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Low Sugar Alternatives for Jams and Jellies


Strawberry Jam time is here and soon behind it will be blueberry, blackberry and then peach jam time. This year when you consider making jams and jellies think about using a low sugar alternative.  Don’t you want to taste the fruit more than the sugar? Jams and jellies are one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to preserve summer fruits and berries.  Even though most jams and jellies are very sweet, there are some excellent low- and no-sugar alternatives. “Regular” pectin recipes required the amount of sugar listed with them in order to obtain a satisfactory gel, but there are four methods to produce low- and no-sugar jams and jellies:
The first method is to use specially modified pectins. These pectins are labeled as “light,” “less sugar needed,” or “no sugar needed.” The box of packaged pectins will come with recipes that give options for using no sugar, less sugar, or sugar substitutes. Using these pectin-added methods allows you to store your reduced-sugar product at room temperature.

The second method is using regular pectin with special recipes. Some tested recipes are formulated so that the gel forms with regular pectin without needing to add the usual amount of sugar. Keep in mind that there is some sugar in the regular pectin. These recipes often use sugar substitutes for additional sweetening.  Splenda doesn’t need to be used as a sweetner for jams and jellies because it does not have a good shelf life.  To use it you would have to keep it in the refrigerator and usually it will only last about a month even under refrigeration.

The third method is a long-boil method. The fruit pulp is boiled until it thickens and resembles a jam, but these spreads will not be true jams with pectin gels. Sugar substitutes can be added to taste for sweetening these products.

The fourth method is to use gelatin as the thickening agent. This method allows you to control the amount of sugar that is added to the product. These spreads usually have the sugars from fruit juices that are used for the flavoring and sugar substitutes for sweetness. Jellied products thickened with gelatin will require refrigeration.

Jams and jellies made with traditional recipes using lots of sugar or by the first three methods listed above for reduced sugar options will require a short process in a boiling water canner to be kept at room temperature in a sealed jar. Once opened, they all require refrigerated storage.

Additional recipes and canning information can be found at the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, hosted by the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia: http://www.homefoodpreservation.com.

While there is an abundance of ways to make jams and jellies, keep in mind that following well tested recipes is your best bet for getting a successful gel. Try making jams and jellies using various methods to determine which you like best.

For more information and recipes for jams and jellies contact Angela Treadaway at 205-410-3696.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

ServSafe Course in Shelby County

ServSafe Course

Date: May 24 & 29, 2018

Location: Shelby County Extension Office

56 Kelly Lane, Columbiana, AL. 35051

Contact: Angela Treadaway

Office: 205-669-6763

cell: 205-410-3696

email: treadas@aces.edu

Click here to register:https://ssl.acesag.auburn.edu/payment/fscert/registrationForm.php


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Sunn Hemp: Grazing Option for Producers









Sunn hemp is a warm-season legume that producers are adding to their grazing and pasture management plans. Traditionally, producers do not use sunn hemp because of limited seed availability. Now, newer varieties, such as AU Golden and AU Darbin, are available for producers. These new varieties allow the plant to produce seed in moderate climates.


Sunn hemp is a drought tolerant annual, and therefore producers would plant it each year. It can grow in soil with moderately low pH levels, ranging from 5.0 to 8.4. While sunn hemp tolerates low soil fertility, fertile soils greatly enhance its productivity. Sunn hemp grows best in sandy, well-drained soils. It is not tolerant of standing water or heavy, clay soils.

Planting Sunn Hemp

Dr. Leanne Dillard, an Alabama Extension forage specialist, said that soil temperatures must be fairly warm to plant sunn hemp.

“Once soil temperatures reach 65°F, producers can plant sunn hemp into a prepared seedbed,” Dillard said. “Producers should plant at a rate of 25 to 30 pounds of pure, live seed per acre, and inoculate with a cowpea type inoculant. Seeding depth is between 1/4 of an inch to 1 inch.”

According to Dillard, because it is a legume and because of its wide tolerance of soil pH levels, adding nitrogen fertilizer and lime is not necessary.

“Because sunn hemp is a legume, it does not require nitrogen fertilizer. While adding lime is not mandatory, it is, however, recommended,” Dillard said. “Producers should add phosphorus and potash based on soil test results.”

