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Re: Perennial Peanut Hay

The perennial peanut hay (Arachis glabrata Benth.) Deena was referring
to is different from the type of peanut forage that can be baled after
peanuts are harvested for making peanut butter, peanut brittle,
peanut-whatever.  The baled forage from the common peanut is usually a
lower quality and not relished as much by horses.  

Arachis glabrata Benth. (the hay referred to by Deena) is a legume, and
as far as nutrients are concerned, does comes close to alfalfa.  A lot
of cattlemen who use it do not have a problem with bloating (unlike
other legumes), but instead, have a slight problem trying to keep the
cattle from becoming overweight, waddling blimps :-).  Yes, it is highly
digestible and palatable! Not a recommended addition to the ration if
the horse gains weight on air!

One big reason the Florida growers like this hay is that it is
relatively pest/nematode/disease-free, which can't be said for a lot of
other legume crops like alfalfa in the humid South.  It does well in
areas that do not frost-over in the winter (sorry, Northerners), and can
tolerate drought conditions although the yield is horrible when little
water is available.  A good stand of peanut hay with enough water can
yield three to four cuttings per year.  It can get weedy though, which
is why it needs to be mowed or have other forms of weed control used on
it.  If you are able to get your hands on some peanut hay, do check the
bales for excessive weeds.  This hay is not easy to come by... very high
demand for it.

I have some Florida analyses sitting in a folder here... (limited scope,
and only 12 samples).  On the average, the crude protein percent is 13%,
crude fiber is at 24%, and the TDN is 54%.  The protein content can go
as high as 19 to 20%, depending on the cutting, leaf to stem ratio,
etc.  Another analysis (U of Fl) has the following values:  2.50 Mcals
of DE per kg, 15.9% crude protein, 1.05% calcium, and 0.35% phosphorous,
although I do not have the number of samples tested on this sheet :-(. 
You'll want to watch that Ca:P ratio.  The NRC (1989) doesn't even list
this particular species of peanut hay; instead, the NRC lists the common
peanut hay (Arachis hypogaea L.), not as good in forage quality (at
least the samples I have seen). 
Well, that's my two-cents, uhhh, "penny's" worth...  hope it helps out

Kim (and the fat ol' mare, Lee)

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