Hay Cubes as Alternative Forage Source

According to Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist Kathleen Crandell, PhD, hay cubes are an option to consider as an alternative forage source for horses. “The most popular types of forage cubes are made from coarsely chopped alfalfa hay, timothy hay, alfalfa/grass hay, whole corn plants, and alfalfa hay/whole corn plants,” said Crandell.
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Imagine you're standing in the loft of your barn, lamenting the dwindling supply of hay. Snow and ice storms have made the trek to the regional hay sale nearly impossible. On the first clear sale day, you hook the fifth wheel to the truck and head off to the auction, hoping to bag a load of good-quality forage. When you arrive, however, there's no decent hay available. Hundreds of bales are stacked on rickety wagons; the bales are off-colored, some variation of yellow or brown, and dust flies from them when the twine is snipped and the hay shook out. Some of the bales smell suspicious–musty and moldy. What's a concerned horse owner to do?

If reputable hay dealers are not to be found in your area, there are alternatives to this classic forage form. According to Kentucky Equine Research nutritionist Kathleen Crandell, PhD, hay cubes are an option.

"The most popular types of forage cubes are made from coarsely chopped alfalfa hay, timothy hay, alfalfa/grass hay, whole corn plants, and alfalfa hay/whole corn plants," said Crandell. Horsemen derive numerous benefits by choosing hay cubes over more traditional long-stem hay.

Uniform Nutrient Profile: Little variation occurs from one load of forage cubes to another, especially when they are from the same manufacturer. Most cubes are made to certain specifications and offered to the consumer with established nutrient values. Generally, manufacturers must provide guaranteed levels of protein, fat, and fiber

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