Life is busy. For everyone but especially on a farm where there is property to maintain, animals to tend to, and daily chores that can take up many hours of the day.
I have lived on my 25 acre farm for just over 18 years and each year, I try to make some sort of improvement that makes my farm life a little easier. Whether it’s a new lawnmower, with a larger cutting deck that reduces my time mowing; to outdoor run-in sheds to allow for more horses to live outside (creating fewer stalls to muck), etc., if there is a way to save time without sacrificing care and quality, every extra minute counts!
This summer, due to the drier weather conditions, the local farmers had to increase their hay prices – and substantially! When I first moved to the farm in 1998, I was paying $2.00 for a square bale of hay and $25 for a round bale. Jump forward to 2016, and square bale prices have escalated to $5.75 – $6.50/ bale and rounds to $55-75 (with a 20% increase from 2015 to 2016).
We can’t blame the farmers for Mother Nature but as a business owner, I knew that I had to make some decisions and I started to inquire about switching over from small squares to MAAAX cubes. I had heard about this product at the 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto and even had a few sample bags that we had fed as treats. Some of the information I learned during my research about MAAAX cubes was very positive: there would be less waste, the quality was always excellent with no dust (good for horses that have breathing difficulties and/or who were older) and deliveries could be made YEAR ROUND! This would mean no more 38 degree, blazing hot, “hay days” in June or July and no more sore backs after unloading 1500 bales. Not to mention that Ian Miller, long time Canadian equestrian, feeds them to his horses;)
So, it all sounded great to me; however, I was still a little apprehensive to make the switch until I met with the sales representative for my area, to answer my questions: Would my horses actually eat them? Could they choke on them? How much do I feed to meet the equivalent of what I was feeding in flakes? And my business owner question…how much would they cost to feed?
The feeding issue wasn’t a problem. With the representative on site, I watched my horses and ponies happily munch on these timothy/alfalfa cubes and because they are processed as “long fibre”, the chewing time took much longer than I thought which kept the horses eating for a longer period of time. As for quantity to feed, the cubes are packaged in 50 lb bags but because the product is compressed, an average size horse at 1000 lbs would consume (at 10 lbs or 1% of his/her weight per day), approximately 1 MAAAX cube bag every 5 days. Now, I am still keeping my large round bales for outside use, so given that the cubes are going to be fed mainly when the horses are inside, the quantity per horse many be a bit less. Given this calculation, and the cost of the cubes, I would be SAVING money!
Better, more consistent quality; year round delivery with multiple payment options AND cost savings…the decision to switch from small square hay bales to MAAAX hay cubes couldn’t have been easier!
We are now in December and we have been feeding MAAAX cubes for many months. My horses and ponies all look healthy, well fed and they are going into the cold months of winter with a little extra weight, thanks to the quality of MAAAX cubes. I’m happy that not only am I feeding a good product but that my costs are consistent and I can budget accordingly. Oh, and the extra bonus? No more “hay days” of summer which might just give me time to ride;)
Until next time,