Microsteed analyses the nutrient contribution from all feeds, roughages and supplements against set nutrient requirements.
This example shows a broodmare in the early stages of lactation when nutrient requirements are higher, particularly for protein and energy, to ensure adequate milk production. The mare is an early foaling mare with 6 hours at pasture, typical hay, and fed 5 kg of Mare-Care per day.
Daily Intake of Nutrients
Microsteed clearly identifies the relative contribution of each element of the feeding programme against the mare’s requirement.
Feeds such as Mare-Care will provide a consistent nutrient profile having been formulated to do so, whereas pasture and dried forages are naturally highly variable. Through using Microsteed, it is possible to understand where nutrients might vary and the effect on total dietary intake. Achieving levels greater than 100% is quite common for some minerals and vitamins and the effect of this overage is assessed through the use of the optimum ranges tool.
Optimum Nutrient Ranges
Horses are well adapted to variation within forages and have a window of tolerance for most nutrients. The optimum ranges tool helps identify whether any shortfall or overage against the target value is detrimental to the mare.
For example, additional Vitamin E in the diet of mares later in pregnancy and into lactation can improve milk quality, namely IgG levels. An overage of Vitamin E is beneficial whilst still within the optimum range and not excessive.
Having a little over-fortification in the diet is often beneficial as the mare’s daily intake of forages can be variable along with variation in pasture nutrient profile. The actual daily intake will range between the target value and slightly over-fortified.
In addition to considering total daily intake, Microsteed will also consider the balance of key minerals in the total diet including calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. The balance of minerals influences absorption and also activity within the body.
Once nutrient intake and balance is considered, Microsteed also assesses the contribution nutrients make toward energy requirements. The balance of energy provided through the various nutrients is important when considering impact on growth, behaviour and management of disorders, such as laminitis.
Saracen’s Thoroughbred Team can provide Microsteed evaluations customised with forage and pasture results to give a clear picture of the nutritional status of mares, youngstock and stallions. Through understanding the profile of various feeds and relevant forages, diets can be adjusted as needed throughout the season to ensure the best results are achieved.
Equine Nutrition Calculator
Microsteed is the equine nutrition calculator and ration evaluator developed by Kentucky Equine Research.
Our range of specialist thoroughbred breeding feeds and services has been developed through exclusive nutrition partnerships with Hallway Feeds and Kentucky Equine Research, both based in Lexington, Kentucky, since April 2000