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Dry Matter is a Very Serious Matter

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Lush green grass
Lush Green Grass with very little fibre content

Did you know that when you get forage analysed it has a Dry Matter (DM) Content?

This is what is left after water is removed.

DM is fundamentally the FIBRE content.

Lush green grass has a high water content and therefore a LOW DM content.

Some of the forage we have had analysed lately because horses had digestive upsets had VERY LOW DM content <20% !

This means that even though the horse is consuming 10-15kgs/day of the grass he is getting next to no fibre going through his digestive system and this can have dire consequences.

The more mature the grass the higher the DM content. Hay obviously has a suitably high DM content – 80-95% depending on stage of maturity when cut.

Haylage - when made at a fairly mature stage of growth lies around 60-80%

‘Fermented’ forages made at a less mature stage of growth have a dry matter content of only 45-50% despite their names containing the word ‘fibre’.....

The equine digestive system is adapted to forage with a relatively high 80-90% DM content – all good when their forage consists of mature GRASS and/or HAY.

If your horse is out on fresh pasture of any sort, whether short and green or lush and green then you need to supplement more fibre into his daily diet with hay, chaff beet, hulls. Items that are brown in colour not green.

Soft manure
Soft Manure - a sign your horse needs more fibre!

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