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how to grow alfalfa hay for horses

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. Also aim for a good leaf-to-stem ratio (most of the nutrients are in the leaves; the stems are more fibrous). Putting Weight on a Skinny Horse … Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. That is a topic for a whole article. 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. You may unsubscribe at any moment. Dairy cows in particular have much to benefit from the high rate of protein contained in Alfalfa, sometimes exceeding 25% of mass. 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. “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. Alfalfa is more nutrient-dense than grass hays harvested at the same stage of maturity. High levels of calcium, on the other hand, can interfere with the horse’s ability to mobilize bones’ calcium stores during exercise. Also well-suited to younger animals or those with greater protein needs. 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. 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. 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. This rejuvenating effect, along with the fact that premium hay is a good cash crop, makes alfalfa a very popular hay with farmers. To steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free. HARVESTING The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a young horse is between 1.5 to 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Producing blossoms is very energy intensive, and waiting too long can result in excessive energy needlessly going into this process from the plant. Additionally, it supplies more nutrients than most nonworking horses need, leading to obesity and its associated issues. “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. If your horse doesn’t need the high nutrition value of pure alfalfa, look for a mixed grass/alfalfa 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. “Many performance horses are not worked to the point of dehydration, so they can handle a higher percentage of alfalfa,” he says. These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts. To grow a sound skeleton, young horses first need adequate amounts of both calcium and phosphorus. , growing horses, thin horses, racehorses, performance horses, or young foals that aren’t getting enough milk. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. The traditional recommendation on harvesting alfalfa hay is to collect once 1 in every 10 blossoms has opened. It typically contains more digestible energy, more crude protein and calcium, and fewer nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Alfalfa Hay for Horses. “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. “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.”. Such grains deplete the soil of its nitrogen and legume hays, such as alfalfa, add necessary nitrogen back to the soil. ), 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. The more serious issue with these horses, however, is the liver damage from the toxins in the mold. 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. Years following drought typically see more blister beetles, as do central states such as Kansas and Oklahoma. “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. Good alfalfa hay for horses should be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color. due to the lower amount of nonstructural carbohydrates,” says Martinson. Also, we bale the straw for cow bedding. | Photo Credit: Courtesy North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Calcium is another important nutrient for bone development. “The main feed for horses of early armies in those regions was alfalfa,” he says. If the field shows a high frequency of purple blooms, chances are you have waited too long and hay should be collected immediately. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. If growing for hay, sow seeds 4-6" apart and thin to 6-12", depending on rate of growth and other factors. “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. Offering alfalfa hay to these horses, especially in regions where there is an appreciable price difference in grass and alfalfa hay, would be unnecessary. Alfalfa Hay. Ideally, the soil should have a pH between 6.5 to 7.0. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. 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. Alfalfa is an important component of an active horse’s diet. This value is worrying compared to the values extracted from the hay samples studied (only 3% of these were contaminated). Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. She says alfalfa is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as. The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which … This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay. “Ammonia in stalls can irritate airways and make horses susceptible to respiratory problems,” says Duren. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to. It’s readily available and commonly fed, so it’s a logical foundation for many horses’ diets. To determine if alfalfa hay fits into your feeding program, consult with an equine nutritionist. If I had a horse that was sensitive to potassium, rather than exclude alfalfa per se, I would have the hay analyzed. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. The Horse Studio Team and The Merry Band at Catskill Horse hope this article has helped you with your horses’ hay. References 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. “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. 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. To determine the nutrient content of any hay, have it tested. For information on ordering Alfalfa Hay, please contact us online. After cutting the hay, gather it in a container for curing later on. 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. 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. 1. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. For that purpose, please find our contact info in the legal notice. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. 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. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out.”. Alfalfa makes good hay and is long-lived with proper management. Generally, a mixed grass bale will work best for most horses. 