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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING ALFALFA AND OTHER FORAGE CROPS FOR BIOENERGY, LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: The effect of soaking hay on dry matter loss and fructan removal

Authors
item Martinson, Krishona -
item Jung, Hans Joachim
item Hathaway, Marcia -
item Sheaffer, Craig -

Submitted to: Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 2011
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Citation: Martinson, K., Jung, H.G., Hathaway, M., Sheaffer, C. 2011. The effect of soaking hay on dry matter loss and fructan removal [abstract]. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 31(5-6):278-279.

Technical Abstract: Intake of fructans has been shown to induce laminitis in horses. To manage laminitic horses, owners have resorted to hay soaking to reduce the amounts of these carbohydrates in harvested forage. The objective of this research was to determine the loss of dry matter and fructans from baled hay after soaking in water. Five hays were evaluated: early bud (AB) and flowering alfalfa (AF), alfalfa/orchardgrass (AO), and vegetative (VO) and flowering orchardgrass (OF). Soaking treatments included 15, 30, and 60 min in cold (220 C) and warm (390 C) tap water, 12 hours in cold tap water, and a non-soak control. Hay flakes were weighed, placed in a mesh bag, and submerged in 25 L of tap water. After soaking, flakes were drained for 30 min before drying at 60 C for 72 h. Hays were analyzed for fructan content and dry matter losses were calculated. Soaking for 12 h resulted in the greatest amount of dry matter loss for all hays. For AB, AF, VO, and OF, few differences were observed between 15, 30, or 60 min soakings, regardless of water temperature. For AO, soaking for 15 min resulted in less dry matter loss compared to 60 min in warm and 12 h in cold water. For AO and OF, fructan content was reduced when soaked in warm water for 30 min, warm or cold water for 60 min, and for 12 h. All soaking treatments, except 30 min in warm water, reduced fructan concentration for VO. Percent fructan removal was similar between the pure orchardgrass hays, regardless of maturity. The 12 h soak resulted in the greatest percent removal of fructan for VO and OF. For the mixed AO, the greatest percent removal of fructan resulted from the 60 min and 12 h soaks. Soaking baled hay in water reduced fructan concentrations but also resulted in significant dry matter losses. Because dietary fructan recommendations are currently unknown, horse owners appear to have two options -- soak hay for 15 to 30 min in warm water for some fructan removal and minimal dry matter losses, or soak hay for 12 h for maximal fructan removal at the cost of significant dry matter loss.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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