Carb Testing Program for Horse Feed and Hay

When it comes to horses, what does "low carb" mean? Lower than what?

"There are several analytical procedures that measure sugar, and each one measures a slightly different fraction," said Kathryn Watts, BS, owner of Rocky Mountain Research & Consulting, Inc. and "Samples analyzed by different testing labs may not provide a fair comparison for consumers looking for lower carbohydrate horse feeds. There is also a lot of confusion about definitions, which makes it difficult to shop smarter for feeds lower in nonstructural carbohydrates; which include sugar, starch, and fructan."

According to Watts, very few feed companies routinely test for sugar and starch. Even when they do, questions arise: Has the manufacturer provided consumers with an average "per batch" number, with a large variation between bags? How much variation is there from one batch to another? Do they always use the same testing lab and testing procedure?

To eliminate all the guessing, will provide a service to consumers, horse feed companies, and hay producers to provide independent testing of horse feeds for carbohydrates at the same, approved professional laboratory. Results will be posted on the Web site to help consumers make more informed feed choices. Horse feed companies who keep nonstructural carbohydrates reliably lower will have this information readily available for comparison by the consumer.


There is also a growing market for low sugar hay, Watts said, and many of these consumers already look to the Web site for advice on management of carbohydrate intolerant horses. Hay growers who participate in the CertiCarb program will be able to list low sugar hay on

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