Hay: Why It’s Important To Get Quality Hay and How

For many horse owners, it’s not surprising that the price of hay has increased but the quality of it has decreased. A bale of hay used to cost around $2 to $3 so many horse owners did not think it was necessary to add nutrients to hay that were of low quality. However, a bale of hay today cost $8 to $10 with the same kind of product/nutrients that was sold before. Still, this is not the case.

It’s true that finding quality hay has been difficult and remains so. Due to modern farming practices that enhance the hay with continuous applications of herbicides and chemical fertilizers, producers are able to get more hay. However, the quality of that hay suffers.

These applications keep the fungi and bacteria from doing the job it needs to in the soil. When the soil is healthy, more minerals are available in the grass and water is held better. That means the grass can handle dry periods in the spring and summer should there be a problem.

The natural fertilizers maintain a hale and hearty soil environment. The environment can consist of:

Fish emulsion
Composted manure
Composted tea

The above items have the ability to repair soil that has been damaged. If the soil is fertile and mowed when it’s needed, it is not necessary for herbicides to be applied. If a farmer wants to get involved with organic farming, the costs to begin are rather expensive. As the years pass, the cost will decrease because the soil has been able to produce high amounts of nourishing crops.

If horse owners go ahead and pay the high dollar for hay that has poor quality, there’s no reason for a farmer to dabble in organic techniques. Cattle owners demand that their food be tested and horse owners should do the same. If so, then the high quality of hay can be made in higher increments. Should an owner not buy enough hay to warrant testing then they can appeal for a test from the grower. This usually costs about $75, maybe less.

Horse owners should never be afraid to compare hay suppliers. If you decide to do this, only you and your horse will come out the winners. If you suspect your hay isn’t giving your horse the nutrients it needs, then add a supplement.

Add probiotics and digestive enzymes to the horse’s diet. Some good brands include Essentials and APA from Simplexity.

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