Standlee Barn Bulletin

The Standlee Barn Bulletin is your source for insightful articles about premium western forage and beyond.

Hay Storage for Safety and to Prevent Losses

Hay Storage for Safety and to Prevent Losses

Forage (fiber) is the most important part of any horse’s diet. The majority of horses get their forage requirements from hay. Most horse owners go to great lengths to ensure their horse grain is stored in a secure location, but...

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Do The Race Horses at The Kentucky Derby Need a Sidekick?

Do The Race Horses at The Kentucky Derby Need a Sidekick?

Since we are shaking up the traditions of the Kentucky Derby this year, due to COVID-19, we thought we would highlight a member of the team who doesn’t always get the spotlight. While most often during the races, our eyes...

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Standlee Premium Products are the Best in Quality

Standlee Premium Products are the Best in Quality

To show the benefit of feeding the highest quality forage or hay-based fiber source for your beloved equine and livestock partners, Standlee Premium Products commissioned two studies through the Purina Animal Nutrition Center facility near St. Louis,...

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Forage (fiber) is the most important part of any horse’s diet. The majority of horses get their forage requirements from hay. Most horse owners go to great lengths to ensure their horse grain is stored in a secure location, but hay storage is not always held to the same standards. When it comes to hay storage, there are a few things horse owners can do to help guarantee their hay will stay in good condition and have minimal loss and waste:

\n

Do not allow hay to get wet

\n

Water and moisture cause mold and are the biggest culprits in hay losses. Mold and other organisms that grow on hay can make your horse sick. Mold can cause skin allergies and inflammation, as well as respiratory problems. Mycotoxins are harmful compounds produced by molds and these toxins can cause a wide range of clinical signs in horses, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurologic, and reproductive problems, even death.

\n

Standlee Premium Product packaging is not waterproof due to perforations made in the bags. These tiny piercings made to the bags serve two purposes: to allow air to be released during the packaging process and prevent condensation from developing within the bagged product. This minimizes product damage when stacking products on pallets during the production and delivery process and reduces the chance of mold developing due to condensation. Be sure to store bagged Standlee products in the same environment as baled long-stemmed forage and not out in the weather.

\n

Pest proof your hay storage area

\n

Seal rodent holes and attempt to detour larger wildlife, such as raccoons, from moving in during winter months. Not only do these animals deposit feces which can carry several diseases, including Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), but they can also chew through twine, creating a mess in your hay storage area.

\n

Do not stack hay on the ground

\n

Stacking bales on pallets encourages air circulation beneath the bales and can help prevent the bales from absorbing condensation from the ground. Hay bales stored on wet surfaces can have as much as 50% spoilage. Try not to stack hay directly against a wall, especially an external wall, as this will also decrease air circulation and can heat up hay unnecessarily, potentially causing mold growth. Hay can be stored outside if it is stacked on pallets. Tarps or other coverings should be used to protect bales from dust, sun and moisture.

\n

Minimize the risk of fire

\n

Fire in stored hay may occur from either external or internal causes. Internal heating is a direct result of microorganism activity in hay stored at excessively high moisture levels. Even if excessive heating does not result in a fire, it will reduce forage quality. A caramel smell may indicate that the hay is becoming hot. A metal pipe or rod driven into the center of the stack can be pulled out from time to time to feel for heat. Hay that is extremely hot or beginning to steam, often smolders until the stack is pulled apart, at which time the increased oxygen can cause the bales to burn more rapidly. Moisture and heat should be monitored for about two to six weeks after freshly baled hay is stacked in a barn or shed. When hay temperature remains below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it is considered safe. The range between 120 and 140 degrees is considered a caution zone in which the hay should be closely monitored. If the temperature rises to 160 or above, a fire is likely. Fire is imminent if interior bale temperatures exceed 175°F and fire is present at temperatures greater than 200°F.

\n

Always use the oldest hay first and rotate your bales so that the oldest hay is in the front of the stack. As long as moisture entry is completely avoided from any direction, and the hay was adequately dry when put into storage, it should keep indefinitely (Table 1). Regardless, it's a good practice to always use older hay first.

\n

Nutrient Content of Stored Hay

\n \"Standlee\n

This is a common horse owner concern. If hay has been stored in a dry environment, it’s suitable for feeding for a long period of time after harvesting. The nutritional value of hay remains relatively constant, whether a horse eats it two months or two years post-harvest.

