Values for orchardgrass hay

Asked August 12, 2020, 3:29 AM EDT

Hello, I am helping a friend with the nutritional ananlysis of her horses diet. She feeds orchardgrass hay grown locally in Maryland. Are there published values of the nutrient analysis I can use? I can't find anything your webpage. I have NRC publications that have the nutrient content listed but I was hoping to find it for hay typically grown in Maryland. Thank you Sharon A. Benz, Ph. D.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hello Dr. Benz,
That's a tough question to answer since nutritional concentrations in hays vary so much with soil fertility, growing conditions, and stage of maturity at cutting. The most accurate assessment involves sending a representative sample of the hay to a certified forage testing lab and having it analyzed for nutrient content. I know that's not always possible. From my own testings, I find that orchardgrass hay is usually between 0.87 and 0.99 mcal/lb DE, 55-70 % NDF, 8-13 % CP, 0.27-0.27 % Ca, and 0.30-0.34 % P. Perhaps you could estimate the nutrient concentrations based on these values and on a visual assessment of the state of maturity and leafiness of the hay. Here is some additional data I could find on the internet:
- https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Nutritional-composition-of-orchardgrass_tbl2_45513769

And here is a recent study that has published values for orchardgrass hay before soaking that might help you out.

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0737080611006678?token=CC8D8AC411A2CB79BCCEC12752B72BEF3FF43A76DCAEE707CAA1E2AFE6FEBC166EE91A7A5B979630CD42972E39557706

Good luck!