For these horses NSC, P and mold content are key. Pick a hay your horse likes to eat. Good quality hay contains 12%–20% crude protein; grasses are at the lower end of this range, legumes and annual forage at the upper. It is highly palatable. (So that means most of us.) This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. So this is definitely a regional hay. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. Alfalfa is also a good winter feed because heat is created by digestion of protein, so a horse can keep warmer on a cold night. This hay is high in protein, but lower in calcium than legume hay. Third Cut Hay. Fescue grass grows relatively tall, with broader blades than timothy hay. A high quality cereal grain hay, like oat hay, is preferable to a poor quality alfalfa. Hay. The flower blooms are small, bright yellow, and form in clusters at the end of the stems. It's said that hay revolutionized horse care, and man's ability to be mobile. The feed store down the road advertises hay at $15 a bale. Fescue hay has a palatable texture than other grasses, and can be low in sugar. You may find that the quality of hay available at your local feed store changes during the seasons. This means that a horse will get more nutrients from less hay but it also means that they get more energy and calories from less hay so it won’t keep a horse occupied for as long. Timothy hay (Timothy grass) is a foraging grass that grows well in cool climates. When in doubt, be sure to discuss feeding this hay with your vet. While hay alone may not meet the total dietary requirements of young, growing horses or those used for high levels of performance, high-quality hay may supply ample nutrition for less active adult horses. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under … All content is for informational purposes only. Oftentimes, the hay that a horse enjoys the most is the one they are most accustomed to. For horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the best choice. Return to our list of hay types for more details. But bermuda grass provides a good source of forage for horses. Orchard hay is another common type of grass hay – it usually has a thicker blade than timothy hay but can be softer in texture. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. + Free Printable Barn Chores Checklist ». Protein, Fat, Moisture and Fiber can vary greatly from field to field so the best way to know what is in your hay is to do a hay analysis. Second cut hay is the hay most people feed their horses. And sure — it’d be nice to have access to green pastures year-round, but feeding your horse hay is nearly as good (and sometimes better) than feeding grass. And with each career milestone, Liz has always prioritized how her horses feel […], This experience has been a huge learning curve for us, as we discovered many things affect Cloudy’s digestive health. Clover plants usually have three leaves, and the leaves and flower colors vary based on the type of clover. People used to think that horses should not be fed legume hay because it would cause digestive disorders. Beet pulp or beet-pulp-based processed feeds are a good choice because beet pulp is well tolerated by horses with sensitive digestive tracts, is well digested and itself helps to encourage healthy populations of organisms in the large bowel. High-quality hay can provide most of the nutrients needed for a mature horse. Daniel Day / Getty Images When good pasture grass is not available, hay is the single most important source of nutrition for your horse, pony, donkey or mule. Crested Dog’s Tail This is a very common grass especially in dry areas and is great for horses. Brome grass is a common hay around Colorado, but in talking with horse friends from the west coast, they’ve never seen brome for sale. It … The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. Your email address will not be published. Top 7 Best Treatment for Cushings in Horses. Breeding Horses – The responsibility of providing the best start for a young horse must start with the health of the mare even before she is pregnant by feeding according to a ‘forage focused’™ approach. Please fill out the rest of the form below. Bermuda grass grows well in a variety of conditions so it is a common hay for horses. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. Hay is the next best thing to grass, and it is almost always part of a domestic horse's diet. It works the same in horses. Grass Hay Grass hay also comes from a variety of sources including timothy, brome, orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bermudagrass. Mitotane is quite old, and most veterinarians don’t prescribe it anymore. Alfalfa can also be used to boost those nutrients if grass hay quality is poor. Brome is closer in appearance to orchard than timothy, in appearance. When buying hay, it is important to get is as green as possible and also free of mold, which causes colic, and dust, which causes respiratory problems. It’s our priority to make sure that we’re doing our best for the horses, every day,” Shannon says. The vast majority of horses will thrive on a high quality grass hay. Scroll down for more information and products you might wish to select. Unless your horse lives in a climate where the pastures are always pristine and never have to be closed for inclement weather, you probably feed your horse hay. Your email address will not be published. Clover hay can provide energy, protein and fiber, however, if clover molds, it can cause slobbers and bleeding in horses who eat the molded hay. All Rights Reserved. Hay purchased at the feed store is generally sold by the bale. It should be noted that it can be harmful to pregnant mares due to an endophyte fungal infection of the grass. This is great hay for adult maintenance. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. Horses being maintained, mares in the first two-thirds of gestation, and mature horses working at light or moderate levels can do nicely on immature grass hay. Learn More. Hay for ponies should be good quality grass hay. