Oktober 2012 - Roughage analysis: An important tool when formulating better horse diets
Improve your feeding through analyses of the energy- and protein content of your roughages. Summer is over and it's time to plan for the winter feeding season. In Northern Europe, varying conditions for grass growth, and locally extensive wet periods made it difficult to produce forages of the best qualities. During such conditions it is especially important to know the nutritional value of commercially available roughages. Known o deficiencies in the diet can be compensated for through appropriate provision of supplemental feeds. Anyone who buys into forage directly from the manufacturer should require a simple nutrient analysis on larger parties of hays or silages. Feed analyses are now relatively inexpensive, and easily commercially available. Quality roughage suppliers should provide analyses of their feeds to potential customers, and use the documentation to get a fair pricing of quality roughages.
PC-Horse is helpful when analyzed roughages are to be used in practical feeding. The program provides a simple way to define your own feeds, and to add your own nutrient analysis. Knowledge of the nutrients in major constituents of the ration is a precondition in the formulation of a diet which provides your horse with all the nutrients it needs for growth and activity. Follow the link or click the? button (in PC-Horse) for practical instructions on how to add your own feeds in the program.
We will draw your attention to two important features: 1. The most common feed analysis scheme includes digestible energy (in MJ), crude protein, and possibly some minerals. To get access to nutrients that are not analyzed, we recommend that you select a feed in PC-Horse which is closely similar to your own feed as a template feed. PC-Horse will automatically provide standard values for all nutrients from this template. You will then customize the feed by entering your own values from the analysis certificate. 2. For silages (bales, square bales), it very is important to give information on the water content. The dry matter content given on the certificate is the inverse of the water content, and tells how much water and how much solids the feed has. A low dry matter content means a moist (water-rich and energy poor) feed, when judged on a per kilo basis! In using your own feeds in PC-Horse the way we have described, you will get significantly better control of your feeding.
Take time to explore this function by defining some of your own roughages. You can easily delete your own feeds when you don’t need them anymore. Use the “Help” functions to assist you. The ?-button gives you detailed information from the website of PC-Horse.
This article was originally written by Dr. Day Austbø.
Copyright: PC-Horse International - Norway 2012.
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