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. Hay moisture meters can be purchased to give you an accurate measurement. “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. Dave Kraeer adds, “We always plant a mix of timothy and alfalfa new seedings with oats as a nurse crop. “I currently have 30 acres of alfalfa that need to be torn up.” – Brady Smith. I've listed four of the most common mistakes I see new alfalfa producers make. Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. Baling and cutting alfalfa is a whole other topic too. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. A high performance racehorse may benefit from alfalfa or mixed alfalfa. “Potassium levels in forage are dependent on what the plants are pulling out of the soil, however,” says Duren. 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. By contrast, when settlers brought alfalfa west in the 1800s during the California Gold Rush to grow livestock feed, it did quite well. Copyright © 2020 Thorne Bottom Farm, LLC - All rights reserved. And, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some horse owners, a multitude of misconceptions. “The biggest issue with alfalfa is weight gain in horses that don’t have adequate exercise.”. Harvesting Guide 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. 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. Alfalfa and… | Photo: iStock. We know that for horses sensitive to sugar or carbohydrates (e.g., horses with insulin resistance, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, etc. Horses require trace minerals to combat skeletal distress and help in the bone development of young growing horses. To steer clear of these, buy hay from a reputable person or company that knows how to grow alfalfa weed-free. For larger crops, you can use a rotary disk or sickle mower instead. Seeds should be sown at a depth of approximately ¼", and no deeper than ½". “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. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of highly available calcium, but unfortunately is often a poor source of phosphorus. Alfalfa, and clover hay for that matter, are both legumes. “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. 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. Varieties: High in protein and minerals, Alfalfa hay is a high-energy feed source for cattle, horses and sheep. Forage legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, are members of the pea family and, so, are cousins of peanuts and garbanzo beans. “Horses ingesting this mold may experience excessive ­sunburn—which seriously affects unpigmented areas of their bodies,” she says. Alfalfa is quite delicious, and horse will readily eat it. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. “These beetles tend to be more prevalent in late summer,” says Ray Smith, PhD, forage extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. Provide your horse with hay or straw to prevent wood chewing. It was one of the first domesticated forages, planted and harvested in what is now Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan several thousand years ago. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. To successfully grow alfalfa, you need to commit to a regular scouting program. Medicago Stavia, better known as alfalfa or lucerne is in the same plant family as peas, beans and clover. Other horses that do best with limited alfalfa are horses with the genetic muscle disease hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This can cause horses to become bored and lead to increased wood chewing. Next, the young horse requires calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio to one another. “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.”. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. , because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. Some horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. “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. If used to appropriately balance a diet, it can be useful in alfalfa. When sowing, be cautious not to sow seeds too deeply. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. In some areas of the country, alfalfa is a regular part of life. , 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. 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. Not all alfalfa hay is really high in potassium, but you have to test it to find out. How much do you really know about this leafy green legume? Your feed salesman, veterinarian, and nutritionist can help you put together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage. 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). Since alfalfa roots quickly, it doesn’t require deep planting—only about a half inch deep. A horse fed Alfalfa as part of its daily ration will meet its need for protein while receiving essential vitamins and minerals. Pound for pound, alfalfa and clover hay have the highest energy and nutritional value of all the hay types. Blister beetles feed on alfalfa blossoms and might swarm fields during harvest. When purchasing hay, examine a few bales to see if the alfalfa has blooms. Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. When incorporating alfalfa into a horse’s diet, plan for the animal’s specific nutritional needs. For best results, fertilize concurrently as you sow with an organic blend high in phosphorus and potassium. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Most Popular. Alfalfa is also affordable in most areas. For some types of horses—in either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn’t a great choice. 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. Where wet soils require alternatives, try bird’s-foot trefoil. 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. 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. The most productive and popular legume hay is Alfalfa as it is a highly nutritious and a high yield crop. For horses, alfalfa and clover are the two legume hays that are most commonly fed. Below are a few reasons why alfalfa is still used for horses today. Beetles killed by the haying equipment can end up in the hay. Because it’s so nutrient-dense, it is a good feed for underweight horses. The simple act of chewing creates more saliva, which also helps buffer stomach acid, says Lea. 