After planting, producers will see little above ground biomass production. However, by Day 60, plants can be 6 feet tall. To maximize the length of the grazing season, producers can stagger sunn hemp plantings (May and July). This allows for a higher quality forage throughout the grazing season and into early fall.

Grazing Management

Cattle, goats and sheep are the only livestock that can graze sunn hemp. Livestock can start grazing approximately 45 days after planting, when the plants reach 1 ½ to 3 feet tall.

Dillard said that the leaves are high in nutrition, and while the stems are of much lower quality, they provide the fiber needed for proper rumen function.

“To maintain forage quality, maximizing the leaf-to-stem ratio is important,” Dillard said. “A field allowed to grow until flowering may lose lower leaves and have reduced forage quality. To ensure forage quality, early grazing is important.”

At first, livestock may not find sunn hemp palatable, but within a few days they will develop a taste for it. Because of the high nutritional value, it works well in limit grazing plans in combination with warm-season perennial pastures. In this instance, producers should allow their livestock to graze one to three hours per day. Once the forage reaches 12 to 18 inches, livestock should rotate out of the field.

Dillard said that there are several things that affect the growth of sunn hemp.

“If sunn hemp is grazed too early, livestock will overgraze, possibly killing it. If plants are grazed too high, the livestock will break the plants and it will not regrow,” Dillard said. “Mowing or grazing sunn hemp to less than 12 inches can also prevent plant regrowth. Cutting it for hay or silage is not recomended.”

Possible Toxicity Concerns

While there is no evidence of the leaves nor the stems being toxic, the seeds could pose a chance for livestock poisoning. Sunn hemp is in the genus Crotalaria, which is characterized by presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the seeds. It contains only low levels of two to three different alkaloids.

Non ruminants are more susceptible than ruminants to acute toxicity from ingesting seeds. The consumption of a small amount of seeds, however, will not cause toxicity in livestock. Because of weight loss concerns, producers should not incorporate sunn hemp seeds into an animal’s diet.

Alabama Extension created a timely information sheet on sunn hemp. To view this document, click here. For further information, visit Alabama Extension online or contact your county Extension office.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Bean Dip or Spread











2 cups cooked pinto beans

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup cooked green onions with tops

1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed (optional)

1 or more drops liquid hot sauce, to taste


Drain beans and save 2 tablespoons of the liquid.  Mash beans until almost smooth.  Use a pastry blender, fork, electric blender, or food processor.  Add saved bean liquid, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oinion.  Stir until well blended.  Season with pepper, dill weed, and hot sauce.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings: One serving: 3 tablespoons.*One serving contains: 124 calories; 0 mg cholesterol; 250 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein;  4 g fat or 27% of total calories.


To Vary: Use black beans, navy beans, or garbanzo beans (chick peas) in place of the pinto beans.  If using canned beans, pour the beans in a strainer, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.  This will reduce the sodium content in canned beans.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Egg Safety

Easter eggs in nest on grunge wooden background








Easter is just a few weeks away, and many children will find colored eggs nestled side by side with chocolate bunnies in cheerful baskets or lurking in hiding places awaiting to be discovered.  Always handle eggs properly to prevent foodborne illness.  Consider the following when planning on buying eggs for dyeing and for keeping a few days before Easter.

 What should you consider when purchasing eggs?

Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells. Don’t buy out of date eggs. The USDA grade shield on the carton means that the eggs were graded for quality and checked for weight under the supervision of a trained USDA grader. State agencies monitor compliance for egg packers who do not use the USDA grading service.

What does the date on the egg carton mean?

Egg cartons with the USDA grade mark must display a “Julian date”*, the date the eggs were packed. Although not required, they may also carry an expiration date beyond which the eggs should not be sold, but are still safe to eat. On cartons with the USDA grade mark, this date cannot exceed 30 days after the eggs were packed in the carton. Depending on the retailer, the expiration date may be less than 30 days. Eggs packed in cartons without the USDA grade mark are governed by the laws of their states.

How should eggs be refrigerated?

