What Hay Are You Feeding Your Horses?

Advice for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Client's Request: I'd like to feed my horses with Orchard Grass Hay. I'd like to be assured that it is "safe" for the horses and get it tested and analyzed to assure that it is "safe". Can you point me to labs that do that type of testing?And does UC do that type of testing like other states do?

Help Desk Response:  Thank you for calling the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk. You asked about finding a testing facility for your orchard grass hay.  The University of California does not provide this testing service outside of their own research, but here is some information below that may be helpful to you.

The National Forage Testing Association has a list of certified labs, some of which are in California:

Here is an article from the Western Farm Press listing the California labs.

Also, an internet search 'Hay analysis for horses' came up with a number of good sites, including those from horse journals and university extension websites, with information on this subject. 

If you contact one of the above certified labs, they will advise you on how to collect and submit the samples.

I hope this is helpful, and that your horses are in the best of health!

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (SMW)

Note:  UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available almost year-round to answer your gardening questions.  Except for a few holidays (e.g., last 2 weeks December), we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 2380 Bisso Lane, Concord, CA 94520. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925) 608-6683, email: ccmg@ucanr.edu, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/. MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ignore.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog.

By Steve I Morse
Author - Contra Costa County Master Gardener