Its snowing here in Avon. This is a cold reminder that we are heading into winter and stored forage feeding (hay or haylage) season. We recommend testing your stored hay for nutritional analysis atleast annually. This allows you to know exactly what you are feeding your horses, sheep, goats, or 'pacas, and to accurately balance how much grain supplementation they may need.
Hay samples are taken with a special bale corer attached to a hand crank or drill. This allows bales that will be used later in the season to be sampled without opening. The hay cores are bagged and mailed to a nutritional laboratory (we use Dairy One/Equi-Analytical).
I've attached a glossary that can be helpful in understanding the Nutritional Analysis report that you recieve back.
Glossary of (basic) terms:
ADF—Acid Detergent fiber. The least digestible fiber (higher the number the poorer the forage).
DMI—estimated level of intake an animal must consume of a ration that contains the energy concentration recommended by nutrient tables.
Fat—amount of crude fat in the forage.
Lignin—component of cell walls that is indigestible.
Moisture—amount of water in the forage.
NEM—(net energy for maintenance) estimate of available energy to keep the animal as is.
NFC—Non-fibrous carbohydrates (sugars, starches)
pH—measure of acidity or alkalinity.
Soluble Protein—protein that is able to be broken down in the rumen.