ???

    so what have you done differently in light of Round up Ready,soybeans,corn and sugar beets (beet bulp)?
    have you ever grown any hay ? organically or other wise ?
    how'd that go ?

    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.



  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    Tamara, why wouldn't you even consider it?????
    there is no weed control,there is no bug control, the ground is not fertilized for the crop on top of it (so they are strip mining it basically)

    so the end product is not something that looks like Adam cut it with his sickle in Eden, but rather something that is bleached and stunted and has little leaf retention...

    and they will happily add a 50% premium to it for it's "organic-ness" jut for me today

    if you live in the 1% of the world where you have no bugs,can turn the water off and have a premium soil and weeds are afraid to tread then wear it out....til then don't bother me with it- sell it to someone else

    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.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Posts
    3,575

    Default

    Tamara, if that is the case, then how do organic growers produce excellent produce for human consumption?

    I would hope that some same practices would be utilized.

    From what you are describing, it sounds like organic = natural, meaning no amendments are made to soil or plant to avoid pests and to provide nutrients.

    I certainly would not be interested in buying organic if there was no nutritional value.

    Katywatts, interesting question, I do not buy alfalfa hay, so I am not current on how blister beetles are currently being treated, but hopefully the organic people will figure something out.

    What did they all do a 100 years ago, when there were no chemicals, etc available? Spread manures to fertilize was about the only think I am aware that may have been available, or lime too for that matter. I am sure others will add/correct me if there were chemicals used a 100 or so years ago.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  15. #15

    Default

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    Tamara, if that is the case, then how do organic growers produce excellent produce for human consumption?
    vegetable farms that are truly "organic" are small,very small and use lots and lots of hand labor (sometimes immigrant) sometimes raised beds and or tunnels...
    but you must remember that the seed to harvest time on most vegetables is very short...60-90 days...the seed to harvest time on hay it very long sometimes months or even a year...and hay at 2.1 tons per acre at 200/ton that takes a year to harvest,is not as profitable as carrots at $2/pound in 45-60 days


    What did they all do a 100 years ago, when there were no chemicals, etc available? Spread manures to fertilize was about the only think I am aware that may have been available, or lime too for that matter. I am sure others will add/correct me if there were chemicals used a 100 or so years ago.
    yep manure and sometimes green covers...I gotta go to the horse barn but I will get my 1900's edition of "Feeds and Feeding" for some yield numbers and practices that we can compare with modern yield numbers/practices when I am done with morning chores.

    my personal opinion of the organic racket...um market is very very low to begin with be warned

    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.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,558

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    there is no weed control,there is no bug control, the ground is not fertilized for the crop on top of it (so they are strip mining it basically)
    Just because it's organic does not mean that there is no weed/bug control or fertilization.



  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GoForAGallop View Post
    Just because it's organic does not mean that there is no weed/bug control or fertilization.
    that may be so for vegetables but it is not out personal experience with hay growers

    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.



  18. #18

    Default

    From 1936 "feed and feeding" by Morrison

    the average bu/ac yield for dent corn was 25.2 bu/ac
    on an average of 101,564,000 for the years
    1924-1933...
    there was a drought in 1934 and they threw that number out
    as it was only 15.8 bu/ac...total yearly yield all of USA=2,559,412,000

    FFWD to 2008:

    12,400,000,000 bu total at 153.9 bu per acre
    and it was expected to not be enough
    http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2008a/08...rtEthanol.html



    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.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,850

    Default

    "Organic" is not better:

    http://www.drovers.com/news_editoria...675&ed_id=5846

    http://www.latimes.com/features/food...C2885942.story

    ---""We did not find any important differences in nutrient content between organically and conventionally produced foods," says study author Alan Dangour, a registered public health nutritionist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine."---



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2005
    Posts
    2,185

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    "Organic" is not better:

    http://www.drovers.com/news_editoria...675&ed_id=5846

    http://www.latimes.com/features/food...C2885942.story

    ---""We did not find any important differences in nutrient content between organically and conventionally produced foods," says study author Alan Dangour, a registered public health nutritionist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine."---

    EXACTLY!! There is this false belief that organic is healthier and have more nutrients and that just is not true. I was a buyer for 10 years and I purchased Certified Organic raw materials for my company that makes health food and supplements. Most organics are sky high in bacteria, yeast and mold. That is not healthy for humans in such high amounts. The FDA even put something out not to long ago saying that organic is not better than conventional.

    I have always heard that organic was better because it was better for the land and environment but Tamara make some very intersting points that seem to prove that wrong!!
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010



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