Nutritional Values Of Various Hay Types
Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
When it comes to balancing the diet of your livestock, not just any hay will do. You need to select the type that’s best for your animals and their nutritional needs. In some cases, this may require combining multiple types of hay in order to ensure the maximum amount of nutrition possible. These types of hay include Timothy, bermudagrass, alfalfa, oat, and clover.
Timothy hay grows in cooler climates and is highly adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions. This feed product typically yields between 7 and 11 percent crude protein, and between .38 to .51 percent calcium. In regard to digestible energy, Timothy hay provides between .82 to .94 mega calories per pound. Overall, this feed is a good addition to your livestock’s diet.
The downside to Timothy hay is that it is a very sensitive grass. If this grass is not harvested during pre, or early bloom, then it will lose its nutritional value. In most cases, the second cutting is usually the best cutting with the highest nutritional content.
Bermudagrass hay is often used in the southern regions of the United States. This type is equally as nutritious as timothy hay and is a viable substitute for timothy when it’s not available. As with all grass hay, the nutritional value of bermudagrass can be enhanced when it is grown in conjunction with a legume.
Full of nutrients, alfalfa is a legume that has a protein content ranging from 17 to 20 percent. This feed product offers 1.41 percent calcium, and usually between .98 and 1.13 mega calories per pound of digestible energy. Because of alfalfa’s high protein content, it is ideal for use with young animals as it helps promote strong, rapid development.
Use caution when selecting alfalfa hay with horses as it is easily palatable, which can lead to overeating, giving a horse colic. Further, if feeding to young horses, consider the calcium:phosphorus ratio. For alfalfa, this ratio is 6:1. For this reason, alfalfa is often mixed with grass plants to achieve a balance.
Oat hay is produced from the remainder of an oat harvest and is excellent for horses. A resilient plant, oat can be harvested at various levels of maturation without loss of nutritional value. This type of feed boasts a protection level of between 15 to 16 percent, and a low calcium percentage of .32. This product also has low levels of phosphorus and carotene.
Clovers are legumes which are usually mixed with grass hays. Clover hays are available in red, crimson, common white, alsike, and ladino. Each have between 14 and 16 percent crude protein.
This feed product is perfectly safe. However, if you are using red clover for horses, you should be aware that this can lead to excessive salivation.
For more information about the nutritional value of various feed, contact SB Hay & Feed in Amarillo, Texas. Give us a call at 800-652-3036 or Contact Us via email. We will be happy to answer your questions and help direct you to the right feeds for your livestock. You can also see the hay we have available to buy or sell your own!