Wet summer poses problems for horses

By Gary Sliworsky, Ag rep, Emo

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 at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/news.html
The wet weather has provided ideal conditions for growth of annual weeds, made the drying and storage of hay difficult, and will lead to a number of problems that will affect horses throughout the winter (e.g., heaves) and into next summer in the form of weedy pastures.
As a horse owner, if you have not already obtained adequate supplies of small, dry, square bales of hay for the winter, then expect that the availability will be limited and prices will be
significantly higher.
Much of the 2008 hay crop received some rain damage, or was made into wrapped/bagged haylage or treated with preservatives.
Refer to the information sheet “Hay, Haylage and Treated Hay for Horses” on the horse section of the OMAFRA website for advice on feeding these commodities.
The wet summer also resulted in significant growth of fusarium mold in wheat and grain crops, and the straw from these crops. Information on this topic can be found in the information sheet “Molds, Mycotoxins and Their Effect on Horses.”
What we won’t see until next year, and for the next five-seven years, is the result of an abundance of annual weeds, such as foxtail, mustard and ragweed.
These plants proliferated this year and, if left unchecked and allowed to go to seed, will result in weedy conditions in upcoming seasons.
For more information, contact Dr. Bob Wright 1-519-846-3412 or www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/
Dates to remember
•Nov. 6-8—Large animal clinic dates for Dr. Stacey Angus (call 1-204-422-8749 to book an appointment).

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