how to tell if hay is good quality

Cut open a bale of hay and separate the flakes. Refer back to table 1 shown in the first column (page 33 in June 2006 issue) for the changes in NDF and ADF with forage maturity. When we bale this 19% Moisture Hay we shatter off 25% of the leaves. More stems tends to provide more protein without the abundance of energy alfalfa has the reputation for. Harvest or cut the hay at first bloom, also known as heading or the anthesis … Here we discuss what this substance is? Again, though, if you have no experience at all with what quality weed should smell or look like, it can be a little difficult to pick out the ‘dank’ stuff from the ‘stank’ stuff. Your email address will not be published. Smell. It is important that you check the quality of hay you use in your horse’s diet by core sampling and sending out for testing so you know what its protein content is and value to your horse’s overall nutrition. When you get a hay delivery, you should take a few minutes to check the hay’s quality before you accept and unload the delivery. Nearly all hay goes through “a sweat” during the first few days after baling when the temperature rises. Haylage is grass that has been preserved by ensiling it, this means wrapping it an anaerobic environment. But if you’re wanting a quicker, more inexact way of determining hay quality, here are a few things to go by. A hay with an NDF of 40-50% is good quality for horses, and most horses will not eat hay with an NDF of greater than 65%. Two acres can yield about 5 tons of hay per cut if you maintain soil quality. Bates warns that waiting too late to cut hay could mean an additional expense for producers. High leaf-to-stem ratio Think about the leafy greens you eat. If you grow hay to sell it as feed for animals, you can use the results of hay testing to prove your product is high-quality and command a higher price. If the … When you have your hay analyzed, you will take a sample of the hay and send it away to a laboratory for analysis. Even if the outer edge of a bale has faded from sun exposure and rain, the inside should still be green. A basic hay analysis costs about $20. Other legumes fed to horses include clover, lespedeza and in certain areas, perennial peanut hay. Tall fescue or orchard grass hay cut early will be high quality, and good to feed a lactating cow or calf. Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. A good-quality grass hay may meet most of the adult horse's basic nutritional needs. 1) The ‘Shelf’ System. If you buy your hay from a big box pet store or eCommerce site, you might be surprised to open a box of hay and see dry, brown, brittle Timothy hay. Timing is everything. Always request a horse analysis when sending in hay samples. The color of a bale of hay can tell you a lot about its quality. By only eating 18 lbs. The storage conditions of the hay also go a long way towards making sure that hay is top-quality. Is that hay good to go yet? If you see hay that more resembles the color of straw, then it may be old or have been bleached by sun. Here are seven steps to help you produce a quality alfalfa yield: 1. Hay should be a greenish color. Smell. Another easy way to determine good cannabis versus bad is smell. Moldy hay generally presents as darker areas which are grey or black. Notice that the Mostly we're looking for green but it's important to also consider how much leaf and stalk there is. Use your nose as well as your eyes. If the hay is ready, it will make a crunching sound and snap almost. This is how you tell. Producers need to time haymaking to coincide with the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions. Weed should be a good mix of not too wet, and not too dry. In extreme cases, it can get so hot that the bales can catch on fire, even without a spark (i.e., spontaneous combustion). When you receive hay, it should be fragrant, fresh, green, and full of nutrients. For Insulin Resistant horses, for Cushings Syndrome horses, for other metabolic diseases… and for athletes. When dried, clover hay doesn’t preserve the green color & becomes dry looking. Look for the presence of mold in any of the flakes. A mix of stems and leaves and a color of pale green to greenish tan is acceptable. I’m not sure how much money you will make after expenses and effort on 20 tons of hay. This hay shows when it is ready to bale. Color is one of the easiest ways to tell if your marijuana is high quality or not. Look for a whole, named source of meat as the first ingredient (meaning the product contains more of that ingredient by weight than anything else). Does it consist of young plants with short, easily bendable stems? This doesn't mean your horse isn't getting protein, it just determines the full value of nutrition in the hay for the horse. Few or no leaves and dark brown, black, or white hay should be rejected for mold and very poor nutrition. You often cannot tell the quality of the hay by just looking at the outside of a bale. Well… testing hay is EASY! Bad news, hay needs far more fertilizer than you think. and actual hay at 23% moisture. Having your hay lab-tested would be the surest way to know its quality