The Horse

OCT 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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42 October 2018 The Horse | develop a good relationship with your hay producer, who can tell you what weeds are in the general vicinity." Q Should I be concerned about the use of the herbicide glyphosate in growing hay? Glyphosate is not commonly used in hay production during the growing sea- son, says Meccage, except in the case of RoundUp Ready alfalfa. This nonselective (kills both grasses and broadleaf plants), burn-down (controls plants already emerged and growing) herbicide is broad- spectrum, meaning it kills whatever vegetation it touches. "It is mainly going to affect the tissue it is applied to, but there is some transloca- tion to other parts of the plants (i.e., the roots)," says Meccage. "More commonly it will be used very early in the spring when weeds are starting to grow but before our desired forage has broken dormancy. In most cases it does not make sense to apply glyphosate in-season, as it will kill all forage it touches." Meccage says all herbicides have what is called a preharvest or pregrazing inter- val. "This means that strenuous testing has been done to determine how long it takes for that chemical to break down so that it won't be ingested or be available at high enough amounts to create any issues in our livestock or horses," she says. "Luckily for us, glyphosate has a relatively short half-life, so it breaks down fairly readily and is safe for grazing or haying shortly after application (as well as being safe for us to handle). The same rule follows for other common herbi- cides such as GrazonNext (a broadleaf herbicide often used in grass pastures). Horse owners should keep in mind that it is illegal for any producer to harvest or allow animals to graze a field prior to the harvest/grazing interval." While many producers strive to limit the amount of herbicide they apply— because it costs time and money—their end goal is to have a healthy stand of hay that can outcompete weeds. Eliminat- ing those weeds with herbicides is often still the most economical option, says Meccage. "My best advice is to get to know your producer," she says. "If local, you can ask questions of what weeds they deal with and what herbicides they use. Almost all producers are very cognizant of the rules and regulations surrounding herbicide application. In general, even if your hay had been spot-sprayed with glyphosate that season, it is going to be safe, with extremely low to zero amounts of residue by the time you need to feed it." Take-Home Message Because forage is the basis of all hors- es' diets, it's critical that we understand what we're feeding and what hay options are out there. I hope the ideas and guide- lines these nutritionists provided will equip you well for your hay-finding and -feeding journey. . h NUTRITION Natural HERBS Natural herbs, minerals and HIGH DOSE VITAMIN E Just 95 ¢ per day! Also good for nervous/ anxious geldings/stallions Ask for it by name or call 800-578-9234 for a dealer near you!

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