What's in a Meal?
The Equine Research Centre, Guelph, Ontario
1. Define your horse's current performance level
ie. breeding, racing, recreation etc. and body condition score. (See ERC's Body
condition scoring fact sheet)
Proper sampling is the key to optimizing your nutritional management program. The sample must reflect the true nutrient composition of the feed. Poor sampling may result in over or under feeding and lost of money and /or performance. The sample you submit should be composed of many sub-samples. One pound of grain or forage submitted may represent several tonnes of feed, a barn full of bales or several acres of pasture. The composition analysis can only be as good as the sample submitted. Contact a feed analysis laboratory or your feed dealer for submission details before taking samples.
HAY - Obtain a hay corer from your feed dealer and randomly bore 10 to 20 bales (as many as possible). Bore each bale one to three times through the small square bale end. Combine all core samples (30-60) in a pail and mix. Take your composite sample for submission from the pail and place in a clean plastic bag. Seal and keep at room temperature until shipping. This sampling should be done periodically as you use hay from the mow or receive new hay shipments.
GRAIN - Randomly collect 10-20 handfuls or scoops from bulk storage, mix in a bucket and take a 1 pound composite sample from this mix and place in a clean plastic bag. From bagged feed that is the same batchor lot, take several handfuls from a bag or preferably a few bags, mix and take a 1 pound sample. Place in a clean plastic bag, seal and store at room temperature until sending to lab.
PASTURE - Using a hedge trimmer or scissors, randomly sample 10-20 sites that the animals are grazing and clip grass to grazing height. Collectsamples in a clean bucket, mix and take a one pound sample from mixture, place in a clean plastic bag, seal and freeze until shipping.
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Updated: October 2005.