Ordering feed in bulk can save time and money. Most often, equine facilities choose bulk feed because it’s more economical. The price is slightly less than bagged products because the mill has less labor and materials invested in the production process. Convenience is another reason stable owners choose bulk over bagged.
“Some farms go through multiple tons of feed each week,” said Anna Pesta, PhD. an equine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “That can be a hassle to store that quantity of bags.
Bulk feed isn’t just for large facilities. Smaller boarding stables with high performance horses might be feeding more than a larger barn with retired or recreational horses in their care.
Typically, bulk bins hold about three tons of feed. If the horses can eat that much in 60 days, bulk might be an good fit for your barn.
Buying bulk feed has other advantages. The manufacturing plant offers consistency for the entirety of the load. The product in any given delivery is all made at the same time. Manufacturers pay close attention to feed formulations to ensure the same nutrients and minerals are found in every bag. But the grain products used to make the feeds will come from different fields, farms, etc., and are blended into different lots of bagged feed.
“Bulk feed is fresher,” Pesta said. “It won’t have any age on it when it comes from the mill.”
There’s also less of an environmental impact with bulk as compared to bagged feed. Plastic poly feed bags are not recyclable except when you’re using them for garbage, Pesta added. Empty bags can add up quickly at big barns.
If you decide that bulk is the best option for your barn, talk with the mill and ask how it’s made.
“Cattle feed is medicated, so we don’t make horse feed at the same plant we make that product,” Pesta said. “That way there’s no chance the feeds will get mixed.”