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Attn: Hay gurus!!! Hay test results back. Would love your input please :)

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  • Attn: Hay gurus!!! Hay test results back. Would love your input please :)

    So this is the first time I've ever tested hay. My guy is still eating mostly soaked alfalfa/tim cubes due to colon issues, but I am slowly transitioning him onto the hay I have. I definitely need to be careful with his sugar intake.

    These are my results. This is a timothy/alfalfa mix. I'm going to put down what I think are the important numbers:

    Crude Protein 7.8%
    WSC - 16.3% (is that high??!!)
    ESC - 7.9%
    NFC - 20.3%
    Calcium - .67%
    Phosphorus - .11%
    Magnesium - .14%
    Selenium .16%

    I live in Alberta where we have very cold nights even in the summer which I've learnt will result in hay with higher sugar levels.

    Can any hay gurus please comment on these results?? Would be ever so greatful!!!

  • Original Poster

    Actually, those are the numbers from "As Sampled". The ones under the "Dry Matter" column are different. Which one do you go by?


    • #3
      Originally posted by bucksnort View Post
      Actually, those are the numbers from "As Sampled". The ones under the "Dry Matter" column are different. Which one do you go by?
      You figure what you feed 'as sampled'. You compare one hay to another by DM. So we need DM.
      Yes it is high in WSC. Average is around 12% dm.
      Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


      • #4
        Yep, that's pretty high. For my sugar-sensitive/foundered mare, I like to keep it under 10%. Around me, that's usually a first cut mixed grass hay, although one of my batches of second cut (cut normally, and early) came in at around 12%, which I could probably sneak by with.

        Some of my roughest-looking hay came in at almost 20% if I'm remembering correctly, so it goes to show that you can't go by looks when feeding for a particular reason...


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the replies.

          The figures under the Dry Matter column are:

          Crude Protein - 8.6%
          WSC - 17.9%
          ESC - 8.7%
          Starch - 1.1%
          Selenium - .17%

          So I guess I will be soaking this hay.... and will test before I buy the next batch. I have about 100 bales left of this stuff which will get me through the summer and will still be feeding out the soaked tim/alfalfa cubes (I suppose I should get those tested too?) Hopefully I can find something lower in sugar next Fall but I do think our weather is going to mean most hay is high in sugar around here. Possibly I can truck it in from an area with warmer climate.

          I've read your articles Katy Watts and will soak for half an hour. They are very informative - thank you!!


          • #6
            Originally posted by bucksnort View Post
            WSC - 17.9%

            I've read your articles Katy Watts and will soak for half an hour. They are very informative - thank you!!
            You are welcome.

            With numbers that high, I recommend soaking for a couple hours in at least 2:1 water: hay. The more water, the better.

            18% is enough to trigger laminitis in an IR horse, or pork out a normal horse. Seen it too many times.
            Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


            • Original Poster

              Thanks Katty. One more question if you don't mind. Do you have an opinion on Crested Wheat hay? My friend has some that is low in sugar but I'm not familiar with that type of hay. I've googled and I see it's fescue hay and people do feed it to horses, but was wondering if you have an opinion on it since you are an expert in the field (no pun intended...ha)



              • #8
                While its more about growing conditions than species, several types of crested wheatgrass landed in the upper 1/4 out of 24 species for seasonal average NSC levels. See chart here:

                Its not fescue tho. Different genus.
                Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                • Original Poster

                  Just found a hay guy with a batch of orchard grass he said was tested at 5.5% WSC and 4.5% ESC. Happy dance!!!! Sounds almost too good to be true but will pick some up and have it tested myself. Would be amazing if it actually is!!


                  • #10
                    I missed this the first go round, but had wanted to suggest that you keep looking, someone in my barn (with an IR horse) has been bringing in low sugar hay from Alberta, so it's definitely available.
                    That said, it does run the gamut from gorgeous to really, that's hay ... if you think 18% is high, try 40


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alto View Post
                      if you think 18% is high, try 40
                      Really? WSC? What lab? The highest I ever tested was 34% dm WSC tested at Dairy One. It was oat hay planted late, repeatedly frozen and cut in early Oct during a period with constant sunshine at high altitude. Sun really intense here. The farmer likes high sugar hay for his cows, and he says if he harvests it after it is freezing every night, it won't mold. Does make sense.

                      The manager of the DO lab said the samples I send in, as well as oat hay/chaff grown in winter in Australia are some of the highest he's seen.
                      Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org