Wet Chemistry Analysis

Wet Chemistry WSC Analysis

Establishes the levels of water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) within the forage only.



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Key Features

The level of WSC in forage is particularly important for the management of laminitis prone horses, those with IR/EMS and PPID (Cushing’s) horses where intake of NSC needs to be restricted in order to help manage the problem. NSC, which stands for non-structural carbohydrates, is the sum of WSC and starch added together.

Current recommendations for the management of laminitis prone horses, those with IR/EMS and PPID (Cushing’s) horses are to try to feed hay or feeds with less than 10-12% NSC on a dry matter basis.  These figures are primarily based on personal observations and experiences rather than specific scientific studies to show that these levels are ‘safe’. In practice all horses are individuals and the severity of the metabolic issues that they have will vary. Some horses may be managed on hays higher than this level without an issue, whilst management of others may be difficult even on levels of around 10-12% .

The level of WSC in hay directly relates to the level of WSC in grass at the time of cutting. For example, the level of WSC in hay will be higher for hay cut in the afternoon compared to that cut earlier in the morning. The level of WSC is also lower on a cloudy compared to a sunny day. The type of grass in the hay will also influence the level of WSC, with ryegrass typically having a higher level compared to timothy for example. As can be seen the factors affecting the levels of WSC in grass and therefore hay is complex and not easy to predict.

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