Our Haylage

Equibale produce a couple of different types and grades of haylage with something suitable for nearly every situation.

Equibale Gold

Equibale Gold is our premier product supplied to many of the UK’s top racing yards.

It is a relatively thick stemmed ryegrass product of around 10% protein grown and produced by ourselves. We choose a suitable batch from the same location and timing of production and then hold it in stock to ensure you have the same product throughout your season.

It is always the best of our current stock, and we grade it to ensure all batches are as consistent as possible.

We carry out full microbial and nutritional analysis on all batches which we supply free of charge for full traceability.

Equibale Gold Haylage

Equibale Silver

This is essentially the same product as the Gold Ryegrass but comes from mixed batches and may not be quite as consistent as the Gold as a result of location and timing variation.

However, it is nevertheless made from first year ryegrasses to exactly the same high standards. We provide nutritional and microbial analysis but there may be some variations between each batch.

Equibale Silver Haylage

Equibale Ryegrass

Equibale Standard Ryegrass is a more economically priced ryegrass product made to the same standards as Equibale Gold and Recreation.

The Standard Ryegrass is typically what we generally supply to livery yards, equine colleges etc. It is made from ryegrasses in their second and third year of production. We provide analysis but there will be variations between and within each batch. The standard product is priced at £48/bale for the 2018/2019 season including delivery & unloading with our truck mounted forklift.

Equibale Rye Haylage

Equibale Meadowmix

Our Meadowmix Haylage is made from a mix of carefully chosen grass varieties to somewhat mimic the type of grasses a horse might naturally. Equibale Meadowmix is chosen by some trainers and studs in preference to a ryegrass based haylage, or sometimes fed out of season to give some variety.

We supply it mainly for customers with horses who don’t do well on a ryegrass diet (mainly “happy hackers”) or livery yards.

The Meadowmix product is also £48/bale (2018/2019 season) including delivery & unloading with our truck mounted forklift.

Equibale Meadowmix Haylage

Equibale Timothy

Equibale Timothy is an alternative to the more common ryegrass haylage. made from pure timothy grass.

It is a great alternative for horses who tend to ‘hot up’ on ryegrass, and is also suitable for laminitic horses. It has a totally different smell to ryerass haylage and is very ‘long stranded’.

Timothy is priced the same as Meadowmix at £48/bale including delivery & unloading, but we have very limited stocks of it so please order early.

Equibale Timothy Haylage

What is haylage?

Not sure whether haylage is right for your horse?

Haylage is grass, grown and cut in just the same way as if it was going to be made into hay. However, rather than having to spend a week lying out in the field drying out completely, it is made into bales sooner before all the moisture has evaporated. By baling the grass sooner, more of the beneficial nutrients and digestable energy are conserved, and the number of dust particles and spores are much reduced.

Once the bales have been made, the grass is then immediately sealed in multiple layers of white plastic wrap, which prevents any oxygen getting into the bale as well as protecting it from the weather. As long as the grass has been harvested at the correct time, and is not too lignified, a mild fermentation will take place over the following four to six weeks, During the fermentation, the soluble carbohydrates in the grass will be converted into lactic acid by the lactic acid producing bacteria (lactobacilli) found naturally in suitable grass (a process called anaerobic respiration). It is important that as much oxygen is squeezed out of the bales prior to sealing them because the presence of oxygen will promote aerobic respiration which will result in spoilage.

Once the fermentation process has completed, there will be no oxygen inside the bales and the lactic acid will prevent any mould growth during storage. It is important that the grass is given enough time to complete the fermentation process before it is opened, or the bale will be unsuitable for horses. Some haylage producers choose to apply an additive to the haylage. All this additive does is supply an excess of lactic acid producing bacteria which will attempt to increase the speed at which the fermentation process occurs. However, we believe that this is unnecessary as long as the correct grass species are used and that they are cut at the correct time.

Once the bales have completed the fermentation process we will send samples from each batch we have produced off to a laboratory to be analysed. This testing will determine the nutritional levels as well as identifying any moulds or spores that may be present that could affect the horse. If we are satisfied that the haylage meets our stringent standards, it is ready to be delivered to customers!


Why feed haylage?

It has long been accepted that forage should make up the staple part of a horses diet to ensure that their digestive system can work properly. Traditionally, this forage has been supplied as dry hay. Good quality hay is indeed an excellent source of forage for horses, however, in the UK it is extremely hard to make high quality hay due to our climate and unpredictable weather. This is not to mention the cost of obtaining good hay in the UK, the best of which has to be imported from warmer climates at immense cost.

In the USA, hay can often be cut on day 1 and baled on day 2 or 3, before it has been bleached by the sun and all the goodness washed out of it. In the UK, it normally takes a week or more to get the hay down to sub 15% moisture levels, by which time the hay is a yellow / brown colour as a result of bleaching from the sun, and most of the goodness has gone. What you are left with is a product that is lacking in nutrients, and is full of dust and mould spores. If the hay is baled a little early, the number of mould spores will increase during storage (as the hay heats up). It is hard to estimate exactly how many horses in the UK suffer from respiratory problems as a result of feeding poor quality hay – but suffice to say if your horse is coughing, it is highly likely it is a result of them having an allergic reaction to the spores in the forage you are feeding.

These spores and dust particles will reduce your horses performance as well as simply making them cough. The allergic reaction inside the horses lungs cause the alveoli to constrict and swell up, reducing the horses ability to breathe in deeply and get sufficient air into it’s lungs. In severe cases, this can result in recurrent airway obstruction (RAO or more commonly known as ‘Heaves’).

Some people think that you can overcome the problem of dust and mould spores in hay and haylage by soaking it (or even steaming it). However, in our opinion this is a solution to the problem rather than a solution to the cause. The dust and spores still exist, just they will be swallowed rather than inhaled and much of the nutritional value of the grass will be washed (or steamed) away. It is also a time consuming and messy task to have to do every day.


Advantages of haylage instead of hay

  • Haylage is an excellent source of fibre, essential for your horses digestive system to function properly (fibre is required to ensure that food is able to move through the horses digestive system).
  • Haylage is dust free!
  • Horses are grazing animals – ie. they naturally eat little and often. Slowly eating a net of haylage is better for their digestive system than quickly eating a bowl of hard feed.
  • Haylage is scientifically proven to be more easily digested than hay. This means that more energy is available to the horse from haylage compared to a similar sample of hay.
  • Haylage bales are more palatable than hay and has a sweeter smell – horses will eat it every last bit rather than leaving much of it.
  • Haylage is more cost effective than hay.
  • Haylage has a more consistent analysis than hay and a more reliable supply is available.
  • Horses prefer damper forage – many horses will dunk their hay in water before eating it. With haylage there is no need to soak first.
  • Haylage can be easily stored outside and opened when needed.