What is dry matter? Why does it matter to my horse?
Dry matter is the mass of a food stuff once the moisture has been removed, leaving the dry nutritional content.
You may already know that a maintenance diet for a horse will be based on 2% BW (bodyweight) and a weight loss diet based on 1.5% BW. Though it’s less commonly understood that dry matter should be factored in to this equation. It is crucial we make the adjustment for DM in any weight loss diet plan, and this presents a strong reason to have your forage analysed. If your hay has a DM content of 85% and you fed your horse a 1.5% BW diet without an adjustment for dry matter, you would be underfeeding by over 12%
Forage analysis provides the critical DM content. This contains the nutrition by way of fibre protein minerals fats etc.
Without forage analysis we can work from the following range when considering a diet plan for our horses. Hay DM content can range from 80% to 92%. Haylage DM content can range from 55% to 85%. Grass DM content can range from 16% to 33%
Our Trickle Net forage calculator works on the low end of the hay DM range.