7 Reasons You May Not Have Known!

  1. Overfeeding and Diet: Providing excessive amounts of feed, concentrates, or high-energy feeds without considering the horse’s workload or energy requirements can lead to weight gain. Diets high in sugars or starches (hays) can also contribute to weight issues, especially in horses prone to metabolic disorders.
  2. Limited Exercise: Reduced physical activity or inadequate exercise can lead to weight gain. Horses kept in stalls or confined areas without sufficient turnout or exercise opportunities may not burn enough calories, leading to excess weight.
  3. Type of Feed: Feeding high-energy feeds or excessive amounts of rich, calorie-dense feeds without considering the horse’s individual needs can contribute to weight gain. Some horses might also be more efficient at utilizing calories from their feed, making them prone to weight gain.
  4. Pasture Quality and Grazing Management: Lush pastures rich in sugars and nutrients can contribute to weight gain if horses have unrestricted access. Monitoring grazing time and using grazing muzzles can help control calorie intake.
  5. Metabolic Issues: Horses, especially certain breeds or individuals, may be predisposed to metabolic disorders like insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome, making them more susceptible to weight gain even on minimal feed.
  6. Lack of Dental Care: Dental issues can make chewing difficult, leading to reduced feed breakdown and absorption. This may cause horses to swallow larger food particles, impacting digestion and potentially leading to weight gain.
  7. Age and Health Conditions: Older horses or those with certain health conditions might have slower metabolisms, making it easier for them to gain weight. Additionally, certain medical issues or hormonal imbalances can contribute to weight gain in horses.

It’s crucial for horse owners to monitor their horses’ body condition regularly, provide appropriate nutrition tailored to individual needs, ensure adequate exercise, and consult with veterinarians or equine nutritionists to maintain their horse’s healthy weight. Implementing proper feeding practices, regular exercise, and health checks can help prevent and manage weight issues in horses.

Teff grass (Eragrostis tef) is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It is considered one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, primarily grown for its edible seeds which are used to make traditional Ethiopian flatbread called “injera.”

Teff is a warm-season grass (like Alfalfa) known for its resilience in various climates, ability to grow in both highlands and lowlands, and its capacity to thrive in diverse soil conditions. Due to its adaptability (it is typically less stressed during growth) and nutritional value, teff has gained attention beyond its native region and is now cultivated in other parts of the world for forage, hay, and as a grain crop.

In addition to its traditional use as a grain, teff grass has become popular in agriculture for its high-quality forage, valued for its palatability, digestibility, and nutritional content. It’s often used as hay or silage for livestock feed in various countries, contributing to its growing cultivation beyond its East African origins and now being grown in desert like areas in Eastern Oregon and Washington State.

Every horse is unique and will definitely have preferences, but by far we sell more Timothy than any other type of hay. It has been the standard for the industry for years and years as it is a nutritious and high-quality forage option for equines.

Here are a few reasons why Timothy hay is (one of) the best hay to feed your horse :

  1. Nutritional value: Timothy hay is rich in fiber, which is an essential component of a horse’s diet. It provides the roughage they need for healthy digestion and helps prevent issues such as colic and other digestive disorders. Additionally, Timothy hay contains important nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals that support a horse’s overall health.
  2. Low in sugar and starch: Many horses require a diet low in sugar and starch to prevent conditions like laminitis or metabolic disorders. Timothy hay tends to have lower sugar and starch content compared to other forage options, making it a suitable choice for horses that need a restricted diet.
  3. Palatability: Horses generally find Timothy hay highly palatable, meaning they enjoy eating it! This can help ensure that horses consume adequate amounts of forage, promoting a healthy appetite.
  4. Digestive health: Timothy hay has long, coarse stems that encourage horses to chew thoroughly, promoting saliva production and reducing the risk of digestive issues. Its texture can also help maintain healthy teeth and jaw muscles.
  5. Availability and quality: Timothy hay can be more widely available and can be obtained in various forms, including baled hay, hay pellets, or hay cubes. It tends to have a consistent quality and is commonly recommended by equine nutritionists and veterinarians.

Low-sugar hay refers to hay that contains lower levels of simple sugars, specifically glucose, fructose, and sucrose. These are also known as Non-Structural Carbohydrates – which can be shown on a test result by adding the WSC and Starch numbers.

High-sugar hay can be problematic for animals prone to metabolic issues like insulin resistance, obesity, laminitis, and other conditions.

Low-sugar hay is typically harvested at specific times to ensure lower sugar levels. It may involve selecting certain grass species or cutting the hay at an earlier growth stage when sugars are lower and fiber content is higher.

