Why can’t I get a nutritional analysis of grass for my horse?

If you want to test horse grass by using a nutritional analysis then Forageplus can answer your questions.

At Forageplus we don’t want you to waste your money or time so although we can carry out a nutritional analysis of grass for you there are a number of reasons why we think this testing is unreliable for horse owners.

nutritiional analysis for horses test grass

Nutritional Analysis of Grass for Horses

Most horse owners testing the nutritional value of grass want to know about sugar levels. They want to know if the grass their horse is eating is high in sugar or low in sugar. Horse owners want to know if the grass their horse is eating is safe for those which are laminitis prone.

Many horses are sensitive to sugar levels in grass particularly in spring and early summer. However the sugar content of grass fluctuates throughout the day with levels being lowest at night and highest during the afternoon. Sugar levels in grass are affected by how much the sun is shining or how much cloud cover there is. Sugar levels in grass are also affected by the temperature both at night and during the day. Sugar levels are also affected by how long it takes the sample to reach the laboratory for testing. All the time the sample is traveling to the lab the grass will be changing its sugar content due to photosynthesis.

Check sugar levels in horse grass

The only reliable way to check sugar levels is either to freeze the sample in liquid nitrogen the moment it is sampled and ship to the lab on ice, or flash dry in a microwave oven. Even then, because the sugar levels change constantly throughout the day, it does not mean the sugar level is safe for your horse or that the reported figure was accurate for more than a moment.

If you want to test horse grass by using a nutritional analysis then Forageplus can answer your questions.Click To Tweet

So although Forageplus can test the sugar and nutritional levels of the grass your horse eats, if you are looking to determine how much sugar is in the grass your horse is eating then a nutritional test is unlikely to be accurate. The only safe way to help horses and ponies which are sensitive to sugar and starch levels in grass is to limit or remove those prone to laminitis during high risk periods. These high risk periods are late morning through to early evening. Some horses and ponies are best being removed from grass from March to late July when the grass is likely to be the most dangerous. Others also need removing during September and October. There are also horses who can not tolerate any grass at any time of the year and although it is difficult sometimes horse owners will have to find a way of managing these horses without feeding them grass to keep them free from laminitis.

Check protein in horse grass

Other people might want to know the protein or DE (calorie) level of the grass. These two elements change less in grass with grass in early to mid spring being highest in both protein and calories. However again because the grass is changing within weeks we do not consider it worth our customers to provide a service to test grass for nutritional value.

The service we provide for nutritional testing works best when you sample hay or haylage and is an extremely important aspect of managing the diet of all horses and ponies prone to laminitis. However if you do want to test horse grass using a nutritional analysis then contact us so we can help.

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Find out more about our analysis services for horses here

nutritional analysis for horses test grass