Refrigerate raw shell eggs in their cartons on the middle or lower inside shelf, not on the door, and away from any meat that might drip juices or any raw produce that might contact eggshells. Cover or wrap well any egg mixtures or leftover cooked egg dishes. For all perishable foods, including eggs and dishes containing eggs, allow no more than 2 hours at room temperature for preparation and serving, 30 minutes to 1 hour when it’s 85°F or hotter without refrigeration.

How long are eggs that have been refrigerated, safe to eat?

Raw eggs maintain their freshness for 4-5 weeks after purchase if kept refrigerated continuously.

How long are hard cooked eggs that have been refrigerated, safe to eat?

A hard cooked egg, if keep in its shell, can be safely refrigerated for up to one week.

I just realized I left the egg carton on the kitchen counter overnight. Are the eggs safe to use?

Temperature fluctuation is critical to safety. After eggs are refrigerated, it is important that they stay that way. A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than 2 hours.


What is an adequate temperature to cook an egg?

Eggs you serve immediately at home need to be cooked to 145 degrees and if serving in a serving line in a commercial kitchen they must reach 155 degrees.  Please do not use raw eggs unless they are pasteurized in homemade ice cream because people can become infected with salmonella from raw eggs.  Mix the eggs with a little milk and sugar and heat quickly to 160 degrees to a custard state and then cool down and mix with your other ingredients when making homemade ice cream if you like that rich taste eggs give it.

How does Salmonella infect eggs?

Salmonella bacteria are found in the intestinal tracts of animals, birds, reptiles, insects and humans. Salmonella may be found on the outside of the egg shell before the egg is washed or it may be found inside the egg if the hen was infected. It is estimated that one egg in 20,000 eggs may contain Salmonella  Eggs contain natural antimicrobial substances in the egg white, and all eggs are washed and sanitized before they are packed. Egg recipes properly prepared in individual servings and promptly eaten are rarely a problem. Inadequate refrigeration, improper handling and insufficient cooking are all factors that have contributed to disease outbreaks. Salmonella is destroyed by heat. Eggs that have been handled and cooked properly should not cause human illness.

What usually causes salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis outbreaks are most often associated with animal foods, including chicken, eggs, pork and cheese, but have also been reported related to cantaloupe, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, orange juice and cereal among other foods. Human carriers play a big role in transmitting some types of salmonellosis. Salmonella bacteria can easily spread from one food to another and from  foodhandler to food if improper handwashing  is practiced.

The majority of reported salmonellosis outbreaks involving eggs or egg-containing foods have occurred in food service kitchens and were the result of inadequate refrigeration, improper handling and insufficient cooking. If not properly handled, Salmonella bacteria can double every 20 minutes and a single bacterium can multiply into more than a million in six hours. Properly prepared egg recipes served in individual portions and promptly eaten are rarely a problem. You can ensure that your eggs will maintain their high quality and safety by using good hygiene, cooking, refrigeration and handling practices.

Are eggs the only source of Salmonella bacteria?

No. Salmonella bacteria are widely found in nature and easily spread. The bacteria can be found in the intestinal tracts of animals, birds, reptiles, insects and people. While the egg itself may not be contaminated when you buy it, it can become contaminated from various sources, such as hands, pets, other foods and kitchen equipment, too.

When dyeing eggs for Easter, be careful not to crack them because bacteria can enter the eggs through the cracks.  Use food-grade dyes, such as commercial egg dyes, liquid food coloring or fruit drink powders.  Hard-cooked eggs should not sit out unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.  Keep eggs refrigerated until you put them into Easter baskets.  Store eggs on a shelf inside the refrigerator rather than on the refrigerator door so they stay fully chilled.

A really good idea, if the kids plan to eat their eggs is not to use the hard cooked eggs for hiding but replace with plastic eggs and save the hard cooked one for them to eat later. If eggs are cracked or broken during the hunt, children may be disappointed when you have to throw them away.  Therefore, it is better to keep the hard cooked eggs refrigerated until the hunt.  Then, all can sit down and enjoy a safe Easter egg feast.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Dairy Goat U- April 7th











Dairy Goat U

Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
Location: Stone Hollow Farmstead
2006 Dead Hollow Road North
Harpersville, Alabama

Dairy Goat U is an educational, hands-on workshop and a wonderful introductory resource to the world of dairy goats.

