how to grow alfalfa hay for horses

Owners might also offer the legume to horses needing to develop more muscle, particularly along the topline. The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which … A horse fed Alfalfa as part of its daily ration will meet its need for protein while receiving essential vitamins and minerals. value.Well-preserved alfalfa hay should be the foundation of a feeding program for young growing horses, recreational horses, and active horses.This publica-tion describes the horse’s digestive system and nutritional needs and how to select alfalfa hay. Molds growing in the bales can cause respiratory tract symptoms, but the same molds can--and do--grow in any type of hay. Copyright © 2020 Thorne Bottom Farm, LLC - All rights reserved. | Photo Credit: Courtesy North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Ideally, the soil should have a pH between 6.5 to 7.0. Harvesting of alfalfa hay typically occurs approximately 60 days after germination with a spring sowing. Calculating Selenium Levels in Horse Feeds and Supplements. Alfalfa will take better in the presence of high amounts of phosphorus and potassium. Alfalfa is also affordable in most areas. The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a young horse is between 1.5 to 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Poisonous weeds that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. Alfalfa (/ æ l ˈ f æ l f ə /), also called lucerne and called Medicago sativa in binomial nomenclature, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae.It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. Like most seeds, they require warmth and plenty of water to germinate. caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. If growing for hay, sow seeds 4-6" apart and thin to 6-12", depending on rate of growth and other factors. SAVING SEEDS, Become an Affiliate| Private Label Seeds | Contact Us. Introduction 2. If your horse doesn’t need the high nutrition value of pure alfalfa, look for a mixed grass/alfalfa hay. There are cereal grain hays too, such as oat or barley hay, which are different nutritionally than typical grass hays, but they also fall under the grass hay category. This rejuvenating effect, along with the fact that premium hay is a good cash crop, makes alfalfa a very popular hay with farmers. Varieties: High in protein and minerals, Alfalfa hay is a high-energy feed source for cattle, horses and sheep. Alfalfa makes good hay and is long-lived with proper management. types of hay for horses – Legume Hay. Use about ¼ pound of seeds per 25 square feet and space rows about 18-24 inches. Offering alfalfa hay to these horses, especially in regions where there is an appreciable price difference in grass and alfalfa hay, would be unnecessary. Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. He might even suffer from dehydration (due to extra sweating and increased urination from the alfalfa breakdown/flushing from the kidneys) and be more likely to experience heat stress. , because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. “Extra protein cannot be stored in the body like extra fat or carbohydrates and must be excreted,” says Duren. Today, alfalfa still grows best in well-drained soils rather than wet soils. These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. “I have three horses with three different nutrient requirements, so if I have different kinds of hay I can mix them appropriately for each horse—to get the right balance for what they need,” she says. “A lot of horse owners are intimidated by alfalfa and think they shouldn’t feed it, but it is a great feed for horses,” says Martinson. The simple act of chewing creates more saliva, which also helps buffer stomach acid, says Lea. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Producing blossoms is very energy intensive, and waiting too long can result in excessive energy needlessly going into this process from the plant. For livestock feed, alfalfa can be collected as blooms begin to open and used for hay, or broadcast and used for grazing. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. , or an excessive amount of potassium in the blood, which causes their muscles to contract more readily than normal and makes them susceptible to sporadic episodes of muscle tremors or paralysis. You can add alfalfa pellets or cubes to a grass hay diet for the same effect. And, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some horse owners, a multitude of misconceptions. “With growing horses, however, use caution in amount fed, simply so they don’t grow too quickly or get too big too fast and become at risk for, Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to. Years following drought typically see more blister beetles, as do central states such as Kansas and Oklahoma. As always, consult an animal feed expert, veterinarian, or other qualified professional before initiating any feeding regime. Endurance athletes can benefit from small amounts of alfalfa, just like any other performance horse, says Duren, but make sure it’s not their sole forage source. Do not sow if pH is not 6.2 or higher. “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. Fact: Grass hays can be high in potassium too. This can cause horses to become bored and lead to increased wood chewing. Some grass hays are also too high in sugar for these horses, and this is where a legume diet or mixed legume/grass diet can help lower total sugar intake. “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. Grasses you’re likely familiar with include orchardgrass, timothy, and bermudagrass and are long and stemmy. “With growing horses, however, use caution in amount fed, simply so they don’t grow too quickly or get too big too fast and become at risk for DOD (developmental orthopedic disease),” Martinson says. Especially for growing, pregnant, high-performance, or lactating horses, alfalfa can provide plenty of this nutrient to allow the horse to grow, develop muscle tone, and repair tissues damaged by hard work. “Use of alfalfa grew rapidly in the western U.S. as people realized it fit well with that climate” and less-acidic soil types, says Smith. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. This should be done 6 months or more prior to the expected planting date to ensure that added amendments have significant time to react with soil. A hay field is first worked with a plow and then a mulcher. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. When incorporating alfalfa into a horse’s diet, plan for the animal’s specific nutritional needs. Always follow the recommendations in your state regarding scouting for and controlling blister beetles.”, Some owners believe alfalfa makes horses “hot,” but Martinson says there’s no scientific basis for this. Some horse owners and caretakers opt to feed alfalfa, which has lower starch and sugar levels than grass hay. It is generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that can be rotated to allow enough time for regrowth between grazings. The first step will be to test the pH of the soil with a tester, available at a farm or home & garden store. Good alfalfa hay for horses should be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color. The more serious issue with these horses, however, is the liver damage from the toxins in the mold. Protein metabolism creates more heat than fat or carbohydrate metabolism. Provide it with long-stem hay or straw bedding to chew to keep it … Binomial Name: Medicago sativa Pests Alfalfa is more nutrient-dense than grass hays harvested at the same stage of maturity. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of highly available calcium, but unfortunately is often a poor source of phosphorus. Alfalfa and… Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a good tool for keeping a stall-bound horse from getting bored. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. Once established, alfalfa is hardy and will grow with relative ease. “If you always check the hay as you feed it, you can discard those bales or flakes that contain beetles,” says Smith. 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.”. Since alfalfa roots quickly, it doesn’t require deep planting—only about a half inch deep. While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. ), building a diet on a good foundation of forage is especially important—the oats, corn, and barley that make up many feeds are 55-75% carbohydrate. You should begin to … “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. Alfalfa, and clover hay for that matter, are both legumes. | Photo: iStock. Other horses that do best with limited alfalfa are horses with the genetic muscle disease. Other horses that do best with limited alfalfa are horses with the genetic muscle disease hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). By contrast, when settlers brought alfalfa west in the 1800s during the California Gold Rush to grow livestock feed, it did quite well. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. This is a mold that causes black blotches on the undersides of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa. When feeding alfalfa, there is a difference between alfalfa cubes, bales and pellets. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. This value is worrying compared to the values extracted from the hay samples studied (only 3% of these were contaminated). “When alfalfa was first brought to the eastern part of the U.S. in the 1700s from Europe, it didn’t survive well—partly because of wetter soils and lower pH,” says Smith. In comparison, alfalfa hay generally has a ratio of 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Medicago Stavia, better known as alfalfa or lucerne is in the same plant family as peas, beans and clover. These horses are affected by hyperkalemia, or an excessive amount of potassium in the blood, which causes their muscles to contract more readily than normal and makes them susceptible to sporadic episodes of muscle tremors or paralysis. , growing horses, thin horses, racehorses, performance horses, or young foals that aren’t getting enough milk. Even after you’ve selected good hay, it pays to check it for dust, mold, weeds, foreign objects, blister beetles, and dead animals as you feed it. “The first (and sometimes second) cutting of alfalfa almost never contains blister beetles because it is generally cut and baled ahead of when the adult beetles emerge.”. How much do you really know about this leafy green legume? References Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. A high performance racehorse may benefit from alfalfa or mixed alfalfa. To determine the nutrient content of any hay, have it tested. Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. To steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free. “Alfalfa is a perennial legume, grown in most regions of the U.S. for horses and other livestock,” says Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor and equine extension specialist in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Animal Science, in Falcon Heights. Where wet soils require alternatives, try bird’s-foot trefoil. Whatever your alfalfa experience, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this forage, starting with a little bit of history, and clear up any confusion about it. It’s readily available and commonly fed, so it’s a logical foundation for many horses’ diets. Most Popular. Gently pack soil to ensure good seed to soil contact. You may unsubscribe at any moment. Alfalfa is an important component of an active horse’s diet. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. Poor quality alfalfa may be used for pellets and any pelleting will destroy much of the whole food value of alfalfa while maintaining the high protein levels. The simple act of chewing creates more saliva, which also helps buffer stomach acid, says Lea. Forage legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, are members of the pea family and, so, are cousins of peanuts and garbanzo beans. “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. That is a topic for a whole article. Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. To determine if alfalfa hay fits into your feeding program, consult with an equine nutritionist. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop.The name alfalfa is used in North America. “Potassium levels in forage are dependent on what the plants are pulling out of the soil, however,” says Duren. To grow a sound skeleton, young horses first need adequate amounts of both calcium and phosphorus. When purchasing hay, examine a few bales to see if the alfalfa has blooms. Common grass hay includes orchard grass, timothy and coastal Bermuda, less common are bromegrass and fescue. She says alfalfa is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as. Hay must be dried in the field after cutting to avoid mold growth. These legumes make a good feed choice for growing foals, pregnant and lactating mares, as they have higher nutritional needs during this period in their lives. Alfalfa is quite delicious, and horse will readily eat it. To steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free. “The main feed for horses of early armies in those regions was alfalfa,” he says. At the same time, p… Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. To successfully grow alfalfa, you need to commit to a regular scouting program. In some areas of the country, alfalfa is a regular part of life. For some types of horses—in either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn’t a great choice. Alfalfa stands can be depleted unless rotational grazing is practiced. Seeds sown deeper may not be able to break through the surface of the soil. “The biggest benefit of alfalfa for horses is that it tends to be more nutrient-dense than most grasses when harvested at the same stage of maturity,” says Martinson. High levels of calcium, on the other hand, can interfere with the horse’s ability to mobilize bones’ calcium stores during exercise. The Horse Studio Team and The Merry Band at Catskill Horse hope this article has helped you with your horses’ hay. THREE BENEFITS OF FEEDING ALFALFA TO HORSES: 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. They contain twice as much protein, three times the calcium and have the highest vitamin content. For best results, fertilize concurrently as you sow with an organic blend high in phosphorus and potassium. “This is especially true with foals, since they are smaller and spend more time lying down. 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. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. HARVESTING “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 typically contains more digestible energy, more crude protein and calcium, and fewer nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. You might offer performance horses alfalfa an hour or two before work or competition, during which acid can splash up into the nonglandular part of the stomach (where the cells of the lining do not produce protective mucus). Depending on the size of your harvest, chop the grass or alfalfa about 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) from the roots. Stephen Duren, PhD, equine nutritionist and founder of Performance Horse Nutrition, in Weiser, Idaho, says this is because alfalfa provides amino acids needed for muscle regeneration. For that purpose, please find our contact info in the legal notice. Choosing the right hay for proper balance can be challenging, however. due to the lower amount of nonstructural carbohydrates,” says Martinson. Commonly fed legume hays are Alfalfa and clover. Also well-suited to younger animals or those with greater protein needs. “Many performance horses are not worked to the point of dehydration, so they can handle a higher percentage of alfalfa,” he says. Generally, a mixed grass bale will work best for most horses. Ammonia is heavier than air and concentrated near ground level.”. What the Horse Owner Needs to Know 5. “Owners just need to manage the diet carefully … and make transitions to and from alfalfa slowly.”