Hay too costly to waste

The following is the latest “Horse News and Views,” which is prepared by Dr. Bob Wright, Animal Health and Welfare, OMAFRA, in co-operation with the staff and researchers of the University of Guelph.
The monthly column highlights research topics, extension resources, reminders of common poisonings, disease, or production concerns, and coming events, and is placed on our website at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/news.html
With good hay in short supply, and expensive, no one can afford to waste 20 percent or more. But that is what happens when hay is placed on the ground.
In the late 1980s, the Alberta Horse Industry Branch conducted research where horses either were fed on the ground or from a simple plywood box feeder. An alfalfa-grass, mixed hay was fed at a rate to meet the requirements for moderate growth.
The horses fed from the box were significantly heavier.
In addition to wasting feed, hay fed on the ground forms a mat, which will kill any grass under it, creating bare spots in the pasture/paddock and muddy areas.
Meanwhile, new resources available from Equine Guelph and the University of Guelph include:
•A new online biosecurity tool to help assess the risk of introducing infectious disease and control the spread of infections in horses.
The Biosecurity Risk Calculator is available on the Equine Guelph website.
•“EQUIDBLOG” (www.equidblog.com) aims to provide information and insight about equine infectious diseases to horse owners and veterinarians.
The site is co-ordinated by Prof. Scott Weese and Maureen Anderson of Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Pathobiology. They are specialists in large-animal internal medicine, with expertise in infectious diseases and infection control.
For further information, contact Dr. Bob Wright at 1-519846-3412 or visit our website at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/
• • •
New in 2009, the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association has added a “Vet on Call” feature to its website.
Mac Littlejohn of Elgin County will take farmer questions via e-mail regarding any aspect of beef cattle health. Visitors to the website (www.cattle.guelph.on.ca) will see a link to the “Vet on Call” page.
The OCA will keep track of the types of questions being asked and, if there is a trend, will follow up with articles in Ontario Beef magazine.
Dates to remember
•Feb. 5-6—Large animal clinic dates for Dr. Dan Matyasovszky (call 1-807-475-3837 to book an appointment); and
•Feb. 14–Grower Pesticide Safety Course (call 1-800-652-8573 to register).

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