Registration Deadline: March 19, 2018
Cost: $15 registration for adults and youth.
Registration includes lunch and snacks.
Youth will also receive a participant bag and t-shirt.
Adults will receive FAMACHA certification.

To register, go to: https://aub.ie/dairygoatu

For more information, contact:
Oksana Singh/Boyd Brady, Extension Dairy Specialist, Auburn University
Phone: #334-844-1562 or #334-321-8826
Email: bradybo@auburn.edu


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer.  Everyone is welcome! 4HYD-2149 © 2018 by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. All rights reserved.

Sixth Annual Food Entrepreneur Conference scheduled for March 21-22 in Auburn















Sixth Annual Food Entrepreneur Conference scheduled for March 21-22 in Auburn

By Karen Hunley


Five years ago, the Auburn University Food Systems Institute combined its knowledge of food safety and food business to organize the first Food Entrepreneur Conference for aspiring entrepreneurs and small farmers. Food business owners, faculty members from Auburn’s College of Business, and state organizations began supporting the event and participating in speaker panels. Participation in the event has grown each year, and now food business experts and entrepreneurs from all over the state travel to Auburn each spring to give advice and share their own stories.

This year one of those entrepreneurs will be Robert Armstrong, founder of G Momma’s “Southern-style bite-size cookies” based in Selma, who will be a keynote speaker at the event. This will be Armstrong’s first year participating in the conference, which is scheduled for March 21 and 22 at the CASIC building in the Auburn Research Park.

“I am excited to share the journey I’ve been on with G Mommas Cookies and hopefully I’ll share some valuable knowledge I’ve gained as well,” says Armstrong.

Armstrong says G Momma’s came about for two important reasons – his love for his “Gammy” (pronounced “Gah-mee”) as well as his desire to help boost the economy in his hometown. The melt-in-your mouth cookie recipe doesn’t hurt, either.

“Gammy would bake these little cookies for all our family ‘get-togethers’, and we would crawl all over each other to get a few,” Armstrong says on his G Momma website. “We would just keep coming back again, and again, and again. You really couldn’t eat just one!”

He also says he wants to help keep Selma alive, including its rich history connected to the Civil Rights Movements. “(Selma) has suffered from a declining economy for the last 40 years or so, and a big reason for that is young people generally don’t move back after college because the lack of opportunity,” Armstrong says. “It has always been a dream of mine to come back and help the area in some way.”

Armstrong will be joined by speakers like John Syzmanski, who works in recipe and new program development for The Kroger Company and can give the “big-box store” perspective of food entrepreneurship. Jimmy Wright of Wright’s Market will also be on hand to provide the viewpoint of a smaller, local grocer.

Audience interest in the event has grown each year, too. Last year’s Food Entrepreneur Conference was a turning point – more than 74 aspiring and current food entrepreneurs attended, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.

Hosted by the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI) in cooperation with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) the event is focused on offering “real life” advice for growing a food business as well as providing an opportunity for burgeoning entrepreneurs to make invaluable business connections. Representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health along with ACES will cover topics such as food safety, regulations, and labeling, while a professor from the AU College of Business will cover business marketing.

Past keynote speakers include Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes; Stacy Brown of Chicken Salad Chick, an Auburn-based restaurant that now has locations throughout the Southeast; and Chuck Caraway of Southeastern Food Group, one of Alabama’s largest food processing companies. Caraway has agreed to come back this year as a panelist; in fact, most past presenters have seemed to enjoy inspiring others to take the next steps toward food entrepreneurship and are eager to return.

Armstrong says it will be important to share with the audience not only what worked well for him when starting his own business, but also what he would do differently if he had the chance.

“I hope to impart that there really is no magic formula or secret to becoming successful in the food industry,” he says.  “It all starts with the product and from there, it’s just a lot of hard work.”

In addition to the speaker panels and the Q&A sessions that follow, participants can also choose to attend up to two specialized breakout sessions on topics such as Cottage Food Law certification, which allows entrepreneurs to operate some types of food businesses from their homes; catering/food service/bakery; USDA meat products; food trucks; maximizing opportunities for minority-owned businesses; and the innovative aquaponics industry.


