Forage is the basis of every equine diet. The content of different nutrients in the forage feed of a horse determines the rest of its feed rations and diet. Knowing the composition of your horse’s forage feed is therefore important. Always have your forage feed analysed or buy your forage feed from a supplier who is able to show you the analysis result in respect of the feed supplied. It is also a good idea to have a new supply of feed analysed, preferably before you start feeding with it, even if the supplier is still the same. The nutrient content of forage harvested from different fields and at different times can vary significantly. When it comes to forage, there are no so-called ‘normal values’.
There is, in fact, only a rough guideline on what is considered a good forage for horses. The needs of different horses vary greatly and hence, there is not one forage that would suit all types of horses. Gestating/lactating mares and growing young horses, for example, need forage that is rich in protein and energy while adult performance horses only require a high-energy forage. You should therefore, before buying your feeds, have a fairly good idea of what nutrient content and values you are looking for. Our Equine Equine Nutritionists here at KRAFFT would be more than happy to assist you with a forage analysis and advise you on what nutrient content and values you ought to be aiming for.
Remember that forage feed also includes grazed grass, lucerne and straw.