Horse hay

The best way to produce high quality horse hay

The very best horse hay should be rich in plant species, with a high proportion of raw fibres and it should be of the very best quality. To achieve the variety of species, there must be a specific combination of plants, which cannot be grown in every location and which is dependent on the soil characteristics, the soil life, the effect of the weather, manuring and not least, quite specific treatment of the meadow.
In order to achieve the required content in raw fibre, the grass must grow considerably longer. Therefore grass for horse hay should be cut at the earliest during flowering, but ideally after flowering has finished. In order to achieve the required value for storage of a maximum of 12% residual moisture, the hay must dry in the field for at least three, if not more days. Minor fluctuations in the residual moisture range can mean that the dry material can be spoiled.
This is where an effective hay drying system comes into play, where only very short periods of good weather can be used for the best possible cutting period. As a rule, the fodder can be brought in 24 to 26 hours after mowing and after having been turned twice. Currently trials on drying grass for horses, which are running very successfully, are being conducted. Of course, the drying costs multiply in comparison with grass pre-dried in the sun on the meadow. Nevertheless, it is possible to fall back on this measure with an appropriately configured HSR drying system in exceptional situations, such as extremely bad weather.

The difference

Not all hay is the same. The difference between ground-dried (left) and machine-dried hay (right) is vast, as these two photos show.

The advantages of the HSR drying system for horse hay

  • High quality horse hay even in bad weather
  • The valuable nutrients are retained
  • No need for additional heating
  • Low concentrated feed costs
  • Low veterinary costs
  • Scarcely any winter coat
  • Potential saving on concentrated feed for 50 horses: up to €30,000.00 per annum
  • Customer loyalty: you can offer the owners the best quality

Important points for the health of the horses

In the last few years there has been an increasing trend to feed more often with hay instead of with hay silage. This is actually a very positive development, but it conceals risks for the health of our horses, for not every type of hay, no matter how high its quality may be, is suitable to be used for horses.
Many stables have been created from former dairy farms. To feed high-performance cows you need high-performance grasses, which are usually fast -growing, stress-resistant breeding grasses. These quickly form a large mass, in order to be high-yield. Here there is the risk that fungi colonise the plant stems early in the growing phase and these are later still present in the hay. This fungi content can lead to serious health problems when fed to horses.

Experiences from equestrian businesses

 

Osterheidehof, Borstel Deutschland

Osterheidehof

Equestrian business, eventing park, agricultural business

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Ropers, Nordleda Deutschland

Ropers

1a premium organic hay all year round

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Heuboy, Schleswig-Holstein Deutschland

Heuboy

Aromatic hay from Schleswig-Holstein

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Further information

We have compiled plenty of practical tips on horse meadows, their care and use, and on specific special mixtures for reseeding. Contact us; we shall be delighted to give you detailed information and to send the information to you.

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