Eating Like the Joneses

The majority of horses consume some sort of feed concentrate everyday, and most of that feed comes out of bags, according to a recent industry survey conducted by the USDA.

More than 90% of equine operations reported feeding some sort of grain concentrate or energy source other than hay and pasture forage during the previous 12 months.

Horses in the Northeast are the most likely to eat concentrates, with 96.3% of equine facility managers reporting grain concentrate use in that region. Equine facilities in the West are the least likely to feed concentrates, at 84.4%.

Across the country feed is mostly likely to have been purchased from a retail store and poured from a bag. More than 79% of the country's equine feed is delivered in that manner.

Of farms in the South, 87.4% buy bagged feed. Northeastern farms are the least likely, at 66.8%. Inversely, the Northeast is the region with the most feed delivered in bulk from a retail source, with 18.4% of managers using this method, while bulk feed is least popular in the West, at 5.5%.

The findings of this survey were published in the Equine 2005, Part I: Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management, 2005 report. This survey was conducted by the USDA, in conjunction with the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This was the groups' second industry report. The sample included 3,349 equine operations in 28 states that were selected to generate estimates for the 28 states with equine operations with five or more equids.

NAHMS conducts national studies on the health and management of America's domestic livestock populations. In 1998, it took its first in-depth look at the U.S. equine population. Multiple reports, information sheets, and scientific articles were generated from that study.

To learn more about NAHMS, and to see the full 2005 report, visit

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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