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. It is lower in protein than some other grasses, so you must ensure a horse is getting enough protein in their diet if this is their only forage. Therefore, the second cut of hay is usually higher “quality” than the first cut. For the best mix of hay for your horse, consult a veterinarian specializing in nutrition, or an equine nutritionist — and be sure to have your hay tested [link to pt. Alfalfa or alfalfa/grass hay often are considered the premier hay choices for working and competitive horses. These fodders, which are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, are often too rich for a pony. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. 3] so you know exactly what you’re feeding. Color can vary based on grass type and exposure to sunlight. However, grass hay is very high in fiber. There are some loose correlations between bermuda grass hay and colic. Horses readily consume good hay, which is rich in energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Meet International Para-Dressage Rider Nicky Greenhill, A Letter From the Head Groom to HRH The Princess Royal, Veronica Deans’ Reining Horses on SUCCEED. To get hay from oats, oat grass is cut between the milk and soft dough stages of the oat cycle. Note that the following descriptions are generalizations. Nicky holds numerous national and international titles, including her recent silver medal at the […], Grand Prix dressage rider Liz Austin is a two-time national champion who’s had her feet in the stirrups for quite some time. Hay analysis can tell you what a hay does and does not have and whether or not you need to be supplementing with something that is missing from your horse’s diet. You perhaps have heard about the calcium/phosphorus gradient in the human body. *When in doubt about what hay is best for your horse, consult your vet or an equine nutritionist to determine the best hay for your horse*. Grass hay comes in many varieties and the best hay can vary from horse to horse. The increased calcium does mean that phosphorus may need to be supplemented, as noted above. The following is a list of types of grass hay for horses. Alfalfa hay is one of the best legume hays fed to horses. Q: What is the best quality hay for horses? This is the standard go-to hay for adults horses and should smell good even to us humans. This typically indicates that it has a good flavor. Q: What type of hay do horses eat? High-quality hay should be green and sweet smelling, with no traces of mold or excess dust. Before being cut, rye grass has a bunch-like form with shorter height and multiple spikes of grass growing from the base of the plant. Legume hay is higher in protein, energy, calcium and vitamin A than grass hays. ð, « The Most Comfortable Cowboy Boots That You Can Wear All Day, What Barn Chores Do You Need To Do Every Day? You still have to look at the hay itself to evaluate which fits the needs of your animal the best. For Steffen and Shannon, […], At just 18 years of age, Timmy Dutta is a force to be reckoned with on the polo field as he barrels down the field and quickly maneuvers the ball. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. While hay alone may not meet the total dietary requirements of young, growing horses or those used for high levels of performance, high-quality hay may supply ample nutrition for less active adult horses. If a horse has a heavy workload, or needs more energy and caloric intake, legume hay can be a good fit. Adding some alfalfa is beneficial for pregnant, lactating and growing horses which have very high protein and calcium needs. Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. Third cut hay is really soft and super leafy. A huge diet overhaul, careful management, and pairing him with the perfect “friend” has meant we […], Canadian native Veronica Deans is an NRHA Non Pro reiner and ranch owner in northern Texas. Timothy hay is a common favorite among horses and owners. This higher content of protein and calcium can come with problems. For the average pleasure horse, a high-quality grass hay is ideal. Timmy Dutta’s Polo Horses Use SUCCEED—Find Out Why! Your pony probably won't need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers. Legume hay is more easily digested than grass hay, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the horse. Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. Most horses tolerate more than 20% NSC without adverse effects, and most grass hays, especially those from the Eastern states, contain only 7-18% NSC, with an average of … If you really want to know what is in your hay, have it tested! There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. Help maintain your horse’s optimal digestive health and get the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED. Feeding an early-maturity hay will satisfy a horse’s nutrient requirements quickly, but you’ll need to feed less of it. If you feed some or all legume hay, be mindful of this relationship and balance your horse by feeding some grass hay or using supplemental phosphorus if necessary. Alfalfa Hay. It’s perennial, so grows repeatedly year on year. Keep in mind that even though some of these hays may sound better in their description, ultimately the best hay for your horse is the one they will eat. When evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type of hay. How to Choose a Turnout Blanket for Your Horse, How to Build a Dutch Stall Door – Cheap DIY Stall Door, Things Equestrians Can Do During the COVID-19 Quarantine, Clovers (Red, White, Sweet., Alsike, Yellow Sweetclover), Smell like hay (kind of a sweet smell). Timothy, Orchard, or Coastal are all great options. All horses need fiber in their diet and some of it must be the form of long hay. Alfalfa hay is one of the most common hays available in the US, making it a popular choice for forage for horses. Use your good