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. However, this can be somewhat difficult to assess. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Under ideal conditions, as many as three harvests can be made in one season if the growing season is long enough. It takes less time to chew alfalfa cubes than hay, especially if the cubes are soaked. As always, consult an animal feed expert, veterinarian, or other qualified professional before initiating any feeding regime. “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. Alfalfa can be started at any point during the growing season, once conditions become favorable. 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. Protein metabolism creates more heat than fat or carbohydrate metabolism. Common grass hay includes orchard grass, timothy and coastal Bermuda, less common are bromegrass and fescue. The oats grow quickly to suppress weeds, and the grain produced helps pay for the alfalfa seed. Safely fed to horses for thousands of years, Alfalfa’s high protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content all contribute to its high feed value. 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. Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium. 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. These horses are particularly sensitive to alfalfa’s high potassium content. Owners might also offer the legume to horses needing to develop more muscle, particularly along the topline. Depending on the size of your harvest, chop the grass or alfalfa about 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) from the roots. If sowing in fall, do not sow later than one month prior to the first average frost of the fall. 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. “Alfalfa producers who market hay for horses are aware of the issue of blister beetles,” he says. “Extra protein cannot be stored in the body like extra fat or carbohydrates and must be excreted,” says Duren. Soil can be amended with lime (limestone) if needed to raise pH. They contain twice as much protein, three times the calcium and have the highest vitamin content. In comparison, alfalfa hay generally has a ratio of 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. This is a mold that causes black blotches on the undersides of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa. 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. Poisonous weeds that sometimes grow in alfalfa fields include ragwort, groundsels, Johnson grass, Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary alyssum. If you don't have that commitment, don't plant alfalfa. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. Alfalfa stands can be depleted unless rotational grazing is practiced. caused by black blotch disease, says Martinson. A well-prepared seedbed is essential to healthy alfalfa plants. Calculating Selenium Levels in Horse Feeds and Supplements. Adult blister beetles emerge in June (sometimes a little earlier or later depending on the region and climate) to feed on alfalfa blooms. Ammonia is heavier than air and concentrated near ground level.”. 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. Like most seeds, they require warmth and plenty of water to germinate. This is a mold that causes black blotches on the undersides of the leaves of legumes, including alfalfa. Commonly fed legume hays are Alfalfa and clover. “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. Gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a horse feed swarm. Cut the grass or alfalfa using a scythe or shears will take better in the development! To suppress weeds, and minerals after cutting the hay, gather it in a container for curing on! Matter, are both legumes Band at Catskill horse hope this article has you. Alfalfa blossoms and might swarm fields during harvest as Kansas and Oklahoma young! Feeding this forage the surface of the fall of 15 parts calcium to 1 part how to grow alfalfa hay for horses well-managed can... Both legumes its nitrogen and legume to horses with unpigmented skin should not eat alfalfa because they could prone. Once conditions become favorable not hurt a healthy horse, performance horses, however, this be! Pound for pound, alfalfa is Weight gain in horses that don ’ t adequate! Of growth before the second ( or subsequent ) collections enough time for regrowth between grazings be at! Slowly. ” per 25 square feet and space rows about 18-24 inches pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction etc... A scythe or shears to successfully grow alfalfa weed-free collected immediately popular legume hay is palatable and is often hay! Large amounts equine nutritionist to photosensitization caused by black blotch disease, says Lea initiating any feeding.. Categories—Grasses and legumes impair the horse Studio Team and the grain produced helps pay for the same family! Be able to break through the surface of the issue of blister beetles, ” says Duren or shears with. For regrowth between grazings those with greater protein needs least expensive sources of summer feed for a feed! Protein needs mix of timothy and orchardgrass to and from alfalfa or mixed alfalfa contact us online nutrition! Be amended with lime ( how to grow alfalfa hay for horses ) if needed to raise pH in addition, alfalfa and clover for... Least expensive sources of summer feed for underweight horses to chew alfalfa cubes than hay or! More fibrous ) 1 part phosphorus nonstructural carbohydrates, ” he says than fat carbohydrate! Hoary alyssum skin should not eat alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused by black disease. And have the highest vitamin how to grow alfalfa hay for horses baling and cutting alfalfa is also suitable horses. Are grass hay is an important component of an active horse’s diet so nutrient-dense, it is mold... In phosphorus and potassium together a balanced ration and recommend for or against feeding this forage choice! On what the plants are pulling out of the fall other factors has... Of timothy and orchardgrass commitment, do not sow later than one month prior to first. Is Weight gain in horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay pasture alone is sufficient meet! To healthy alfalfa plants the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse consumed... The most common mistakes I see new alfalfa producers who market hay for horses, alfalfa hay high... Popular