Forage-based diets are best for the overall health of horses as forage provides valuable nutrients such as energy, protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. As well as this, grazing is important for gut fill and buffering, crucial for gut bacteria health and vitamin production as well as helping to keep horses hydrated, and let’s not forget that the act of grazing is so important for mental and physical stimulation.
However, there are some challenges to providing horses with a healthy, balanced forage-based diet such as it can be extremely challenging to grow, healthy productive pasture and even the best quality pasture and hay won’t be able to provide horses with all of their nutrient requirements.
Helping horse owners solve these challenges is where AgSolutions’ excels as we specialise in both soil and animal nutrition.
The performance of your pastures and grazing horses not only depends on the condition of your soil but being able to avoid over grazing and implementing suitable rest periods for paddocks. In order to be able to grow high yielding, nutrient rich pasture or hay you need to invest in improving the three aspects of soil fertility. NatraMin products all provide a source of broad spectrum macro and trace minerals to help improve soil nutrition. NatraMin also helps promote microbe and worm activity in the soil by containing a biological stimulant. Improving soil biology is vital to helping convert minerals into a plant available form. NatraMin also acts as a soil conditioner to soften soils, reduce soil surface crusting and improve soil water holding capacity.
As a mineral fertiliser and soil conditioner, NatraMin has another advantage for horse owners as it is completely safe, with no withholding period so horses can graze pasture immediately after application. AgSolutions can also assist with providing a soil management plan by looking at any existing soil tests or assisting with getting a soil test done to help determine the soil deficiencies and what fertiliser blend is required.
Another challenge to providing horses with a balanced forage-based diet is, even when they have unlimited access to excellent quality grass or hay, they still won’t be receiving all of their nutrient requirements as most forages provide inadequate levels of a number of important trace minerals such as copper, zinc, selenium and iodine, and they can also be highly variable in the levels of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and chloride that they provide.
This is why it is highly recommended to provide horses on forage-based diets a good quality mineral supplement, along with free choice plain salt to help replace shortfalls of essential minerals. To help provide horse owners with a solution to these challenges, AgSolutions has worked in conjunction with a leading Australian Equine Nutritionist to formulate the premium MegaMin Equine Supplements range.
MegaMin Equine Enhancer is a triple action vitamin and mineral supplement that has been designed to promote overall health while also actively supporting hoof quality, coat condition and gut function. This means Equine Enhancer is a vitamin and mineral supplement, a hoof supplement and a gut supplement all in the one product, helping to avoid the added cost of using multiple products.
Equine Enhancer contains scientifically balanced vitamins and minerals, including AgSolutions’ unique blend of natural broad spectrum minerals that contains several trace minerals such as chromium, boron and silica that are not found in many other supplements on the market.
In addition to these minerals, Equine Enhancer is fortified with biotin, organic zinc and methionine to assist skin and coat condition and promote healthy hoof growth. A 100g serve of Equine Enhancer delivers 20mg of biotin which has been linked to improvements in hoof structure and strength. It is important to remember that just adding biotin on its own won’t fix hoof issues if the overall diet isn’t balanced as it could be a copper and zinc deficiency causing the hoof issues and no amount of biotin will fix this. This is why Equine Enhancer works so well as it is delivering these key hoof, coat and skin promoting nutrients in addition to a balanced level of minerals.
Equine Enhancer also includes a prebiotic yeast which is a proprietary strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that has been scientifically proven to support feed digestibility, feed efficiency, performance, and overall health.
The other product in the MegaMin Equine Supplements range is MegaMin Bone Defender, a scientifically balanced calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D top up supplement designed to promote strong healthy bones and is ideal for horse grazing high oxalate subtropical grasses, breeding, growing and high-performance sport horses.
Not all forages are created equal, and some sub-tropical grass species contain a compound known as oxalate that binds most of the calcium contained in the plant, making it unavailable for the grazing horse to utilise, leading to a severe calcium deficiency over time. Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism or bighead develops as a result of a calcium imbalance within the horse’s diet. During periods of calcium shortage horses will take calcium and phosphorus from their bones to keep blood calcium levels normal. When this state of calcium deficiency occurs for a period of time, the horse will mobilise so much calcium that their bones become fibrous and weak.
It is essential that horses grazing pastures that contain grasses such as setaria, kikuyu, couch, buffel, purple pigeon, guinea, signal, para, pangola and green panic receive enough supplemental calcium to keep the calcium to oxalate ratio to at least 0.5 parts calcium to one part oxalate. This ratio is very important as an imbalance in the calcium to oxalate ratio can lead to Bighead Disease, and the more oxalate in the pasture the more calcium is required to keep this ratio balanced. As an indication of a grass’s ability to cause bighead buffel and kikuyu contain around 15 g per kg of oxalate and setaria species can range from 30 to 80 g per kg of oxalate.
A very important feature of MegaMin Bone Defender is that it comes with a very detailed feeding guide that factors in the horse’s requirements for calcium in relation to its weight, workload, reproductive status and age. This guide also takes into account the extra calcium required to balance the extremely high levels of oxalate found in setaria grass species.
As part of AgSolutions commitment to “Helping Australia Grow”, and to assist horse owners in ensuring that their animals are receiving a well-balanced diet, we offer MegaMin Equine Supplement customers a free feed review, analysis and discussion to help fine-tune their horse’s requirements.
For further information on MegaMin Equine Supplements and how AgSolutions can assist owners by improving their horse pastures with NatraMin visit our website agsolutions.com.au, follow us on our AgSolutions Australia – Equine Facebook page or contact our head office on 1800 81 57 57.