Fall Brings Ritual of Hay Buying for Horses

Fall weather often brings the fall tradition of owners buying hay for their horses. Several factors should be evaluated when buying hay, including but not limited to color, leafiness, and the presence of weeds and seed heads.

Fall weather often brings the fall tradition of owners buying hay for their horses according to Tim Schnakenberg, MS, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"Horse owners often are seeking alfalfa, alfalfa-grass mixes, orchardgrass, bermudagrass, timothy and brome. There's good and bad hay sold on the market in every species of hay. What counts is when it was harvested and what the weather conditions were like at harvest," said Schnakenberg.

Conditions at harvest can also impact hay quality. One of the biggest factors is if the hay crop was too mature and not young and tender at the time it is cut.

"A mature crop will lead to more indigestible fiber and less protein, resulting in less intake by the horses. This is probably the number one reason horses may turn their noses up at what you feed them," said

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