You want to give your horses and livestocks the best hay for sale you can find. But lots of horse owners don’t understand the difference between first, second or third cut hay. Hay is hay, they may say? Yes, but not exactly.
First cut hay usually is coarser and has lots more weeds in it than the other two cuttings. First cut hay also has a higher concentration of sugar, which may not be best for horses with insulin problems.
Second cut is usually the “best” cut as far as taste, texture and nutrient factor. The hay is much greener and smells sweeter. However, second cutting hay is much more prone to mold. If you come across a person with hay for sale and the bale is extremely heavy to lift and has heat coming out of it, ask if you can open the bale. If he or she refuses, skip that hay. Mold can be extremely dangerous for horses.
Third cutting is usually much lesser quality. It usually has less nutrients because it was cut when the grass was not growing as vigorously later in the season. The hay is extremely thick and green and smells really sweet but has a lot more legumes and is much harder for horses to digest.
Also, the timing of the cutting is important as well. Hay cut in the afternoon has much more nutrients and sugar due to the plant producing those sugars through photosynthesis to use as fuel during the nighttime. For most horses, look for this type of hay for sale. But for horses that have insulin problems or laminitis, feed them hay cut in the early morning.
As a horse owner or enthusiast, you want to give the horse the best. While some think that the quality of the hay doesn’t matter, it does, as the three cuttings produce distinct