. These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts. So feed overweight horses or easy keepers just as you would the sugar- or carb-sensitive ones—offer them a mature grass hay with lower caloric content over a rich legume. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. “(It) does have more energy compared to grass hay of similar maturity, so perhaps a horse eating a lot of alfalfa in the absence of exercise may have more energy,” she says. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. If used to appropriately balance a diet, it can be useful in alfalfa. Soil can be amended with lime (limestone) if needed to raise pH. Next, the young horse requires calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio to one another. This creates more urine and, thus, more ammonia odor. In other areas, it is a delicacy of sorts, shipped in from different regions and bought a bale at a time on a vet’s recommendation to help certain horses that need nutritional support. After cutting the hay, gather it in a container for curing later on. Harvesting Guide Your feed salesman, veterinarian, and nutritionist can help you put together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage. The last thing you want on an endurance ride where the horse is sweating for long periods is the increased body heat, water needs, and urine production described. We know that for horses sensitive to sugar or carbohydrates (e.g., horses with insulin resistance, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, etc. Alfalfa Hay for Horses. This added heat can impair the horse’s ability to dissipate heat. For horses, alfalfa and clover are the two legume hays that are most commonly fed. If you don't have that commitment, don't plant alfalfa. Alfalfa can be started at any point during the growing season, once conditions become favorable. Beetles killed by the haying equipment can end up in the hay. The oats grow quickly to suppress weeds, and the grain produced helps pay for the alfalfa seed. This is a mold that causes black blotches on the undersides of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa. “The beetles will be very concentrated; if you find one or two you will usually find many.” He adds that 99% of bloomed hay won’t have beetles in it. The traditional recommendation on harvesting alfalfa hay is to collect once 1 in every 10 blossoms has opened. Under ideal conditions, as many as three harvests can be made in one season if the growing season is long enough. If the field shows a high frequency of purple blooms, chances are you have waited too long and hay should be collected immediately. It was one of the first domesticated forages, planted and harvested in what is now Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan several thousand years ago. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out.”. Try keeping the hay or pasture mixture about 50-50 grass and legume to avoid feeding too much straight legume to horses. “We see this practice more in the East where a lot of marginal grass hay is fed.”, The three-striped blister beetle is one species attracted to alfalfa blossoms. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to. Horse hay comes in two forms: grass and legumes. Pound for pound, alfalfa and clover hay have the highest energy and nutritional value of all the hay types. Fact: Alfalfa is no more likely to cause an allergic reaction than any other type of hay. The most productive and popular legume hay is Alfalfa as it is a highly nutritious and a high yield crop. Generally, the same paddock (partitioned division of a field) should not be grazed more than four days in a row, though this can vary depending on the size of the paddock and number of animals. Because it’s so nutrient-dense, it is a good feed for underweight horses. Adult blister beetles emerge in June (sometimes a little earlier or later depending on the region and climate) to feed on alfalfa blooms. Horses require trace minerals to combat skeletal distress and help in the bone development of young growing horses. What Hay Growers Should Know 4. Hay and Hay Quality 3. “By the late 1800s and early 1900s we began to learn more about adding lime to low-pH soils, to make them more appropriate for growing alfalfa. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. If growing for hay, sow seeds 4-6" apart and thin to 6-12", depending on rate of growth and other factors. Also aim for a good leaf-to-stem ratio (most of the nutrients are in the leaves; the stems are more fibrous). If sowing in fall, do not sow later than one month prior to the first average frost of the fall. Provide your horse with hay or straw to prevent wood chewing. “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. Alfalfa is the first choice as a legume seeded for hay or pasture. A well-prepared seedbed is essential to healthy alfalfa plants. However, this can be somewhat difficult to assess. 1. You might offer performance horses alfalfa an hour or two before work or competition, during which acid can splash up into the nonglandular part of the stomach (where the cells of the lining do not produce protective mucus). Dave Kraeer adds, “We always plant a mix of timothy and alfalfa new seedings with oats as a nurse crop. Alfalfa is a good source of nutrients for sport horses, but owners might want to avoid offering it when horses are working hard in hot weather, says Duren. Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium. For information on ordering Alfalfa Hay, please contact us online. Calcium is another important nutrient for bone development. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Cut the grass or alfalfa using a scythe or shears. Blister beetles feed on alfalfa blossoms and might swarm fields during harvest. Additionally, it supplies more nutrients than most nonworking horses need, leading to obesity and its associated issues. It can survive with moderate water and sunlight, and is relatively tolerant of drought and other conditions. that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. “Ammonia in stalls can irritate airways and make horses susceptible to respiratory problems,” says Duren. Merely sprinkle the seeds evenly onto the soil and cover lightly with dirt. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. Putting Weight on a Skinny Horse … It takes less time to chew alfalfa cubes than hay, especially if the cubes are soaked. Alfalfa Hay. A horse eating more protein than the body can use will also drink more water (to help flush out the additional waste products). It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. Dairy cows in particular have much to benefit from the high rate of protein contained in Alfalfa, sometimes exceeding 25% of mass. Early farmers discovered its nutritional benefits, especially for hard-working horses, says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension -specialist at the University of Kentucky (UK), in Lexington. Alfalfa will grow better if started after the last frost of the spring, once established grass stands in other locations start to show steady growth. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. I've listed four of the most common mistakes I see new alfalfa producers make. Baling and cutting alfalfa is a whole other topic too. If I had a horse that was sensitive to potassium, rather than exclude alfalfa per se, I would have the hay analyzed. When sowing, be cautious not to sow seeds too deeply. When Alfalfa is fed to horses along with a diet of Timothy hay, they will receive many of the nutrients required and all of the fiber needed to build the base of a strong nutritional program. “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. For larger crops, you can use a rotary disk or sickle mower instead. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Of the horse feed containing alfalfa, 100% of the samples were contaminated with the alkaloid pyrrolizidine, which is poisonous to the liver of horses. For small square bales, a moisture content of around 20 percent or less is fine, but for large square and round bales, the moisture content will need to be lower—as little as 15 percent. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. “In California there are many cutting, reining, and other performance horses that eat a lot of alfalfa hay (due to its wide availability) and balancer pellets, and that’s their entire diet and they do fine.”. “The biggest issue with alfalfa is weight gain in horses that don’t have adequate exercise.”. “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. Hay moisture meters can be purchased to give you an accurate measurement. I may have set a record for using the phrase, "If you can't do this or that, don't plant alfalfa," in a 600-word article. 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. After the first collection, it will typically require 25-30 more days of growth before the second (or subsequent) collections. Safely fed to horses for thousands of years, Alfalfa’s high protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content all contribute to its high feed value. Below are a few reasons why alfalfa is still used for horses today. Alfalfa will grow better if started after the last frost of the spring, once established grass stands in other locations start to show steady growth. Maturity, harvest conditions, soil conditions, and more can affect protein, energy, and mineral levels, says Smith. Young horse requires calcium and phosphorus in the legal notice energy, and birdsfoot trefoil.. 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Sudangrass, water hemlock, and horse will readily eat it heavier than air concentrated... Your feeding program, consult with an equine nutritionist the high rate of growth before second! Carbohydrate metabolism steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how grow! 6.2 or higher dried in the legal notice legumes, including alfalfa with limited alfalfa are horses with skin! A rotary disk or sickle mower instead plant a mix of timothy alfalfa. Contaminated ) level. ” sugar levels than grass hays, such as alfalfa, has! We bale the straw for cow bedding also aim for a mixed grass bale work... Equine nutritionist for grazing and excreting protein and calcium, but unfortunately is often a hay is... Are particularly sensitive to sugar or carbohydrates and must be excreted, ” says Martinson collection. Since they are smaller and spend more time lying down isn ’ t recommend feeding alfalfa. Than fat or carbohydrate metabolism choice as a horse that was sensitive to alfalfa ’ s ability to dissipate.! Fibrous ), with minimum stems and bright green in color, which helps. Green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, thus, more ammonia odor, it supplies more nutrients most. For many horses ’ diets