\n

If hay is baled with a moisture content of 10-15 percent, it should not lose more than 5 percent of its original dry matter during the first year of storage. It will lose very little of its digestible nutrients during that time or in succeeding years. Exceptions – The hay will suffer some loss of carotene, the pre-cursor of vitamin A, following one year of storage. It will also lose vitamin e content within approximately 1 to 2 weeks of cutting and baling.

\n

Large bales stored outside will suffer variable losses, depending upon a combination of factors. These factors include:

\n\n

Long-term storage does increase the dryness of hay, in some instances. Dry hay tends to be more brittle, so more may be wasted during feeding. Hay that has been in storage for longer periods is more prone to accumulation of dust. This is likely due to increased dryness. Total dry matter losses increase with more exposure to environmental conditions (Table 1).

\n\n\t\n\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\n\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\n
Table 1. Longevity of Stored Hay
Hay Storage OptionsStorage Longevity (Years)Dry Matter Loss (%)
Conventional Shed204 to 7
Tarped on Pallet54 to 7
On Ground125 to 35
\n

Standlee Western Premium Forage goes to great lengths to ensure their fields are planted, watered and forages are harvested at the peak of nutritional value and quality. Forage is then, immediately upon harvest, either covered on all sides (bottom, top, sides), so no sunlight or weather elements can access the hay, or it is stored in sheds at the plant.

\n

Storage of Standlee bagged products should be handled similarly, keep these bags in a dry area, under cover and away from rodents. In general, feeding hay within 2 years of purchase is recommended. In hot, high humidity climates, moisture content might increase and reduce storage life. In the summer months, do not purchase more bagged product in humid environments than you can comfortably use within a 14-day period. In high heat and humidity, open the corners of the bags or compressed bales to allow heat to escape and allow air to circulate. Do not stack bags more than 3-4 high and leave room between stacks to further allow air circulation.

\n

By Dr. Tania Cubitt
Standlee Nutritional Expert - Performance Horse Nutrition

\n
\n

References:

\n", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/hay-storage-for-safety-and-to-prevent-losses", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 661150, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2021-03-02T14:03:06.8", "author": "Jessica Wright", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=661150&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/feeding-cattle-winter-forage-to-spring-grass-transition", "title": "Feeding Cattle – What You Need to Know About Forage, Winter and Spring Grass Transition", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/cattle_grazing_spring.jpg", "metaTitle": "Feeding Cattle - Winter Forager to Spring Grass Transition", "metaDescription": "What you need to know about transitioning cattle from winter forage to spring grass and pasture by Standlee Expert Dr. Stephen Duren.", "body": "

Cattle are ruminant animals, meaning they have a four-compartment stomach that is designed to ferment and digest plant fiber (pasture/hay). The intricate stomach design retains fiber long enough so bacteria and other microorganisms can ferment and digest it. This fiber digestion process allows for massive fiber intake, followed by hours of regurgitating, re-chewing and re-swallowing of the partially digested fiber.

\n

With a digestive system uniquely designed to digest fiber, cattle rely heavily on quality fiber to satisfy their nutrient requirements. Cattle are capable of a daily fiber intake of up to 3% of their body weight. With this high fiber intake, cattle can easily satisfy their calorie and protein requirements when fed high-quality fiber (pasture/hay). Add free-choice supplementation with a trace mineral salt designed for cattle, along with fresh clean water, and nutrient requirements are satisfied. Cattle are notorious for being able to consume poorer quality fiber including tall, dry, mature pasture plants. They are also capable of eating “cow hay” which is a term that describes baled hay that was cut past optimum maturity and may have weather damage from outside storage conditions. When cattle consume these poorer quality fiber sources, their voluntary intake decreases to 2 – 2.5% of body weight. Since quality of fiber and intake is reduced, the cattle will require additional energy, protein and mineral supplementation to satisfy nutrient requirements. These nutrients are typically supplied by supplementing a portion of the diet with high-quality forage, such as alfalfa, or by providing free-choice access to molasses-based lick tubs with protein and minerals added to them.

\n

Feeding Cattle in Winter

\n

Many areas of the country are experiencing unprecedented cold, snowy weather. One of the major concerns for feeding cattle during extreme weather conditions is keeping them warm and as comfortable as possible. The solution to keeping them warm and comfortable lies within their digestive system. Rumen bacteria are not 100% efficient when they ferment fiber; a by-product of this fermentation process is heat. The heat produced from less than 100% efficient plant fermentation helps to keep cattle warm and comfortable. Cattle can have snow on their backs and be out in cold, windy weather and be completely warm if their rumen is full of forage to ferment. So, offering high-quality, free-choice hay is the best solution. Determining which forage type to select for cattle in the winter depends on the nutrient requirements of the cattle.

