Health Hay Storage – Straight from the Horses Mouth
RTE’s Ear to the Ground featured Clonmel Covers’ Easy Fit Windbreakers
Last summer’s hay harvest was record breaking for Irish farmers in terms of yield and weather conditions. We generally assume that hay will feed and bed livestock but often overlooked is the importance of producing hay for racehorse diets. It forms a key component of their feed and producing and maintaining the quality of hay is vital especially in performance horses. A good harvest ensures good feeding throughout the year but in ineffective storage will impact on its nutritional quality and may lead to complications in the animal such as hay-induced colic or simply refusing to eat it.
This challenge sets in immediately after cutting and baling – how to preserve the quality of the hay. High summer temperatures pose a danger of heat from the sun drying it too quickly and deterioration from light exposure. Bales have to be quickly transported to and stacked in the sheds.
Storing Hay Bales
Hay must be at optimum quality levels for racehorses and stallions diet. If stored in damp, humid conditions the nutritional value depletes, speeding up its short shelf life. After one year the vitamin content in a bale of hay is severely diminished. It must be well ventilated in storage and protected from light, dust and mould to counteract potential respiratory problems for the horses.
A Easy Fit windbreaker system fitted to the shed’s gable end, as shown in the video clip, is a simple solution in helping to preserve and stabilise conditions in storing hay. The ventilation it provides helps remove moisture, heat and bugs. The windbreakers flexible openings make access by machinery safe and efficient, especially at a busy yard.
This is just one insight into the scale of efforts to optimise horseracing results. All of the teamwork in constant care, training and preparation culminates at the races. We look forward to the usual drama and excitement from one of the highlights of the Irish racing calendar, Cheltenham next week and wish everyone competing or betting, the very best of luck from the team at Clonmel Covers.
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