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Devon Haylage

Devon Haylage believes that the discerning horse owner has the right to purchase a consistent, high quality forage product.  Based at Ottery St Mary in East Devon, the company’s grassland has been managed for two generations with a deep knowledge and understanding of the nutritional needs of horses.  Two varieties of haylage are produced; High Fibre Ryegrass and Timothy. 

Forage is by far the most important part of your horse’s diet.  Good quality haylage, which is consistent in content and dry matter and produced specifically for the equine market, can improve the health of horses.  Haylage with a high dry matter is safer and more economical to feed.  The natural fermentation process inhibits the development and spread of dust and fungal spores while increasing the digestibility of the fibre resulting in better utilisation of energy and improved rear gut health.

Good haylage would have been entirely produced by the company on their own farms specifically for the equine market.  This ensures that the haylage is consistent in quality.  The dry matter content is one of the most important things to look at when choosing haylage.  It should ideally be between 70-75% dry matter.  Firstly you are paying for haylage rather than water, secondly it is more economical to feed as your horses’ required daily fibre intake will be met more easily and thirdly the drier the haylage is, the safer it is and there is less chance of secondary fermentation occurring once the bag has been opened.

There are several different types of haylage available on the market.  Generally haylage made from meadow grass does not make good haylage.  There is a higher chance that unwanted and dangerous weeds such as ragwort may be present in the crop and meadow grass adversely affects fermentation, thus affecting the nutritional and microbiological quality of the haylage.  Two species of grass, ryegrass and timothy, each grown specifically for the equine market make good haylage.  For a high fibre product, each should be cut once the seed heads are fully developed and left to wilt until the desired dry matter has been reached, preferably 70-75%.

It may be that you have a horse suffering from or prone to Laminitis.  Laminitis can be an all year round problem especially if the horse is over weight (Obesity Dependant Laminitis).  A laminitic horse must be fed the right forage. Timothy Haylage, produced by Devon Haylage has been tested for the plant sugar ‘Fructan’ and could be the ideal high fibre forage to feed your horse all year round to help prevent and help recover from laminitis.  A sample of our Timothy haylage was independently tested and the results showed that the level of Fructan was below the detectable level of 0.5g/kg (0.05%).  This result indicates that micro-organisms had utilised the majority of Water Soluble carbohydrates (WSC) within the haylage.  Forage with a WSC content below 10% is considered safe to feed to horses suffering from Cushing’s, Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Laminitis.    

Significant health benefits can be achieved by paying close attention to the type and quality of forage you feed.  Look for a quality product that has sound nutritional information available.




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