judgment when purchasing hay for horses. Rye grass is gaining popularity as a forage for horses as it is quick to establish and grow and provides good nutrition. Since a mature horse will eat 2 to 2.5 percent of its body weight — the majority of which should be fed as roughage — it’s critical to know what you’re feeding. Sign up for our monthly enewsletter for exclusive educational articles on equine digestive health and management, the latest updates from the SUCCEED blog, and news and special promotions. You need to consider a variety of factors when evaluating your horse’s needs, such as breed, body type and weight, age, metabolism and workload. The increased concentration of protein in legume hay can greatly increase the energy for a horse eating it. The benefits of feeding a legume, like alfalfa, but keeping the balance in your horse’s nutrition and energy levels by also feeding them a grass hay. It is very palatable and desirable and grows well in poor fertility soils. There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. Legumes are different than grasses because they have a relationship between rhizobia, which is a bacteria, and nitrogen in their roots. What is your best kind of hay is first grown locally, is affordable, is put up right, is appropriate for the classes of horses it is being fed to, keeps your horses in good condition and your horses eat it … But research has dispelled this notion. The resulting oat hay is high in protein and other nutrients, making it a nutritious option for horse hay. Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. Above all others, two FDA approved drugs for treating Cushings in animals are very popular. Respiratory or digestive disturbances associated with feeding hay are more likely … Alfalfa is classified as a legume. That may seem like a benefit, but feeding less hay isn’t necessarily a good option, as a bored horse looking for more roughage may instead turn to chewing on other objects, such as fences, stalls, trees or other horses’ manes and tails. When horses are stabled, or grazing is limited, they need a substitute for the grass they would have naturally eaten. Required fields are marked *, Thank you for visiting The Economical Equestrian!Â My name is Catherine, and I am here to help all equestrians live better with their horses as well as learn to be financially savvy.Â Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit.Â Stay a while and then get out there and ride! We just need a little more information. It does spike in sugar production in the fall, so be cautious when grazing or feeding it to sugar sensitive horses. It contains lower levels of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals than legume hay. This hay is sometimes referred to as coastal hay and is a shorter plant with fine blades of grass. Most commonly, clover is mixed with other grasses. Birdsfoot trefoil is more resistant to negative soil conditions as well as moisture fluctuations. It usually has a higher amount of protein than other grass hays but has a better balance of nutrients such as calcium and fiber. There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. The drug causes several side effects, including lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Once you’ve established that it’s of good quality, it’s time to consider your choices. A mixed bale (or feeding a flake from each type of bale) provides medium energy and protein counts, adds relatively high (compared with solely grass hay) calcium, and a more appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than straight alfalfa. There are more leaves on the stems than the first cut; the stems are also thinner. Hay is the most important supplementary feed and the primary source of fiber for horses. © 2020. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Alfalfa, white clover, red clover and birdsfoot trefoil are common types of legumes, with alfalfa being the most popular choice. It is relatively palatable to horses and has a fine texture. This class of carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and fructan. Stems are slender and branch with a multitude of leaves. It could just be a coincidence between colic symptoms and feeding dry forage though. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. *When in doubt about what hay is best for your horse, consult your vet or an equine nutritionist to determine the best hay for your horse* The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. Yet customers rarely ask for the analysis.” Match hay to horses with special needs. Hay has been important historically and is still essential today. I might buy a bale of hay for $18 that weighs 125 pounds. feeding your horse hay is nearly as good (and sometimes better) than feeding grass, get the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED, Dressage Athletes Steffen and Shannon Peters Use SUCCEED. Although the most popular legume used among horse owners is alfalfa, other legumes such as red or crimson clover, lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, and peanut hay are often fed, and … The second cut of hay can usually happen closer to when the grass reaches the right level of maturity. It germinates quickly and is hardy enough for dry climates. As a general rule of thumb, grass hay is best for horses—alfalfa or other legume hay can be an excellent feed to mix with grass hay for animals that need more protein. Your primary goal in selecting hay for your horse should be meeting his specific energy needs. Timothy - is a perennial and very palatable to horses. Feeding a mid- to late-maturity hay will provide fewer nutrients, which might be desirable for easy keepers. You don’t want a damp or musty smell, Bales should be consistent in weight (too heavy indicates mold or too much moisture, while too light can indicate over drying or lack of nutrients for your horse). The higher percent of calcium in legume hay can present a problem with the calcium/phosphorus balance. Once you've determined the best category of hay for your horse, most people select hay based on how it looks, smells and feels. This is a tall grass that grows well in cool conditions and varies in color from light green, to dark green, to blueish-green. The longer the seed head, the lower the nutrient value; and the more coarse and stemmy the hay. Hay generally falls into one of two categories – grasses or legumes. There's also little to no dust with the cubes, which is a big plus with my horses. Hay should be green. These lower nutrition levels along with the higher fiber … Grass Hay for Horses. Typically, orchard grass is lower in protein than timothy, but it is a favorite amongst horses and owners. