The Best Ways To Soak Hay For Horses

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Bacteria and mold can cause serious health problems for horses. Many horse owners may choose to soak hay to reduce the carbohydrate content in order to provide more nutritious food for their animals. The problem with soaking this product is that the process can increase bacteria levels. However, there is a way to safely reduce sugar levels and keep bacteria and mold from growing.

Soaking hay also results in having a waste liquid left that has a biological oxygen demand found to be nine times greater than that of raw sewage. This waste creates a situation where special disposal is necessary. Studies have been conducted to find out the best ways to soak hay and safely reduce carbohydrate content. The following will help you understand what has been discovered about soaking hay and how it can help you give your horses a better quality product.

Reducing carbohydrates for better quality hay

Research has been done to determine the best way to reduce carbohydrates in horse hay. The details can be found in an open access journal called PLoS ONE. The testing determined that the most effective reduction of carbohydrates came from steaming the grass in a Haygain-600 steamer. This result only holds true if the product is not soaked after steaming, however. Soaking the hay, especially for long periods of time, increases bacteria and mold levels.

The researchers also tried soaking the hay for nine hours and then steaming it. This test was the most effective method for reducing the sugar content of the product, along with the microbe levels.

Types of hay used in the study

The testing took place by looking at two types of grass. One of these two types was meadow hay, a permanent pasture combination of different types of grass and other herbage. The other type analyzed was seed hay, which is a specially sown combination of two or more types of species of grass.

Nutrient value in these two types is influenced by many factors. Some factors include the growth stage at harvest, the mixture of other herbage and grasses in the field, weather conditions at harvest, and soil nutrition. It should be noted that stressed pastures that experience drought produce higher levels of carbohydrates in the hay.

If you need help finding low carbohydrate products to feed your horses, contact SB Hay & Feed in Amarillo, Texas today. We can show you what we have available to buy or we can help you sell your own hay. You can reach us at (800) 652-3036 or Contact Us by email for more information.