This creates more urine and, thus, more ammonia odor. “Many performance horses are not worked to the point of dehydration, so they can handle a higher percentage of alfalfa,” he says. When grass is not available, hay may make up the largest part of a horse's diet. “Many horse owners buy bales of alfalfa and bales of grass hay and feed several flakes of grass hay and one flake of alfalfa” as needed, says Krista Lea, MS, forage extension specialist and research analyst at UK. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. “The biggest risk might be when someone buys hay from their neighbor who has just started in the hay business (or horse owners put up hay themselves) without looking in the fields at harvest time. It was one of the first domesticated forages, planted and harvested in what is now Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan several thousand years ago. Oxbow Alfalfa Hay is a high-fibre legume hay with the same long-strand fibre found in grass hays, but with more protein, energy and calcium. You can add alfalfa pellets or cubes to a grass hay diet for the same effect. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Kentucky Alfalfa Update at the 2020 UK Stored Forages Conference February 8, 2020 Liming for a Successful Soil pH January 2, 2020 Placing 12th at the 2019 World Forage Analysis Superbowl December 31, … For instance, a horse that’s overweight and insulin resistant needs a lower-sugar hay (the alfalfa), says Martinson, but not the additional calories, “So we often end up doing a mix where those horses receive some legume and search for a low-sugar grass hay to mix with it.”. Alfalfa is a high protein forage, so it makes an excellent supplement for horses that are protein deficient or for horses that have higher protein requirements such as senior horses or pregnant or lactating mares. First, cut hay also has a lower fat and protein content. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. 2-twine bales in 21 bale bundles. “If you always check the hay as you feed it, you can discard those bales or flakes that contain beetles,” says Smith. Your feed salesman, veterinarian, and nutritionist can help you put together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage. No one can really understand why so little lucerne is grown in the UK, when worldwide there is 13 million hectares cropped for forage. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. If I had a horse that was sensitive to potassium, rather than exclude alfalfa per se, I would have the hay analyzed. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. She says alfalfa is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as lactating broodmares, growing horses, thin horses, racehorses, performance horses, or young foals that aren’t getting enough milk. These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts. “It can also be beneficial to horses with muscle problems that are prone to tying-up (due to their increased protein needs) or horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) due to the lower amount of nonstructural carbohydrates,” says Martinson. Combining high-temperature dried grasses and alfalfa, Hi-Fi Senior has been formulated to be soft and easy to chew. “It should be a green color, meaning there are more leaves and the hay is not weathered or rained on before it was put up,” says Smith. The first cut of hay is the first hay harvested from a field for that year. Plant breeding was also beginning by the 1900s, and plant scientists were able to develop alfalfa plants that were better adapted to various soils in the U.S.” Modern plant breeding has also improved this legume’s disease resistance. “It can make a difference how and where the alfalfa was grown and whether it was fertilized with manure—which really drives the potassium levels higher. “These beetles tend to be more prevalent in late summer,” says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. 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