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Extension > Horse Extension - Research Updates > Equine pasture consumption

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Equine pasture consumption

Horses consumed more dry matter during the first 4 hours than the second 4.

Summarized by Kristen Cleary, University of Minnesota undergraduate equine intern

It is difficult to calculate whether a horse that is turned out on pasture for part of the day is receiving adequate nutrition from the forage consumed while grazing, or whether they require additional sources of nutrients. This calculation is complex, in part because of the relative lack of data detailing how much forage the average horse consumes per hour when turned out to pasture.

Researchers at NC State Univ. attempted to address this problem by conducting a study to develop a reliable means with which to estimate how much dry matter horses on pasture consume per hour. The experiment was conducted using 8 horses that were accustomed to grazing. The researchers found that on average, the horses consumed more dry matter during the first 4 hours of grazing as compared with the second 4 hours. These findings are important for horse owners who must account for the varying amount of forage that is consumed when grazing.

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