A feedtest is conducted on all oaten hay by AgriFood Technologies Feed Test laboratories, an independent authority, the results of which contribute to determining quality and grade.
The characteristics used to determine this include:
Digestible Dry Matter (DDM)
Providing an estimate of the percentage of the sample that an animal can digest
Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF)
Measuring the fibre that provides the “bulk” or “fill” of the diet and as a result limits intake
Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF)
Consists of the least digestible parts of the plant and is used to calculate the energy values as it relates inversely to digestibility
An indicator of the protein that may be metabolised by the animal
Is it essential that the hay conforms to moisture level specifications (<14.0%) to reduce the risk of mould in transit or storage
Water Soluable Carbohydrates (WSC)
Oaten hay varieties are designed for dairy feeding. These varieties are ‘sweet’ to taste and are charactarised by high levels of water soluable carbohydrates. WSC contributes to metabolized energy levels which are utilized for production and body maintenance. A high level of WSC is a good indicator of the plant nutrient balance and smell that influence the animals preference for choosing and eating oaten hay.
Other characteristics can determine quality and therefore a visual inspection of the hay is important.
Hay colour, the thickness of the stem, rain damage and contamination are all characteristics that are assessed.