What is Haylage?
Haylage is grass,
cut just like hay but, instead of being allowed to dry out completely,
it is baled when the moisture content is still relatively high. Dust
and spores are retained along with the moisture and will not become
airborne when the bale is opened.
The bales are immediately
wrapped in multiple layers of polythene to exclude all air from the
bale and allow a mild fermentation to take place to preserve the bale
with no waste. Our production of haylage is entirely natural and we
do not use any artificial preservatives.
The haylage is
then left for 10 to 14 weeks when each batch will be laboratory analysed
to check not only the nutritional levels but also for moulds and spores.
Assuming that the results meet our high standards, the haylage is then
ready for feeding.
Why Feed Haylage?
Horses need adequate fibre in their diet to keep their large intestine
working properly and, traditionally, in the winter period, this has
been supplied by hay. Good quality hay does provide the fibre the horse
requires but does have some drawbacks. Apart from the possible difficulty
of actually sourcing the hay, the main problem results from dust and
mould spores present in the hay. Estimates of the proportion of horses
suffering from respiratory difficulties vary considerably; but if your
horse is coughing there is a high chance that they have a problem and
are likely to be having an allergic reaction.
To overcome the
problem, hay is often soaked in the hope that the dust and spores will
stick to the plant stems and be swallowed rather than inhaled. As anybody
who has had to do this will tell you, soaking hay is a time-consuming
and messy task. Soaking hay also reducing considerably the nutritional
value and the waste water is a pollutant similar to sewage.
Advantages of haylage versus hay