Registration for the two-day event is $150 before March 14 and $200 after that date. For a full conference agenda and to register, visit https://aufsi.auburn.edu/2018-food-entrepreneur-conference/ or call Regina Crapps at 334.844.7456. Also check the AUFSI Food Entrepreneur Conference Facebook page for updates to the conference agenda and other pertinent conference information.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!




Chicken from Farm to Table

Farmer in field with free range chicken and basket full of eggs










What’s for dinner tonight? There’s a good chance it’s chicken — now the number one species consumed by Americans. Interest in the safe handling and cooking of chicken is reflected in the thousands of calls that the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline receive.  The following information answers many of the questions these callers have asked about chicken.   Many of these calls we also get at the local County Extension Office and the USDA website is where we go for many of the questions we get also.

Chicken Inspection

All chickens found in retail stores are either inspected by USDA or by State systems which have standards equivalent to the Federal government. Each chicken and its internal organs are inspected for signs of disease. The “Inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture” seal  ensures that the chicken is free from visible signs of disease.

Chicken Grading

Inspection is mandatory, but grading is voluntary. Chickens are graded according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance, and freedom from defects. Grade A chickens have plump, meaty bodies and clean skin, free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts, and discoloration.

Fresh or Frozen

The term fresh on a poultry label refers to any raw poultry product that has never been held below 26 °F (-3.3 C). Raw poultry held at 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or below must be labeled frozen or previously frozen. No specific labeling is required on raw poultry stored at temperatures between 0 and 25 °F (-17.8 °C and -3.9 °C).

Dating of Chicken Products

Product dating is not required by Federal regulations, but many stores and processors voluntarily date packages of chicken or chicken products. If a calendar date is shown, there must be a phrase immediately adjacent to the date that explains the meaning of that date, such as sell by or use before.

The use-by date is for quality assurance; after the date, peak quality begins to lessen, but the product may still be used. It’s always best to buy a product before the date expires. If a use-by date expires while the chicken is frozen, the food can still be used because foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely.

Hormones & Antibiotics

No hormones are used in the raising of chickens.  Antibiotics may be used to prevent disease and increase feed efficiency. Before the bird can be slaughtered, a “withdrawal” period is required from the time antibiotics are administered. This ensures that no residues are present in the bird’s system. FSIS randomly samples poultry at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this monitoring program have shown a very low percentage of residue violations.


Additives are not allowed on fresh chicken. However, if chicken is processed, additives such as MSG, salt, or sodium erythorbate may be added but must be listed on the label.


Rinsing or Soaking Chicken

Washing raw poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. Rinsing or soaking chicken does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.

How to Handle Chicken Safely

Fresh Chicken: Chicken is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent the growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. Chicken should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Select fresh chicken just before checking out at the register. Put packages of chicken in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Make the grocery store your last stop before going home.

At home, immediately place chicken in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below. Use it within 1 or 2 days, or freeze it at 0 °F (-17.8 °C). If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely.

Chicken may be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged. If freezing chicken longer than 2 months, overwrap the porous store plastic packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place the package inside a freezer bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to freeze the chicken from opened packages or repackage family packs of chicken into smaller amounts. Proper wrapping prevents “freezer burn,” which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food.

Safe Thawing

There are three SAFE ways to thaw chicken: in the refrigerator, in cold running water, and in the microwave. Never thaw chicken on the counter or in other locations. It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Boneless chicken breasts, bone-in parts, and whole chickens may take 1 to 2 days or longer to thaw. Once the raw chicken thaws, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking

Safe Cooking

All Chicken needs to be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Grilled spicy chicken breast with herbs on old cutting board.Food background.Top view.









For more information about Food Safety and Quality contact:

Angela Treadaway (205) 410-3696 or email (treadas@aces.edu)


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Basic Mineral Nutrition in Forages Frequently Fed to Horses

Wild horses on the mountain














Basic Mineral Nutrition in Forages Frequently Fed to Horses

This Timely Information Sheet provides an overview of mineral nutrition of horses (Ca, P, K, Mg, Na, Cl, Fe, and Cu) and the importance of the forage nutritional analysis.

Background Information

With pasture and hay being the cornerstone of the equine diet, knowing its composition is vital to assuring our horse’s needs are being met. Unfortunately, horse owners are learning the importance of hay testing after their horse’s health has deteriorated. The nutrient content of forage is comprised of a complex interaction of factors, which include: soil fertility, texture and pH, environmental conditions during growth and hay curing, stage of growth when cut, species, and variety of forage.

