Forages are an important part of the equine diet. Although many Midwestern pastures are comprised of cool season grasses and legumes, annual cover crops can help extend the grazing season to offset the reliance on preserved forages like hay. Therefore, the objectives of the first study were to determine forage mass, forage nutrient composition, and preference of cover crops grazed by horses. Forage nutrient composition of fresh or preserved forages is important when balancing horse rations. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy is a reliable laboratory analysis tool and has rapidly been developed for in-field use. However, nutrient prediction equations are species specific and forages such as alfalfa have not been analyzed in the field. Thus, the objectives of the second study were to develop and validate nutrient prediction equations for fresh alfalfa using a hand-held near infrared reflectance spectroscopy unit in the field.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. June 2021. Major: Animal Sciences. Advisor: Krishona Martinson. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 57 pages.
Advancements in Forage Management: Grazing Horses on Cover Crops and Exploring Hand-Held NIRS Technology.
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