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discrepancies in hay testing

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    discrepancies in hay testing

    I just got have for my herd and sent it in for testing like I always do. This year I went with hay from a new supplier. I've developed my own criteria in over a decade of managing metabolically challenged horses, based on what I've seen work best for my herd. The analysis from the supplier didn't include minerals, so I did my own analysis so I can create a nutritionally sound diet. I was shocked at how different the two tests are. Could 2 different labs be that off?

    Lab 1 Lab 2

    DE 0.98 0.92
    Crude Protein 10.96 10.81
    ADF 31.23 30.3
    NDF 51.44 50.7
    WSC 9.3 11.2
    ESC 7.0 8.8
    Starch 1.7 1.2
    Calcium 0.56 0.40
    Phosphorus 0.26 0.36
    Magnesium 0.22 0.32
    Potassium 2.20 2.60

    #2
    These numbers don't seem that far apart on most items?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ABDR4 View Post
      I just got have for my herd and sent it in for testing like I always do. This year I went with hay from a new supplier. I've developed my own criteria in over a decade of managing metabolically challenged horses, based on what I've seen work best for my herd. The analysis from the supplier didn't include minerals, so I did my own analysis so I can create a nutritionally sound diet. I was shocked at how different the two tests are. Could 2 different labs be that off?

      Lab 1 Lab 2

      DE 0.98 0.92
      Crude Protein 10.96 10.81
      ADF 31.23 30.3
      NDF 51.44 50.7
      WSC 9.3 11.2
      ESC 7.0 8.8
      Starch 1.7 1.2
      Calcium 0.56 0.40
      Phosphorus 0.26 0.36
      Magnesium 0.22 0.32
      Potassium 2.20 2.60
      Is the difference in numbers significant? Each lab has its own equipment which may be older, newer, or have different features. That may account for slight differences. Also, did you collect samples twice, or did you collect samples once, mix it all up, then split it in two for the two labs? The sample composition could also account for differences.

      Comment


        #4
        The supplier pulled samples and you pulled samples - but they weren't out of the same ten bales (I'm assuming). Maybe his samples were right when the hay was put up and yours a month after. His samples may have been from one field and yours from another field. So many things could make the tests not exactly identical.
        ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

        Comment


          #5
          Most of these are less than one percentage point difference, everything except the minerals and the DE are measured as a per cent of the hay.. It does drive home though that hay testing may not be that precise.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            These numbers don't seem that far apart on most items?
            There's a huge discrepancy in carbohydrates and also the calciumhosphorous ratio. I bought the hay based on the first analysis and then did my own. A lot of the bales I cored had also been sampled. They had been tested within weeks of me testing. I thought I was buying hay that would work for my herd, but the carb numbers from my test are way too high to be safe for them. The second hay's carbs are high enough to founder at least one of my horses. I learned the hard way that she needs me to go by NSC, not just ESC and starch.

            This is not the first time I bought hay based on someone else's test. It is the first time that the results make me question if they gave me what I thought I was buying. This is also the first time I've found myself completely up a creek without a paddle going into what seems like a very cold winter without enough hay to get me through it.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ABDR4 View Post

              There's a huge discrepancy in carbohydrates and also the calciumhosphorous ratio. I bought the hay based on the first analysis and then did my own. A lot of the bales I cored had also been sampled. They had been tested within weeks of me testing. I thought I was buying hay that would work for my herd, but the carb numbers from my test are way too high to be safe for them. The second hay's carbs are high enough to founder at least one of my horses. I learned the hard way that she needs me to go by NSC, not just ESC and starch.

              This is not the first time I bought hay based on someone else's test. It is the first time that the results make me question if they gave me what I thought I was buying. This is also the first time I've found myself completely up a creek without a paddle going into what seems like a very cold winter without enough hay to get me through it.
              In that case I'd test again, just to check to see if what you're seeing is normal variation in hay samples, in lab tests, or maybe the hay you were given vs the hay that was tested. If you still have part of the first sample maybe send that again, plus a new sample.

              My guess is that hay suppliers may test random bales from their stock and then extrapolate to all the hay, even though all the hay wasn't cut on the same day. It takes us ~8 hours to mow a 10 acre field, so I can see how the hay that was cut first thing in the morning might not test out the same as the hay that was cut later in the day.

              Comment


                #8
                Then just soak the hay.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I agree, these numbers aren't far apart. This looks like normal variation. Hay is a living product and is not going to be 100% consistent across the field or across the bales. Pretty impressed, actually, that you're this close together on two tests--I've accepted more variation than this without a second thought!

                  If your horses are that sensitive, this is a good demonstration of how borderline values might not be good enough.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Wet chemistry vs NIRS? Which labs were used, and what specific test was used at each?
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                      #11
                      could easily be explained by the lab not calibrating the testing equipment correctly, my oldest daughter is a chemist, her first job out of college was working in the quality assurance lab of a pharmaceutical company that produced generic drugs. She was being shown the tests that needed to run on a each sample but had to stop her "instructor" to point of they were not properly calibrating the testing equipment Where she went to school they had the same equipment that she learned to calibrate Correctly.

                      She became the lab's training officer

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by ABDR4 View Post

                        There's a huge discrepancy in carbohydrates and also the calciumhosphorous ratio. I bought the hay based on the first analysis and then did my own. A lot of the bales I cored had also been sampled. They had been tested within weeks of me testing. I thought I was buying hay that would work for my herd, but the carb numbers from my test are way too high to be safe for them. The second hay's carbs are high enough to founder at least one of my horses. I learned the hard way that she needs me to go by NSC, not just ESC and starch.

                        This is not the first time I bought hay based on someone else's test. It is the first time that the results make me question if they gave me what I thought I was buying. This is also the first time I've found myself completely up a creek without a paddle going into what seems like a very cold winter without enough hay to get me through it.
                        NSC is WSC plus starch

                        For Test One the WSC number is 11% . For Test Two the WSC number is 12.4%. That is a difference of 1.4%. Honestly I don't think that's a meaningful difference.

                        Remind me what the unit of measurement is for the minerals?




                        ​​

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                          NSC is WSC plus starch

                          For Test One the WSC number is 11% . For Test Two the WSC number is 12.4%. That is a difference of 1.4%. Honestly I don't think that's a meaningful difference.

                          Remind me what the unit of measurement is for the minerals?

                          ​​
                          And isn't 10% the soak/no soak line, anyway? This was never no soak hay for the metabolic horse :-/

                          Comment


                            #14
                            NSC is WSC + starch.
                            The general rule for metabolic horses is ESC + starch <= 10%

                            Some horses are fine with NSC <= 10%, but some aren't if starch and/or ESC is too high.

                            "Remind me what the unit of measurement is for the minerals?"
                            Percentage
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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