Working with Hay Analysis Results

Now that you've had your forage analyzed, what are you going to do with the results?
If you are new to the concept of mineral balancing, consider getting professional input. This might include
  • University or county extension based nutritionists
  • Veterinarians who have studied nutrition
  • Feed company nutritionists
  • Independent equine nutritionists
Not all professionals are familiar with balancing minerals to forage; some may feel it's sufficient to supply basic NRC minimum requirements and many are unfamiliar with the concept of iron overload. Feed company nutritionists have an obvious obligation to promote their company's products. 

Eleanor Kellon, VMD has been a pioneer in studying the impact of nutrition on equine health and performance.  Her students have become well versed in formulating equine diets based on NRC guidelines and the latest in nutrition research.  Some now provide independent consulting services while others provide informal assistance balancing equine diets through the Equine Cushings and related groups online.

Excel workbooks are available to help calculate a balanced diet. They are a useful tool but, without an understanding of the basics and interactions of various nutrients, simply "going by the numbers" can get you in to trouble. It's also imperative that you can do the calculations by hand without relying on spreadsheets - this is the only way to ensure understanding of the concepts. The NRC Plus course can teach you the basics and nuances you need to know to successfully pull an equine diet together.  The online discussion during class is invaluable and after completion the NRC Plus Grads group provides an ongoing forum for problem solving, practice and continued learning, and you can repeat each class as often as you wish until you feel your skills are strong enough to work independently.