\n

Alfalfa Forage

\n

Feeding mature cows that calved in the fall and are producing milk, or cows that are due to calve early in the spring, both have high protein and energy requirements. These cows benefit from the high protein and energy content of alfalfa forage. Similarly, if feeding yearling steers or replacement heifers that are not being supplemented with grain and protein supplements, alfalfa forage is the ideal choice to help provide nutrients for growth.

\n

Grass Forage and Mixed Forage

\n

Grass forages (timothy and orchard grass) or mixed (grass/alfalfa) forages are the best choice to feed to cows that are not due to calve until late in the spring. These cows have lower nutrient requirements in the winter since they are not yet in late pregnancy, when the bulk of fetal development occurs. Grass hay or mixed grass/alfalfa hay is also a great choice for growing cattle, including show cattle, that are being fed a grain concentrate fortified for growth. Finally, mature bulls are often fed the lower calorie grass hay during winter months to help control weight gain that can occur when bulls are not actively breeding.

\n

Transitioning to Spring Grass

\n

When spring grass finally arrives, the first reaction is to turn cattle out on pasture and quit feeding hay. Unfortunately, spring grass can contain an abundance of water and grass can be in short supply. This situation will result in cattle filling up on water without getting adequate fiber and nutrients. A solution to this issue, is to limit feeding grass hay (timothy or orchard grass) at a rate of 1% of body weight for approximately two weeks. This provides cattle with useable fiber and nutrients until the water content of the grass has decreased and the volume of grass has increased. If cattle are not supplemented with a small amount of forage during the early spring when pasture is just starting to grow, they will lose body condition and may have trouble getting pregnant. In the case of growing cattle, they may go through a period of time when they will not grow properly.

\n

If you have questions, please contact the nutritionists at Standlee Premium Western Forage, or consult with your veterinarian.

\n

By Dr. Stephen Duren
\nStandlee Nutritional Expert - Performance Horse Nutrition

", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/feeding-cattle-winter-forage-to-spring-grass-transition", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 661121, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2021-02-03T08:34:41.977", "author": "Jessica Wright", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=661121&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/feeding-sheep-during-winter", "title": "Feeding Sheep – What You Need to Know About Forage and Winter", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/sheep_herd.jpg", "metaTitle": "Feeding Sheep – What You Need to Know About Forage and Winter", "metaDescription": "Feeding Sheep – What you need to know about feeding sheep forage in the winter. Forage selection tips from Standlee.", "body": "

Sheep are ruminant animals, like cattle, meaning they have a four-compartment stomach designed to ferment and digest plant fiber (pasture/hay). The four-compartment stomach retains fiber long enough so bacteria and other microorganisms can ferment and digest it. This fiber digestion process features rapid fiber intake, followed by hours of regurgitating, re-chewing and re-swallowing of the partially digested fiber.

\n

With a digestive system uniquely designed to digest fiber, sheep rely heavily on quality fiber to satisfy their nutrient requirements. In fact, sheep can easily meet their nutrient needs when fed high quality fiber (pasture/hay), a free-choice trace mineral salt (designed for sheep) and fresh, clean water. Daily fiber intake can range from 1.75% of body weight to nearly 4% of body weight, depending on the quality of fiber available and their reproductive status. High-quality fiber is important since sheep, when given the opportunity, are selective eaters. On a pickiness scale, sheep fall somewhere between goats, as the most selective eaters, and cows, being the least selective eaters.

\n

Forage Selection in Winter

\n

Plant fiber source selection for sheep depends on the lifecycle of the sheep and season of the year. When high-quality pasture is available, primarily during spring, summer and fall, sheep will utilize pasture plants, both grasses and legumes, as the primary source of nutrition. In the winter months, when high-quality pasture is not available and during times of peak nutrient requirement, stored forage (alfalfa, alfalfa/grass mixed and grass) becomes the major nutrient source to meet their needs.

\n

Grass Forage

\n

High-quality grass forage, such as timothy or orchard grass, are excellent nutrient sources for sheep that are not nursing or are in the early stages of pregnancy (first 15 weeks). These animals have low maintenance nutrient requirements and can be fed grass forage during the early winter months prior to lambing. Feeding mixed (alfalfa/grass) forage or pure alfalfa forage may provide too many calories to sheep, causing them to become overweight.