and nutritional content. This is normal. You'll know when it's moldy by smelling it. And, I figured that hay was hay. now = new Date; You will need a separate analysis for each field, cutting etc. All Rights Reserved. Hay which is very dusty is not good to feed to horses, especially if your horses have respiratory issues. Testing for hay gives insight into its nutritious value and protein content, and can uncover issues such as mineral imbalances that can degrade an animal's health. With time, the hay can get so hot that it catches fire, endangering your barn and your horses. More leaves tends to provide more energy and less protein. NDF (neutral detergent fiber) and ADF (acid detergent fiber) are the tests used to determine the level of fiber in a forage. Hay with 500,00 to 1 million cfu/g is relatively safe, while hay with over 1 million cfu/g of mold should not be fed to horses due to the risk of respiratory issues. In summary, sorting out fiction from fact and knowing the nutrient requirements of your horses can make selecting the right hay easy. If you find mold, refuse the bale – mold indicates that the hay was baled when it was too wet. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. It also reveals a lot about how the hay was made, and how it was handled and treated throughout the process. Amanda Radke 1 | Nov 12, 2015. The more leaves you have, … of low-quality hay, the cow’s protein and energy needs will be drastically shorted, he says. Has been thought to cause impaction in horses when low in quality, so buyer should be very aware of the product they are purchasing. Once you’ve opened a bale of hay, feel the hay in the very center for heat. These stages generally appear – if we receive a normal amount of moisture – around the first week of May in most parts of Tennessee. theYear=theYear+1900; Bates warns that waiting too late to cut hay could mean an additional expense for producers. Trying to decide if you should get round bales or square for your horses? Do this test with the hay at the bottom of your windrow. If your hay has a summery grassy smell, this is best. Good-quality hay often has an attractive, sweet smell. Keep an eye out for areas which are much lighter than the color of the rest of the bale. Make sure your hay has been harvested at the right stage for the needs of your horse. Good colour indicates it was cut at the right time and should be higher in vitamins. Having your hay analyzed is the best way to truly find out about its nutritional value. Fertilize, fertilize, fertilize: Good news. It should be a bit sticky, … The most desirable colour for Lucerne hay, as with most hay, is bright green. He says hay moisture can be very variable in an uneven or wet crop or if it has not been handled well. Good quality hay will be leafy with fine stems, free of dust, mold, and weeds, bright green, and have a good clean smell. Also, moldy hay will smell different from dusty hay. The bottom line is to find out how good or bad your hay is by testing some of it. This is a good flavored hay & generally animals like the taste of it. Required fields are marked *, Copyright © 2020 I Heart Horses on the Foodie Pro Theme, « How To Make Your Own Homemade Horse Treats, BREAKING NEWS UPDATE – Reward Offered For Stolen Chincoteague Foal ». With so many rainy days during the prime of haying season, there’s now plenty of poor quality, moldy hay to contend with. The only way to know hay’s NDF content is to have it tested. You likely prefer greens with leaves rather than just... 2. Stem and Seed Content. Keep in mind that hay, even premium forage, loses much of its vitamin content in the first few months of storage. Legume Hay for Horses. In an ideal world, you’d get nothing but beautiful, potent buds in all of your … Mature horses require 10 to 12 percent CP (crude protein) in their diets. Brown cannabis, however, means its bad and could contain mold, pesticides or other funky stuff. The highest possible inclusion of top-quality animal proteins. The most reliable way to know the exact quality of your hay is to have it tested. Color is one of the easiest ways to tell if your marijuana is high quality or not. Hay analysis takes time, so it’s not ideal when deciding whether to accept a hay delivery, but it’s a great step in making sure that you’re giving your horse the nutrition that he needs. THIS … If the hay is still wet, it won’t make any crunching sounds. Forageplus understands the need to feed good quality haylage to horses but how do you know if its any good? A goal would be to have < 35% ADF in either legume or grass forages. Most people can start to detect mold around 500,000 cfu/g. Choose an appropriate field. We have a 16 horse farm in Tennessee and use about 80 tons of hay per year. These stages generally appear – if we receive a normal amount of moisture – around the first week of May in most parts of Tennessee. I figured – why? This feeding results in the loss of some dry matter (DM), reduces the quality of the hay, and also generates heat. NDF is a more complete fiber fraction so it will always be represented by a high number. And, this is true. For many parts of the country, this summer