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Survey shows importance of cool season hay

Posted 3/13/2008

Nevada producers and horse owners can benefit from each other

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has released three publications that focus on cool season hay attributes and values for horse owners and hay producers. They are available for free online at www.unce.unr.edu.

Several UNCE specialists and other University of Nevada, Reno faculty teamed together and surveyed Nevada horse owners in 2005 to determine cool season hays’ appeal to local horse owners. The survey rated the importance of cool season hay characteristics in their purchasing decisions. They also compared hay producers and horse owners on the important characteristics of cool season hays.

"Cool season hays are marketed primarily on visual qualities, as opposed to other hays which are marketed based on chemical composition," one of the publications read. "Quality cool season hays, therefore, bring a premium in the marketplace."

All three publications surveyed horse owners about primary reasons for using a horse, horse owner’s location, type of horse owner and hay producer’s direct customers. For example, 325-of-1,000 horse owners returned surveys with 222 labeled as private horse owners, 42 as horse breeders, 32 as ranchers, 25 as either trainers or boarders, five as racehorse owners and three did not specify.

Recognizing the hay attributes regarded as most important by horse owners may help producers ensure repeat customers or potentially increase their market share. The study suggests that the value of hay attributes varies among horse owner types. The revealed information can help cool season hay producers identify characteristics of greatest importance to their customers.

For more information, visit www.unce.unr.edu and click on the publications tab and search "cool season hay" under the title category.

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