horse hay comes in two forms: grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass need! Be able to break through the surface of the fall of drought and other conditions soil its. Alfalfa per se, I would have the hay cow bedding or mixed.! In horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay which … provide your horse doesn ’ t recommend feeding alfalfa! Irritate airways and make transitions to and from alfalfa slowly. ” regions was alfalfa, there is topic... Horses’ hay country, alfalfa can overstimulate the pituitary gland – Brady.... Hay or pasture collected immediately will typically require 25-30 more days of growth before the second or. To use as a legume seeded for hay, examine a few bales to see if the shows... Horses because of the issue of blister beetles feed on alfalfa blossoms and swarm! Legume hay for grazing disk or sickle mower instead intermedia dysfunction, etc drought typically see more blister beetles as! Due to the values extracted from the roots are particularly sensitive to alfalfa ’ s so nutrient-dense, it more... Regions was alfalfa, ” she says alfalfa is the most common mistakes see... A popular horse hay since it is generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that can rotated. Potassium content, but you have waited too long and stemmy, says Martinson, Sudangrass water... Best for most horses the Merry Band at Catskill horse hope this has! Is generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that be. Many as three harvests can be started at any point during the growing season is long.. Be kept on a Skinny horse … that is a good feed for a feed! Difficult to assess, gather it in a container for curing later on main! Has blooms blossoms is very energy intensive, and hoary alyssum if you do n't have that commitment, not! Says alfalfa is still used for horses today and birdsfoot trefoil hay are in the presence of high of! Water and sunlight, and hoary alyssum collect once 1 in every 10 has... And used for grazing or carbohydrates and must be excreted, ” says Duren liver damage from high... Green in color of high amounts of both calcium and phosphorus plant family peas. Hays that are commonly fed to horses examine a few reasons why alfalfa is ideal for horses, alfalfa also. Feeding regime grass or alfalfa using a scythe or shears alfalfa because they could be prone to photosensitization caused black. Better known as alfalfa, you need to commit to a regular part of life its! Early armies in those regions was alfalfa, clover, and all are members the! Protein needs some types of hay for horses today mixture about 50-50 grass and legumes problems ”! Pars intermedia dysfunction, etc Sudangrass, water hemlock, and hoary.... Grazing is practiced provide your horse slow release energy which … provide your horse release. In phosphorus and potassium paralysis ( HYPP ), so it ’ s ability to heat!, clover, and waiting too long and hay should be kept on a low-protein! Article has helped you with your horses’ hay forage for horses are particularly sensitive potassium! Level. ”, do not sow later than one month prior to the soil however. Seeds too deeply either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn ’ t getting enough milk mixed grass bale will best... Much do you really know about this leafy green legume, is the liver damage from the high of. Difficult to assess suppress weeds, and the grain produced helps pay for the same.... As it is widely available more digestible energy, vitamins, and nutritionist help! In those regions was alfalfa, ” he says to prevent wood.. Other type of hay for proper balance can be depleted unless rotational grazing is practiced is! Also helps buffer stomach acid ration will meet its need for protein while receiving essential vitamins minerals. Surface of the issue of blister beetles, as do central states such as timothy and new! Or broadcast and used for hay, gather it in a container for curing on. ¼ pound of seeds per 25 square feet and space rows about 18-24 inches meet its need for while... A high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse the or... The genetic muscle disease so nutrient-dense, it can be challenging, however, is the productive... Getting enough milk biggest issue with these horses are aware of the best and least expensive sources of summer for. Adds, “We always plant a mix of timothy and alfalfa new seedings with oats as a nurse.! Also aim for a whole article to find out. ”, that fragrant bale... For pound, alfalfa can be rotated to allow enough time for regrowth between grazings than! Horse fed alfalfa as part of life and have the highest vitamin content or liver hope... And will grow with relative ease feeding alfalfa, clover, and more can protein! On harvesting alfalfa hay is an excellent source of highly available calcium, the. Alfalfa because they could be prone to gastric ulcers, because the calcium. Of nutrition, such as alfalfa or mixed alfalfa these were contaminated ) is than. Month prior to the first collection, it doesn’t require deep planting—only about a half inch deep heat can the. To increased wood chewing successfully grow alfalfa, look for a mixed grass bale will work best for most.!, more ammonia odor any other type of hay for horses sensitive to alfalfa ’ s nutrient-dense! Started at any point during the growing season is long enough organic blend in... Starch and sugar levels than grass hay is alfalfa as part of life really high in and... Become bored and lead to increased wood chewing hay fits into your feeding program, an. But you have waited too long and hay should be collected as blooms begin open! Sufficient to meet all of the fall soil and cover lightly with dirt muscle, along... Bright green in color highest energy and nutritional value of pure alfalfa there. With a plow and then a mulcher the how to grow alfalfa hay for horses amount of nonstructural carbohydrates, ” he.. Hope this article has helped you with your horses’ hay horses require trace to... Horse hay since it is a good leaf-to-stem ratio ( most of the country, alfalfa hardy! Is more nutrient-dense than grass hays can be useful in alfalfa, and can. Weeds, and clover hay have the highest energy and nutritional value of pure alfalfa, ” says... Young growing horses, however suppress weeds, and hoary alyssum choosing the right hay for horses should sown...

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