An important component of the forage analysis often overlooked is the quantity of minerals. Minerals in forages can vary significantly with soil mineral content, plant species, stage of maturity at harvest, harvest conditions etc. Consequently, forages should be sent to a laboratory for mineral analysis. The forage analysis will include the following minerals required by horses: Ca (calcium), P (phosphorus), K (potassium), Mg (magnesium), Na (sodium), Cl (chlorine), Fe (iron), and Cu (copper). Providing minerals at less than the recommended quantities can result in a dietary deficiency whereas providing minerals in excessive quantities can result in toxicity. Mineral requirements of horses can be found in Tables 1 and 2. For further reading and requirements for special cases, the National Research Council (NRC) 2007 has a publication entitled Nutrient Requirement of Horses available for purchase (https://www.nap.edu/catalog/11653/nutrient-requirements- of-horses-sixth-revised-edition).


Macromineral Content in Forages

It is useful to know approximate mineral percentages of legumes versus grass hays when making a decision on the type of forage to be fed. Ca content is 1.3% and 0.6% in legumes and grasses, respectively. P content of most forages is approximately 0.25-0.35%. Mg is approximately 0.25-0.3% and 0.20-0.25% in legumes and grasses, respectively. K ranges 2.0-3% and 1.5-3% in legumes and grasses, respectively. There is less than 0.5% Na in all forages. Cl is between 0.5 to 1.0% in legumes and grasses, respectively. Note: Fe and Cu are reported in ppm, or mg/kg. Fe is approximately 150 mg/kg in legumes and 50 mg/kg in grass. Cu is very low in many forages and ranges from 9-11 mg/kg.


Deficiencies and Toxicities

High quality forages are typically adequate in Mg, K and S. Magnesium is a vitally important ion in the blood; it participates in muscular contraction and it is also a cofactor in several enzymes. In rare cases, deficiency of Mg may lead to hypomagnesaemia, which is associated with loss of appetite, nervousness, sweating, muscular tremors, convulsions, and mineralization of pulmonary artery caused by deposition of Ca and P salts.

While K deficiency in adult horses is rare, young foals may become deficient in K as a result of persistent diarrhea and this in turn tends to precipitate acidosis. Adult horses that are exercised strenuously are also at risk of deficiency due to the resulting spontaneous changes in plasma K. The Na and Cl requirements are met by providing salt. However, a performance horse that sweats a great deal may require K, Na and Cl supplementation to replace excess mineral loss via the sweat.

A critical consideration in mineral nutrition of the horse is the calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P) ratio. The functions of calcium and phosphorus are considered together because of their independent role as the main elements of crystal apatite, which provides the strength and rigidity of the skeleton. The elements of bone are in a continual state of flux with Ca and P being removed and redeposited by a process that facilitates the reservoir role and enables growth and remodeling of the skeleton to proceed during growth and development.

The Ca:P ratio should be approximately 2:1 with twice as much Ca as P; with acceptable ratios ranging from 1.5 to 3:1 in the young growing horse and 1:1 to 6:1 in the mature horse, assuming that adequate levels of P are provided. A ratio less than 1:1 where the P content actually exceeds that of the Ca content, even if the absolute amounts of Ca and P are adequate, will result in interference of the bioavailability of Ca which can cause orthopedic or bone disorders, especially in young, rapidly growing horses. The Ca and P content in forages can be variable.  Legumes typically have higher Ca concentrations than grasses whereas grains are usually high in P and low in Ca. Consequently, it is important to know the Ca and P content of all feedstuffs to ensure that the appropriate Ca:P ratio is achieved.

Copper is involved in cartilage formation and development and is of particular concern in growing horses. Since 1989, several studies have found that low Cu diets are associated with an increased incidence of developmental orthopedic disease in growing horses. Iron is used in formation of hemoglobin, which involved in oxygen transport in the body. Fe deficiencies are rarely reported and most forage sources meet the daily requirements of horses.