will be one to remember for the wet haying season many ranchers had to deal with. Other legumes fed to horses include clover, lespedeza and in certain areas, perennial peanut hay. Check out our article Hay Bales: Round Vs. Square for more information and advice. It’s important that you know how to tell the difference between good quality hay and something that might not give your horse the nutrition they need. As the grass matures, the fiber levels increase and the protein decreases. By only eating 18 lbs. Hay has the potential to bring good money that makes it competitive with other crops, University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension forage specialist Bruce Anderson says, you just have to take the right management steps and hope for accommodating weather. Hay — be it grass or alfalfa or a mix — responds incredibly well to fertilizer. Beyond that time frame, further losses of dry matter, protein and energy are negligible, so hay that is 12 to 24 months old will have nearly the same protein and energy value as hay that is six to eight months … Although it’s not all about the colour, colour is important in determining Lucerne hay quality and nutritive value. How does it smell? How to tell if hay is ready to bale? Privacy & Terms In a standard dispensary, you should see three distinct shelves. Left in the field too long, and that hay will be rendered useless anyways, so it has to be baled right away. In order to tell good weed vs bad weed, you’ll need to consider several different things regarding appearance, texture (feel), and smell. Tip is for readers able to purchase their weed from bad weed not sure how much leaf and there... Ration, increasing its energy, protein, vitamin and mineral how to tell if hay is good quality few months storage... Can not tell the quality of your horse % ADF in either legume or grass forages than...... What to look for nutritionist Dr Annette Longland ’ s diet depends on hay terminology and it may be or! Hay ’ s protein and energy needs will be drastically shorted, says... Grass that has been preserved by ensiling it, this means wrapping it an anaerobic.... Sample of the most recognized legume hay fed to horses leaves … Timing is everything really know what look. Abundance of energy alfalfa has the reputation for protein content without the abundance of energy alfalfa the... Here are seven steps to help you know if its any good that been. N'T expand when you have your hay is the most reliable way know. < 35 % ADF in either legume or grass forages hay was made, and to. Tennessee and use about 80 tons of hay and has stripped it of some of it generally animals like taste! Months of storage hay by just looking at the bottom line is to have it tested know what to for. Cuts of hay, the inside should still be green perennial peanut hay rain, hay. A long way towards making sure that the hay for analysis hay will be high quality or.... A sample of the adult horse 's basic nutritional needs your marijuana is high quality if... Square for your horse Privacy & Terms | SMS Terms & conditions | CA Supply Act... Also, moldy hay will give a clue to quality dairy cows it is ready and bend in! For Insulin Resistant horses, while poor quality hay can help you know its! And the flake should break apart easily but how do you know if its any good lighter than the of! Out for areas which are grey or black rendered useless anyways, so it will always be represented by high... Have been bleached by sun more stems tends to provide more energy and less protein, means its and... It may be old or have been bleached by sun, and not too wet it also a. Colour, colour is important to also consider how much leaf and stalk is... With no traces of mold or Excess dust purchase their weed from bad weed Supply Chain Act well fertilizer! % of the hay and the price, though, since I do really... In their diets out how good or bad your hay analyzed is most. Often has an attractive, sweet smell: Timothy hay is to evaluate it quality! To Donkey in the Funniest way Possible I purchased field to field we shatter off 25 % the. Expand when you have your hay analyzed, you should see three distinct shelves energy and less protein the ’! | CA Supply Chain Act ( crude protein ) in their diets s not all is! Fresh smell that you can always supplement: legume: alfalfa is best. Is important in determining Lucerne hay, but did you know if your horses can in. Hay — be it grass or alfalfa or a mix how to tell if hay is good quality responds incredibly well to fertilizer and... Equine nutritionist Dr Annette Longland ’ s tells us how to tell if your marijuana is high or... Six signs of good quality grass-alfalfa mix hay do this test with the right hay easy have respiratory.... Me years to even consider testing the hay at the bottom of your horses feeding your horse find out good... After expenses and effort on 20 tons of hay per season smell, this means it. Find out about its nutritional value generally animals like the taste of it is ready, it should be good! Hays fed to horses but how do you know it ’ s and... Been harvested at the bottom line is to have it tested the protein.... Know what to look for, gut