\n

Alfalfa/Grass Mixed Forage

\n

These forages contain more calories (energy) and protein compared to grass forages. Alfalfa/grass mixed forage is an appropriate choice for ewes as a flushing diet. The flushing diet is fed beginning two weeks prior to breeding and for the first three weeks of the breeding season. The flushing diet provides extra energy and protein, which cause ewes to ovulate more eggs, resulting in ewes giving birth to twin lambs rather than single lambs. Alfalfa/grass mixed forage is ideal for ewes in late pregnancy since the bulk of fetal growth occurs during this time. It also becomes the “go-to” forage choice in late winter and early spring prior to lambing.

\n

Alfalfa Forage

\n

The straight alfalfa forages contain more energy and protein compared to grass forages or alfalfa/mixed forages. High-quality alfalfa is the forage of choice for ewes during lactation. During lactation, the ewe is producing milk, often for multiple lambs, and repairing reproductive tissue, which requires more calories to maintain body condition. The high calcium content of alfalfa forage is also valuable and supply the ewe with adequate calcium for milk production. Growing lambs are fed alfalfa as the main forage source, since both protein and energy will help fuel growth and development nutrient requirements. Alfalfa is a great forage choice in early spring when ewes are lactating, and the nursing lambs are growing but high-quality grass pasture is not yet available.

\n

If you have questions, please contact the nutritionists at Standlee Premium Western Forage, or consult with your veterinarian.

\n

By Dr. Stephen Duren
Standlee Nutritional Expert - Performance Horse Nutrition

", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/feeding-sheep-during-winter", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 660838, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2020-09-04T00:00:00", "author": "Jessica Wright", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=660838&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/kentucky-derby-race-horse-sidekicks", "title": "Do The Race Horses at The Kentucky Derby Need a Sidekick?", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/horses_racing.jpg", "metaTitle": "Do The Race Horses at The Kentucky Derby Need a Sidekick?", "metaDescription": "Since we are shaking up the traditions of the Kentucky Derby this year, due to COVID-19, we thought we would highlight a member of the team who doesn’t always get the spotlight - goats!", "body": "

Since we are shaking up the traditions of the Kentucky Derby this year, due to COVID-19, we thought we would highlight a member of the team who doesn’t always get the spotlight. While most often during the races, our eyes are on those performing. Did you know that often they have a “partner in crime?”

\n

How do those champions perform so well? How do they do it with all the stress and anxiety? One of our favorite unsung heroes, who stays out of the spotlight, but is a reliable support for those nervous thoroughbreds and provides calming energy and balance in the stalls are Calming Goats! A sidekick might be the best fitting name for calming goats because that is precisely what they do; they cheer on the positive behaviors of racehorses while waiting for events to begin. Calming goats may not make the cover of a comic book as a sidekick, but where would Batman be without Robbin? These calming goats are known to walk through the stalls and seek out signs of stress in horses and offer calming energies to bring down the anxiety of high-strung thoroughbreds.

\n

Why Goats?

\n\"Feeding\n

Why exactly are goats such great sidekicks? Maybe you thought goats were just troublemakers finding a not-so-normal snack to devour when no one is looking and definitely getting into mischief.

\n

Experts say that calming goats work like a distraction, merely giving the racer something or someone else to think about. If you have an overly nervous horse, goats are a great add on to any travel and boarding situation, and also have similar forage needs. You can pick-up a Grab & Go® bale and hit the road.

\n

Horses experiencing stress or anxiety can show signs like stall walking, tail tucking, yawning, or the grinding of teeth. As a herd animal, it makes sense that horses would find comfort in having a companion. So why add a calming goat instead of another horse or allow two horses to be stalled next to each other? In some cases, horses bond much more emotionally to other horses, and this can amplify the stress and anxiety when their horse companion is racing or is not there. The bond with a calming goat really feels more like an added comfort rather than a necessity, without the added anxiety of using another horse as a companion. Just like in our favorite Marvel or DC comics, those superheroes need the support of their trusted sidekick to stay balanced and perform their best!

\n\"Horse\n

Sometimes calming goats have multiple horses they support and can move from horse to horse, and the thoroughbreds don’t seem to be bothered by the change in an allegiance if their buddy is still nearby. Just like in every situation, some horses have been known to develop a deeper bond to their specific calming goat. In claiming races, those sidekicks are sometimes sent with the racer so that no one breaks up the duo. Whatever works, right? Imagine Batman without Robbin!

