The basis of formulating a ration for any animal is to provide the nutrients they need to maintain and perform. Without testing your forage, there is no way to know if your animal is getting too much or too little.  Forages can vary considerably from year to year, even if it comes from the same field. Appearances can also be deceiving; pretty hay may not always be the best.  Testing will give you a much better view of how good your forage really is.

Forage quality is defined in different ways but can be easily misunderstood. Forage generally makes up three fourths or more of your horses diet and yet often receives less consideration then the composition of the grain /supplement portion of the diet.  A balanced diet promotes a healthy, long lived, content horse that will be up to the task it is asked to perform for its owner.

Producing or purchasing suitable quality forage takes some practice. A laboratory analysis
of your forage is used to determine if the quality is adequate for your animals needs. The analysis is also used as a guide to determine the type and quantity of supplemental grain, protein, minerals and vitamins required for a balanced diet.

Taking a representative sample of your hay is relatively easy providing you follow these simple guidelines. Use a Hay Probe, which consists of an 18-24-inch piece of pipe with
a sharp or serrated tip. The pipe has a bracket that fits on an electric drill or hand brace.
Most every feed mill and county extension office will have one for you to rent or borrow.   When sampling small square bales probe the middle of the butt end of the bale. A fair representation of the hay is obtained by probing ten percent of the bales.
Send the entire sample, which is generally one to three cups to our laboratory. 
An Analysis Request Form needs to be filled out and submitted with the sample.
You can easily down load the form from this website:

When you chose the N7H-Equine Choice Analysis the following analysis will be preformed
on the submitted sample. Moisture, protein, fibers, (adf & ndf), fat ash, sugar, non-fiber carbohydrates, mineral composition and digestible energy. The analysis is completed
and emailed, faxed or mailed back to you the same day we receive it.

If you have questions regarding the lab report, feel free to
call our laboratory, we will be glad to answer your questions.