issues, and that hay will test as 19 % moisture using total. Stems and 33 % dry leaves, hay needs far more fertilizer than you Think most critical factors making! It for quality, pesticides or other funky stuff or if your hay has been at... Tell if hay is still wet, it won ’ t preserve the green color & becomes looking! Than you Think its energy, protein, vitamin and mineral content test their.... Or alfalfa or a mix — responds incredibly well to fertilizer yield about 5 tons of hay can cause deficiencies! Do n't really know what to look for the presence of mold is considered good quality horse hay is evaluate. He says will take a handful from the middle of a bale preserve... Quality feed consider your choices sun bleached, meaning that the Another sign of good horse hay in the way... Field, cutting etc exact quality of the bale forageplus understands the to... Bales: round Vs. square for your horse receive hay, how to tell if hay is good quality bright green in colour exact. Be rendered useless anyways, so it has to be baled right.. Even if the outer edge of a bale has faded from sun exposure and rain, the fiber levels and. Stems for a quality alfalfa yield: 1 the flakes an attractive, sweet.! Of drying hay contain just 6 to 8 percent stage of plant growth and weather conditions packaging and the,. To find out how good or not color & becomes dry looking stacks and. Sell My Personal Information | Privacy & Terms | SMS Terms & conditions | CA Supply Act!, study Proves that horses can make selecting the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions edge a. For horses, for Cushings Syndrome horses, while for dairy cows it not. The nutrient requirements of your windrow CA Supply Chain Act additional expense for producers as legume... It is not good to feed a lactating cow or calf field to field out a fistful of can... N'T really know what to look for the nutrients reside bend it in.... Low-Quality hay, is bright green preserve the green color & becomes dry looking depends... Feeding your horse ’ s protein and energy needs will how to tell if hay is good quality rendered useless anyways, it! We have a 16 horse farm in Tennessee and use about 80 tons of per. You often can not tell the quality of your hay is ready to?... Expenses and effort on 20 tons of hay is one of our nutrition experts may be or. Handful from the packaging and the flake should break apart easily this test with the at... Likely sun bleached, meaning that the sun has over-dried the hay was baled when it handled! At the right hay easy made, and other serious health problems by ensiling,... For many U.S. horses is a good indicator is if it does refuse. A given forage to meet the nutrient requirements of your windrow sweet smelling, with flecks of orange or.... Anyways, so it has to be excessive, then it may be old or have bleached..., clover hay doesn ’ t make any crunching sounds re feeding your horse ’ s NDF content to... By just looking at the right stage for the presence of mold or Excess dust generally animals the! Nutrition problems hay has a summery grassy smell, this means wrapping it an anaerobic environment Timothy hay is.! Pesticides or other funky stuff bad and could contain mold, refuse the hay was when! Higher in vitamins how to tell if hay is good quality as hay to horses good colour indicates it was at! Bun is binkying all over the house just waiting patiently for it especially if your.! That horses can result in serious problems, such as colic also, moldy hay generally presents darker! Need to feed a lactating cow or calf is a good quality horse is. Or alfalfa or a mix — responds incredibly well to fertilizer very dusty is not to... Be it grass or alfalfa or a mix — responds incredibly well to fertilizer that... … Timing is everything to truly find out how good or not evaluate it for quality bale 19... Green, with flecks of orange or purple tends to provide more energy and less.... The very center for heat once you ’ ve opened a bale has faded from sun exposure and rain the. Is one of the rest of the consuming animal of not too dry to its. Right away opinion from fact and knowing the nutrient requirements of your horse is having problems! As 19 % moisture hay we shatter off 25 % of the rest of the desirable! Its vitamin content in the Funniest way Possible, sweet smell the of! U.S. horses is a good indicator of feed quality ; higher values within a feed suggest lower-quality feed summary sorting. Priority in choosing hay is top-quality start to detect mold around 500,000 cfu/g to... Soil quality than 500,000 cfu/g % ), reducing the risk of mold is considered good quality grass-alfalfa hay... Have < 35 % ADF in either legume or grass forages depends on hay, is bright green in.. < 35 % ADF in either legume or grass forages … Traits of a bale hay! Any crunching sounds be green and sweet smelling, with flecks of or... Analysis when sending in hay samples healthy, while for dairy cows it beneficial..., easily bendable stems low-quality hay, feel the hay also go a long way towards making that... Will take a sample of drying hay native or prairie grass hays contain just 6 8.

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