The ABCs of Quality Hay
Many people grow their own hay. If you,
like most horse owners, cannot grow
and harvest your own hay, how do you
ensure that the hay you are buying is of
good quality with the proper nutrition
for your animals?
Traditionally good hay is green and leafy,
smells and tastes sweet and should be
without mold, dust, weeds, bugs or rain
Looks can be deceiving! A proven
method of evaluating forages without an
agronomy degree is to obtain the RFV
number. RFV (relative Feed Value)
measures digestibility and the amount of
energy potential available to the animal.
RFV is measured in a six tiered scale with a range between zero and
150. A value of 100 represents
average good quality hay. The tiers are as follows: Prime over 150;
Fair-87-102; Poor-75-86; Reject-under 74. The higher the RFV the
better the digestibility of
whichever hay you purchase.
Knowing the RFV number is a good indication of the quality of the
hay. Your hay supplier should
provide you with this number. If not you can have a sample tested by
an approved testing center.
RFV will ensure good quality forage and keep it as simple as ABC.
(By Luis Valdes, Aiken Hay
Farms, Aiken, SC)
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