Wrap­ping up for­ages

EQUUS - - Eq Tack & Gear -

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.

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