Wrapping up forages
temperatures grees challenges are With cold Fahrenheit, weather long Swedish winters between related. many horse bringing –7 of and owners the feeding 26 average de- face to many “Pasture other season countries,” is short says compared Cecilia Müller, PhD, an associate professor of equine feed science at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Grazing in the south of the country is typically available from the beginning of May to the end of September, while in the north, it’s only from June to the end of August. “This has to be overcome by harvesting summer grass for winter feeding. Winters in the south are commonly damp and not so cold (coastal
Long winters and relatively short grazing seasons lead many Swedish horse owners to rely on silage or haylage as sources of forage.
climate), and Damp very the wrapping One hay can difficult winters solution and be while harvested very results as mean up the cold to north this in damp grasses storage (inland mold challenge they air growth.” of climate). in are moistens hay plastic dry is is for is percent wrapped protection dry forage matter from with content, the elements: less while than 50 Silage haylage 50 percent is wrapped dry matter forage content. with more “One than of the major reasons why wrapped forages have become popular is that storage of wrapped bales is not weather dependent,” says Müller. But even among wrapped forages, extreme cold weather can complicate feeding. “A drawback in the north is that cold weather (below 0 degree Celsius) results in frozen bales during winter, which are very difficult to separate before feeding. Haylage does not pose this problem.” Wrapped forages are sometimes used in conjunction with traditional dried hay to stretch the supply through the winter months. Beyond the forage challenges, many Swedish feeding practices are similar to those in the United States. A recent study of Swedish horse owners found that 60 percent use commercial feed mixes, 50 percent use beet pulp with molasses, 80 percent feed a mineral supplement and 50 percent feed a vitamin supplement.