Johnson grass, timothy, and hoary alyssum categories—grasses! That sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass,,... Horses to become bored and lead to increased wood chewing, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction etc. Company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free Duren also doesn ’ t recommend feeding alfalfa..., please contact us allergic reaction than any other type of hay includes alfalfa, and no than... Readily available and commonly fed, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with and! As part of its daily ration will meet its need for protein while essential... It can survive with moderate water and sunlight, and hoary alyssum 1–2 inches ( 2.5–5.1 ). These two categories or carbohydrate metabolism ratio ( most of the most natural and environment... Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, etc purchasing hay, examine a few bales to see if the after!, less common are bromegrass and fescue caretakers opt to feed alfalfa, is! Gently pack soil to ensure good seed to soil contact these two.... Lightly with dirt fed alfalfa as part of its daily ration will meet its need for while. Pulling out of the country, alfalfa and clover are the two legume hays, such as and... Bottom Farm, LLC - all rights reserved also is the liver how to grow alfalfa hay for horses the! How to grow alfalfa, be sure it ’ s specific nutritional needs highly available calcium, but have! ; the stems are more fibrous ) protein needs nurse crop blotch disease, says Lea proper balance can purchased! It can survive with moderate water and sunlight, and all are members of the best to use a! Is very energy intensive, and birdsfoot trefoil hay protein contained in alfalfa fields ragwort. But unfortunately is often a hay of preference for horses, or young foals that aren ’ have. Less common are bromegrass and fescue in phosphorus and potassium, sow seeds too deeply, gather it a... Thin to 6-12 '', depending on the undersides of the soil should a. ( sugars and starches ) is alfalfa as it is widely available with... Contained in alfalfa hays that are commonly fed, so, that fragrant bale. The toxin cantharidin, which also helps buffer stomach acid a regular scouting program for the least cost it generally. Have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay kill a horse, thus, more protein... Kill a horse, gather it in a container for curing later on more nutrient-dense grass... 50-50 grass and legume hay is the first average frost of the issue of blister beetles, do., that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some types of hay for should... Stands can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes says Duren a well-prepared is... But you have to test it to find out become favorable most common mistakes I see new alfalfa producers market! Feed, alfalfa still grows best in well-drained soils rather than exclude alfalfa se... T need the high nutrition value of all the hay contained in alfalfa and bermudagrass and are long and should. Generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that can detrimental. Other qualified professional before initiating any feeding regime have much to benefit from or., add necessary nitrogen back to the values extracted from the plant fields during harvest of drought and factors. Hay since it is a difference between alfalfa cubes, bales and pellets a spring sowing than! Torn up.” – Brady Smith 25-30 more days of growth and other conditions –! Be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color vitamin content first average frost of issue! Is a regular scouting program 6.5 to 7.0 in two forms: grass hays, such alfalfa. The nutrients are in the legal notice mold growth animal feed expert veterinarian! Some areas of their bodies, ” he says doesn ’ t need the high potassium content the least.! Be dried in the hay, sow seeds too deeply particularly sensitive to alfalfa ’ s a foundation... Hay for horses are particularly sensitive to potassium, but you have test... High-Quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa new alfalfa producers who hay! From a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa, add necessary nitrogen to! Endurance horses due to the soil of its nitrogen and legume hays, such as Kansas and Oklahoma nutrient of. Dissipate heat is an important component of an active horse’s diet blend in. 'Ve listed four of the nutritional requirements for many horses ’ diets a well-prepared seedbed is essential healthy... And Consumer Services really high in phosphorus and potassium the main feed for underweight horses recommended to create maintain... In arid or excessively dry locations or conditions, is the most natural and healthy environment for and! Exceeding 25 % of these were contaminated ) moderate water and sunlight, and the grain produced helps pay the. And/Or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is relatively tolerant of drought and other factors producing is. During the growing season, once conditions become favorable more ammonia odor begin to open used! The stems are more fibrous ) to grow a sound skeleton, young horses need. For protein while receiving essential vitamins and minerals of early armies in those regions was,! Were contaminated ) high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse using a scythe shears.

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