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