On-farm products

Roughages _black oats hay

As a stud owner and nutritionist you experience the visible effects of nutrition and the importance of it to grow your future genetics. Horses are highly dependent on large amounts of good quality roughage to sustain optimal hind gut function. An optimal microbe population, classified in type and ratio to each other, guarantees a healthy individual in visible good form. However this optimum microbe population can only be sustained if the optimum environment is provided for them that depend largely on the substrate source. Substrate source should be of suitable physical appearance and nutrient composition. After years of selection we have most probably modified the microbe populations and ratios to tolerate higher levels of starch available from our modern grain cultivars, trembling on the border line of acidosis and other ailments which are not always symptomatic in an immunocompetent individual, but which will affect long term performance and health of the individual. A healthy digestive tract which allows the horse to look and feel good is obtained from a high fiber diet which would have been naturally supplied to the horse when at lib grazing would have been available. However the latter is not always possible all year round. High fiber diets are “bulky” which may present it as a problem during storage and transportation since you need more feed/kg to supply the same amount of calories provided in a typical grain based diet, however this is a small disadvantage compared to the long term benefits. This is why supplying enough of a good quality roughage is so very important in an artificial management system.

Since we are based in the Western Cape we focus to replace some artificial by product-roughages, with the sole purpose to sustain human demand, with more horse suitable roughages appropriate for natural production in the western cape at a costs that is true to the production and not to transportation or high water and electricity usage. Availability of roughages are limited to commercial grain type straws and hays available in spring to summer while legumes like lucern, that are mostly produced in late spring and summer, while seasonal ryegrass are available from early spring to mid-summer. Teff is becoming more and more available within summer months but it is not a natural product to the Western Cape and cost overshadows the nutritive value due to the low and variable mineral and protein content and high irrigational water or transport costs.

The solution is roughage made from a natural growing seasonal crop like black oats (Avena strigosa) which is not genetically modified since it is “mother” seed and by some referred to as a weed type grass. The genetic base of this cultivar enables it to grow vigorously in the winter rain fall areas without additional irrigation which will increase associated costs as well as lower nutritive value. The well-developed route system enables high mineral pickup with high nutritive value. The plant has not been selected for commercial grain production thus the pip is small and fibrous with low starch content making it highly suitable for horses. A small pip has its advantages to the horse, but as a farmer you need more seed per ton compared to your commercial cultivars. The seed per ton is thus costly, but this cost does not overshadow its advantages.  It is a price worth paying when it comes to your horses’ well-being. We supply this product freshly chuffed in 25kg bags for convenience purposes that also offers higher digestibility in a stem length that is more suitable for the modern horse.

Aloe Ferox

When one owns and have to look after multiple horses, including show horses, of different ages and physiological stages you tend to look for a cost effective supplement that can sooth multiple symptoms noticeably and which can be administrated with ease during feeding on a daily basis with no negative side effects. Aloe Ferox can be given to horses on a daily basis to limit parasite (external and internal) infestation and support digestive function by supporting gut health. Sugar sensitive or insect prone horses can be relieved from secondary symptoms like scratching. We have tested this product in a well-structured trial with fixed dosage and experimental units to determine its effectiveness on multiple horses of different breed, age and physiological stages. It is specifically beneficial to horses that are prone to carry high parasitic loads. This is a raw product with no added preservatives or any other chemicals obtained freshly from the plant.  Aloe Ferox is highly concentrated in nutrient value (20x) compared to its common relative Aloe vera. Aloe Ferox has been found to be antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It is also suitable to lower cholesterol and fight diabetes. It has also been found to ward off tumours and strengthen the immune system. We have investigated this plant after we noticed that our horses will naturally select Aloe plants in extensive veldt conditions. When we started reading about the benefits that has been known to mankind for decades I could not believe that we did not realise to use such a product earlier. Unfortunately as soon as you extract the “juice” from the plant it is difficult to preserve natures healing ability to its full extent unless stored in a certain environment and once processed by extension with chemical additions the benefits are hardly noticeable in a commercially diluted product. That is why we try to have fresh supply on a regular basis.

Roughages _Lucerne (Alfalfa)

We source lucerne of a high quality produced on grounds with high mineral content, cut at a stage that provides the highest protein value with a safe amount of moisture to guarantee storage and nutritional value. The difference between these bales and those produced mostly up country is the harvesting process, water sanitary and soil type which has been found to influence the nutritional value to a large extent, but also the microbial load. We would rather pay more per ton and receive a higher quality product compared to a product that appears to be lucerne, but is half of its nutritional value. Then ask your self do you pay half for this product as well?  We have practical experience as well as instruments that enable us to select premium quality. We always have small bales available as well as chuffed lucerne in 25kg bags for convenience purposes. The chuffed lucerne works a charm for elderly horses or horses with problematic digestive systems or dental incapacities.