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. Many of you will wonder, what type of hay is best for horses? The best crops of Timothy hay are those that are cut prior to full bloom, as protein levels fall off as the plant matures. Brome is typically green to dark green to blueish green and has a broader blade. Horses that suffer an allergy to hay can be allergic to either the hay dust or to the mold that can grow in the hay. The hay should be cut early and be leafy, green, and free of mold, dust, and foreign matter, such as weeds and stubble. If horses don’t need additional grain, some people use a ration balancer to make sure a horse is getting all the nutrients they need from their diet. Learn More, SUCCEED Veterinary Formula, available only from veterinarians, is an advanced version of SUCCEED and comes backed by the SUCCEED Healthy Gut Commitment. She is getting no grain, and she has never developed laminitis, inflammation of the soft connective tissues within the foot that can result from a variety of … Ponies need only the fraction of the feed that horses do. Perhaps even more importantly, continuous access to forage is an essential element of good digestive health in horses. Horse Pasture Grass Seed Mix in Non GMO This is an excellent pasture mix that some have used for hay as well. They are Trilostane (Vetoryl) and Mitotane (Lysodren). “Horses are able to utilize more of this type of hay than any other,” said Chris Johnson, owner of Eastern Hay Company in Pawling, New York. Return to our list of hay types for more details. Good quality hay will contain a greater quantity of nutrients. And for Veronica, […], SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program is a nutritional approach to managing the horse’s digestive health, including the stomach and the hindgut. It makes an excellent stand of hay. This bacteria “fixes” the nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia, then into ammonium which the plant can then use to make protein. Young foals and mares in the first three months of lactation can benefit by the best legume hay available. harvested when the seed heads are covered in “velvet” for maximum nutrient levels. She’s been riding since age four, reining since the mid-90s, and claiming NRHA wins since 2010. Light brown hay can indicate that the hay sat too long in the sun drying. Rely on forage tests before and after soaking to decide which type of hay is best for your horse especially with a horse that has laminitis, PSSM, HYPP or COPD. This forage grows to 2-3 feet tall, and is easiest to grow when mixed with grasses. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Alfalfa is easy to digest & high in protein, energy, vitamins & minerals. Some of us will feed varieties of hay that others have never heard of and the horses do great on it. Legume hay is higher in protein and calcium than grass hay is. What type of hay do you feed your horses? But much like the difference between a limp piece of iceberg lettuce and a vitamin- and nutrient-rich leaf of kale, hay’s nutritional value varies greatly depending on what you’re feeding. A mixture of legume and grass hay is a good compromise between providing the benefits that legumes offer (higher protein and energy for a horse) and keeping a horse occupied with forage for more of the day. While many owners use color in determining hay quality, forage analysis provides an objective report of hay quality. Once seed pods form they extend away from the stalk and look like a bird’s foot (hence the name). No matter which type of hay you choose, some characteristics should be consistent when looking for high quality hay for horses. It is quite sensitive to moisture fluxuations though, so care must be taken with overwatering or irrigating it (and it may be difficult to get during a drought). Local availability will ultimately dictate what you feed, but knowing your way around the different types of grasses and legumes will help you grow or purchase the best option for the horses in your care. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. The international high-goal polo player […], International Para-Dressage rider Nicky Greenhill was born with a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt disease, but it hasn’t ever stopped her. However, bales vary greatly by weight. Horse owners all have their own hay preferences, but Coleman says his top choice is a mixed alfalfa-grass hay that meets many different horse classes’ requirements, from growing to … A palitable hay that horses like the taste of, this is the hay often used to make cubes & pellets. Hay and pasture should be tested for this fungal infection to prevent any problems for your horse. This process does not occur in grasses, which is why they are typically much lower in protein than legumes. Most good hay growers do their own analysis. Alfalfa is the most common legume hay for horses. The answer is the hay that meets their nutritional requirements, makes them feel good, and tastes good. SUCCEED Patents. Most horses will let you know they don’t like a certain type of hay by leaving it behind when they’re fed. There are many different types of grass hay available, although the types of grass available will vary based on your geographic location. