Last Updated: | By Sarah Braithwaite, Author & Horse Health Expert
If you want to test horse hay or haylage for your horse then Forageplus™ can answer your questions. Where you have a number of different sources then you can go to the sources and test horse grass, hay or haylage bales.
If you can ask or find where the forage is stored and go to the stack and collect the sample from there. You may need to use a corer where the bales are big bales.
Where the forage is wrapped as haylage you will need to buy some haylage tape, which can be bought at a farm supply, and reseal the bales after you sample.
In some circumstances it is useful to collect a sample over a number of days or weeks as your yard uses bales. You can hand grab or core each bale as it is used and then store the samples together in a large polythene bag. Coring is the best and most reliable way to sample large and small bales. Once you have collected samples from 6 – 10 bales you can then mix all the samples together thoroughly and take one sample from this to test.
Selecting a range of bales to obtain a representative sample is important understand that it is the forage your horse eats over time which is important not what he/she eats in a week or a month. By obtaining a representative sample of what your horse eats over time you will be looking at what mineral excesses and deficiencies your horse is exposed to in the grass, hay, haylage eaten. To understand more see our advice on how to take a sample here.Find out how to test the hay or haylage your horse eats for best mineral supplementation and healthClick To Tweet
Another option is to walk the fields where your hay comes from gathering a representative sample of either the grass just before baling or of the hay left lying on the field after baling.
Remember when you test horse hay or haylage samples they have to be representative. If you can’t do this then consider using one of our ‘forage focused™’ horse feed balancers which have been formulated against statistical analysis of the hundreds of forage samples we tested for our clients. Our balancers are nutritionally focused supplements rather than broad spectrum, cover the usual deficiencies in UK forage and are matched to NRC minimums and ratios.