Sugar levels in hay do vary by hay type, but each grass can have vast differences in sugar levels – Buy Test Hay People!

We get this question a lot – What is Local Hay? Or more specifically “What grasses are in local hay?”

The answer sort of depends on where you live. Here in the Fraser Valley we see mostly cool season gasses such as: Timothy, Orchard, Rye and Fescue. If you bought locally from the interior, you would see alfalfa in that mix as well as well as brome.

When you buy local you could be getting a mix of grasses or only one of those grasses, so it’s important to test your hay if you don’t know the differences. We typically sell local hay that is either entirely Orchard Grass or a very high percentage as it tends to be the softest of the grasses and it tests better in sugar.

Grasses such as Fescue and Rye tend to be steamier and usually are harder to dry down (during Hay making process) so they are usually browner when in the bale. They also tend to be higher in sugar and lower in protein.

Here are 5 common reasons for high hay prices:

  1. Weather Conditions: As we all know, weather plays a significant role in hay production. Unfavorable weather conditions can reduce yields and make it more challenging for farmers to produce an adequate supply of hay and this varies region to region. But, as one region struggles hay is sourced from other ares so then some of the other factors (such as transportation) come into effect.
  2. Land Use Competition: As demand for land increases for various purposes, such as urbanization or alternative agricultural activities, the available land for hay production may decrease. This reduction in available land can lead to a decrease in hay production, driving prices higher. Commodity prices on other agricultural products like corn, peas, potatoes, when high, have pushed many farmers to plow under their first cut hay in order to capitalize on these gains.
  3. Fuel and Input Costs: The cost of fuel and other inputs, such as fertilizers and machinery, can impact the overall cost of hay production. As these input costs rise, farmers pass on those expenses to consumers in the form of higher hay prices.
  4. Transportation Costs: Hay is often transported over long distances to reach consumers. Increases in fuel prices or changes in transportation infrastructure can lead to higher transportation costs, contributing to overall hay price increases. We have seen this as a lot of hay is back hauled and that is dependent on a sufficient goods travelling to the areas that hay is being pulled out of.
  5. Market Demand and Supply: Fluctuations in market demand and supply can influence hay prices. If the demand for hay exceeds the available supply, prices are likely to rise. What we have seen is that the demand for certain crops like Timothy and Teff continues to grow, but the growth is exceeding the supply.

If there is mold growing ON TOP of your hay, the bottomline is your barn has too much moisture INSIDE! This can be caused by a few factors:

  1. Tight Spaces Smaller barns tend to have more issues as your hay (and other products) can’t breath in the barn.
  2. Animals in Barn:  Storing hay in close quarters to animals (in addition to #1) can increase the risk of mold growth as those animals are putting out a ton of moisture into the air (through respiration and excretion).
  3. Poor Insulation: A barn that is poorly insulated can also have a revolving cycle of the air inside heating and cooling and when the exterior weather is wet and soggy, the barn is introducing that same air climate into the barn.

The Fix? 

  1. Try and store hay further away from animals and in barns that have more space.
  2. Insulate your storage area as best as possible.
  3. If these are not possible, you can cover your hay with a tarp, to prevent air moisture from coming back into the bale. I have also had customers that have salted the top bales to prevent moisture build up.
  4. Air Dehumidifiers would also be a great option if all of the above can’t be managed.
We are often asked about “local hay” and yes we sell different grasses that many would call local hay. But, many people buy hay made locally, but is it worth the cost?
  1. Bale Weight – Local hay is typically sold by the bale, currently the going rate is $15/bale (off the field). So if a bale weighs 40lbs, that works out to $750/ton – if they weigh 45lbs then it works out to $666/Ton. That’s a huge spread! So are you getting what you paid for?
  2. Moisture – A lot of local hay is baled wetter – risking a few things including mold, fire risk and essentially increasing cost as it is 3 – 5% heavier due to water.
  3. Quality – Local hay is usually baled on ground that has not been tended to (watered, fertilizer, weeded, etc.). The result is a product that may look ok but overall the quality is very lacking either in low protein and usually high sugar content. We highly recommend that you buy tested hay or get it tested so you know what you are buying!
  4. Work – Many people who purchase local hay are required to pick it up off the field, load it themselves, unload and store it. If there was a value put on your truck and time – would it be worth it?
We all need to draw our own conclusions when it comes to our hay and consider our time, energy and budget and ask ourselves “Is Local Hay Worth the Cost?”.