\n

So, while you create that Traditional Kentucky Derby environment at home this year, be sure to think about those unsung heroes behind the scenes supporting healthy horse habits before the races. Silly horse helpers are munching some yummy forage right alongside your top pick. Good luck to all the champions and their sidekicks!

", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/kentucky-derby-race-horse-sidekicks", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 660791, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2020-08-05T00:00:00", "author": "Jessica Wright", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=660791&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/standlee-products-are-the-best-in-quality", "title": "Standlee Premium Products are the Best in Quality", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/cowboy_with_compressed_bale.jpg", "metaTitle": "Standlee Premium Western Forage® Products are the Best in Quality", "metaDescription": "To show the benefit of feeding the highest quality forage or hay-based fiber source for your beloved equine and livestock partners, Standlee Premium Western Forage® commissioned two studies through the Purina Animal Nutrition Center facility near St. Louis, MO.", "body": "

To show the benefit of feeding the highest quality forage or hay-based fiber source for your beloved equine and livestock partners, Standlee Premium Products\n commissioned two studies through the Purina Animal Nutrition Center facility near St. Louis, MO.

\n

The studies focused on both the metabolic response and visual quality indicators of the Alfalfa and Timothy Grass hay varieties. In this blog, we will\n be focusing on the visual indicators of quality for our collective education and knowledge.

\n

To set the stage, Purina published the “Six Signs of Good Quality Hay.” In summary, the following key visual indicators help horse and livestock owners select\n the best quality forage for their animals:

\n
    \n
  1. High Leaf-to-Stem Ratio
  2. \n
  3. Small Diameter Stems
  4. \n
  5. Few Seed Heads or Blooms
  6. \n
  7. Fresh Smell and Appearance
  8. \n
  9. Cleanliness
  10. \n
  11. Hay Color
  12. \n
\"Standlee\n

Research Overview

\n

To evaluate the visual quality indicators, Standlee provided Alfalfa and Timothy Grass forage bales grown on their farms in Idaho and Purina Animal Nutrition\n procured locally grown Midwest hay. Both sources were of typical quality grown by Standlee and found in-market in Missouri. Purina surveyed Purina\n personnel and external visitors to their research facility specifically on the latter 3 attributes above, fresh smell and appearance, cleanliness and\n color.

\n

Visual Quality Results Recap

\n

Standlee Premium Alfalfa and Timothy Grass consistently scored higher by consumers in all subjective measures (appearance, smell, moisture content, cleanliness,\n etc.).

\n

Consumers surveyed believe based on appearance that Standlee forages are superior in quality and nutritional value based on the visual indicators versus\n local Midwest hay.

\n

For nearly 40 years, Standlee farms have carefully managed and cultivated our forage to grow the highest quality crop found in Standlee's bagged and baled\n products. Discover the Standlee Difference to learn more about our processes in the field and at our plant,\n that help create our premium products.

\"Standlee\n
\n

Scientific References:\n

\n

Perron, B.S. & Jacobs, Robert & Jerina, M.L. & Gordon, M.E. & Duren, S.. (2019). Comparative assessment of intake and consumer preference\n of Standlee Premium Western Forage Alfalfa hay versus a locally sourced alfalfa hay using objective attributes. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.\n 76. 96-97. 10.1016/j.jevs.2019.03.136.

\n

Perron, B.S. & Jacobs, Robert & Splan, Rebecca & Jerina, M.L. & Gordon, M.E. & Duren, S.. (2019). Glucose and insulin response to feeding\n Standlee Premium Western Forage Alfalfa hay versus a locally sourced alfalfa hay. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 76. 89. 10.1016/j.jevs.2019.03.119.

\n

Stewart, R.L. & Jacobs, Robert & Jerina, M.L. & Duren, S. & Gordon, M.E.. (2017). A comparative assessment of Standlee Premium Western\n Forage Timothy Hay versus “standard” locally sourced hay based on consumer perspective. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 52. 98. 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.03.146.

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Stewart, R.L. & Jacobs, Robert & Jerina, M.L. & Duren, S. & Gordon, M.E.. (2017). A comparative assessment of Standlee Premium Western\n Forage Timothy Hay versus locally sourced grass hay using nutrient composition, glucose and insulin response, and palatability. Journal of Equine Veterinary\n Science. 52. 77. 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.03.097.

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