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Nutritional Analysis (NIR) PLUS Nitrate Test (Wet Chemistry)


In Stock

This procedure utilises traditional, wet chemistry, analytical methods to determine nitrate levels in forage for feeding to horses.

Nitrates (NO3) – can become a problem for horses when forage contains high amounts. Stress from drought, fertilisation and manure application practices where the balance of nitrogen to other minerals like sulphur in the soil is not taken into account, are factors that can lead to high nitrate levels. 

In addition to there being little research in general on nitrite toxicity in horses, even less is know about the effect of ingesting chronic “less than toxic” levels of nitrate over a period of time. Nitrate competes with the uptake of iodide and can affect thyroid function.

North Carolina State University has adopted the same guidelines suggested as safe limits for cattle for equines.  They report “Excessive intake of nitrates decreases the blood’s oxygen-carrying ability, which causes anxiety, increased respiration rate, and breathing difficulty. Severe cases result in loss of coordination, muscle twitching, and death”.

Where you see excessive protein in your hay sample it is wise to check nitrate levels.  In general grass hay and haylage in the UK should not be in excess of 12% protein.  Even at 12% protein some hays will have nitrate levels which are high.

The maximum acceptable Nitrate level in forage for adult horses is 0.5%. Higher levels may be “diluted” with very low nitrate hay to bring the Nitrate level for total forage fed below 0.5%. Hay for breeding mares and growing horses should not exceed 0.20% Nitrate.

Approximately 200 grams of a representative sample is needed. This representative sample will need to be taken from a larger sample which comes from 6 – 10 bales.

After you have purchased this analysis please wait for us to send you instructions on how to collect a sample or visit Taking Forage Samples, you will need to send this sample to us at Forageplus, it does not go to the same lab which carries out the mineral analysis. 

Please note there is no postage/delivery charge on this product.