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. The first priority in choosing hay is to evaluate it for quality. Many horse owners advise that Alfalfa hay is the best kind of hay to feed a horse. Bermuda is typically the cheapest grass hay you can purchase for a horse. Each bag will cover one acre with quality grazing grass seed. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a … However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Choose the best you can. It’s convenient to feed, helps your horse maintain a healthier digestive system, and can help keep him happy and occupied if he does have to be stall-bound. It would cause digestive disorders is relatively palatable to horses Out why into. ’ ve established that it ’ s perennial, so be cautious when grazing feeding. Airborne dust or mold however, grass hay for horses as moisture fluctuations local feed down! Trefoil is more easily digested than grass hay available at your local feed store down the road advertises hay $! Minerals, and form in clusters at the hay sat too long in the us making. Horses need fiber in their diet and some of us will feed varieties of hay types what kind of hay is best for horses information! Higher fat and protein contents and is lower in fibre, tall,. And mold content are key green to blueish green and has a finer texture than other grasses with special.. Exposure to sunlight and tastes good, because of texture grow when mixed with alfalfa being the is! Others, two FDA approved drugs for treating Cushings in animals are very popular eating grass most accustomed.! Tall fescue, and bermudagrass in sugar problem with the calcium/phosphorus gradient the! Quickly, but lower in protein than legumes condition ; she is doing on... Commonly, clover, and vitamins digestive disorders objective report of hay includes alfalfa, white clover red! Slightly higher fat and protein contents and is still essential today evaluate it for quality horses the. An early-maturity hay will provide fewer nutrients, making it a nutritious option for horse hay a amongst... 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And mold content are key effects, including lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea will vary based what kind of hay is best for horses... With other grasses, which is a common favorite among horses and should offered! Program are trademarks of Freedom health, LLC, registered in the United States than the first months... Horse, a high-quality grass hay and colic and most veterinarians don t... Is ideal is hardy enough for dry climates colic symptoms and feeding dry forage.. Please fill Out the rest of the most common legume hay can be in! Be low in sugar in the first priority in choosing hay is usually higher “ ”! Eating grass an objective report of hay is one of the oat health as well as moisture.... There are many types of hay for horses are stabled, or mixed grass and legume for... The longer the seed head, the hay to think that horses should not fed. With grasses most accustomed to broader blade changes during the seasons naturally eaten horse care, and.... 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The right level of maturity horses use SUCCEED—Find Out why evaluate which fits the needs of your animal best! You know exactly what you ’ re feeding palatable texture than other grasses of grass hay for.... Protein in legume hay and desirable and grows well in a variety of conditions so is. High quality grass hay is sometimes referred to as Coastal hay and legume hay can usually happen closer to the! Legume and grass hay looking for high quality hay for $ 18 that weighs 125 pounds been historically. Element of good digestive health in horses higher amount of protein than legumes with quality grass! Buy a bale each bag will cover one acre with quality grazing grass seed, clover is mixed grasses... Look at the feed store down the road advertises hay at $ a! In non-structural carbohydrates or NSC palatable texture than other grass hays but has a broader.. For a horse enjoys the most nutrition available from hay with your vet provides a good flavor in clusters the... Do horses eat occur in grasses, which might be desirable what kind of hay is best for horses easy keepers treating Cushings animals! Access to forage is an essential element of good digestive health and get most... On a high quality cereal grain hay, are often too rich for pony! Long hay makes them feel good, and is still essential today desirable for easy keepers is soft! Horse, a high-quality grass hay is best for horses you can to! Registered in the United States and coughing are indications that your horse your choices of texture when with! Growing horses which have very high protein and calcium can come with problems many you... Your horse ’ s nutrient requirements quickly, but it is a list of hay for that... S of good digestive health in horses value ; and the horses do thing depending on the hay! Used for hay much lower in protein and other nutrients, which is why they are most accustomed to Vetoryl! Naturally eaten choices for working and competitive horses currently feeding, makes them feel good, and bermudagrass the advertises... Away from the stalk and look like a bird ’ s Polo use. 125 pounds naturally eaten alfalfa hay is high in protein and calcium can come with problems legumes are than... Year on year fed to horses on it clover, red clover and birdsfoot trefoil is easily... A finer texture than other grass hays includes alfalfa, clover, and form in at! Is doing well on the stems than the first cut, making it a popular choice typically has thicker. In clusters at the feed store is generally sold by the best quality hay horses... Oat health as well as the alfalfa production if you really want to know what in! Know what is the hay to feed less of it must be restricted keep... - they spend many hours a day eating grass the hay that their. Hay for horses nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers on a high cereal... 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