Table 1. Daily Nutrient Requirements of Horses (adapted from 1989 NRC for horses)
Item Weight (lb) Ca P Mg K Na Cu Fe
Maintenance lb g g g g g mg mg
880 16.0 11.2 6.0 20 6.7 67 268
1100 20.0 14.0 7.5 25 8.2 82 328
1320 24.0 16.8 9.0 30 9.7 97 388
Preg. mare
9 mo. 880 28.3 21.4 7.1 24 6.6 66 331
1100 34.6 26.2 8.7 29 8.1 81 405
1320 40.9 31.0 10.3 34 9.6 96 479
10 mo. 880 28.8 21.8 7.3 24 6.7 67 336
1100 35.2 26.7 8.9 30 8.2 82 412
1320 41.7 31.6 10.5 35 9.7 97 487
11 mo. 880 30.6 23.2 7.7 26 6.7 67 335
1100 37.4 28.3 9.4 31 8.2 82 410
1320 44.2 33.5 11.2 37 9.7 97 485
Lactating mare
Early lact. 880 44.8 28.9 8.7 37 8.8 88 440
1100 56.0 36.1 10.9 46 10.9 109 544
1320 67.2 43.3 13.0 55 12.9 129 647
Late lact. 880 28.8 17.8 6.9 26 8.1 81 403
1100 36.0 22.2 8.6 33 9.9 99 496
1320 43.2 26.7 10.3 40 11.8 118 590
Working horse
Light work 880 20.4 14.6 7.7 25 20.5 68 273
1100 25.0 17.8 9.4 31 25.1 84 335
1320 29.6 21.1 11.2 37 29.7 99 396
Moderate work 880 24.5 17.5 9.2 31 22.8 76 303
1100 30.0 21.4 11.3 37 27.8 93 371
1320 35.5 25.3 13.4 44 32.9 110 439
Intense work 880 32.7 23.3 12.3 41 28.2 94 376
1100 40.0 28.5 15.1 50 34.5 136 460
1320 47.3 33.8 17.8 59 40.8 136 545


Table 2. Daily Nutrient Requirements of Growing Horses (adapted from 1989 NRC for horses)
Age Ca P Mg K Na Cu Fe
Mo g g g g g mg mg
18 21.2 11.7 5.3 17 6.4 64 318
4 34.2 19.0 3.7 11 5.0 50 248
6 29.4 16.3 4.0 13 5.2 52 259


Prepared by: Courteney Holland, Extension Equine Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University, AL. January 2018. CMH – 2018.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer.






Alabama Extension Offers Tax Bill Workshops for Farmers









Alabama farmers can learn more about how the new tax law affects them individually and their farming operation at tax bill workshops from Alabama Extension’s Agribusiness Management Team. After the training, famers will be better equipped to navigate the new tax provisions.

Dr. Robert Tufts, an Alabama Extension farm management specialist and attorney, will conduct the workshops at 13 locations during February and March from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Three exceptions include the Feb. 1 Fairhope workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, the March 1 workshop in Opelika will be from from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., while the Shorter workshop lasts from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The workshop will highlight estate tax changes, individual tax changes and business tax changes in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The workshop will also include a comparison of pass-through entity taxes to C-corporations taxes using case studies showing effects on small-, medium- and large-sized operations.


A complete workshop agenda and location schedule is available by visiting the following link: http://www.aces.edu/agriculture/business-management/taxes/.

There is a $15 registration fee per individual or $50 for any person requesting continuing education credit. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Continuing education credit will also be available for accountants, attorneys, foresters and professional logging managers.

To register online and pay via credit card, complete online registration here. Participants may also call the local contact to register by phone and pay at the door.

Tax Bill Workshop Locations

Feb. 1 — Baldwin County
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center
8300 State Highway 104
Fairhope, Alabama
Contact : Ken Kelley
(251) 238-0373

Feb. 6 — Sumter County
ALFA Environmental Hall
University of West Alabama – Rodeo Drive
Livingston, Alabama
Contact: John Ollison
(205) 652-9501

Feb. 12 — Henry County
Wiregrass Research and Extension Center
167 AL Highway 134 East
Headland, Alabama
Contact: Jessica Kelton
(334) 693-3800 

Feb. 13 — Coffee County
5 County Complex
1055 East McKinnin Street
New Brockton, Alabama
Contact: Gavin Mauldin
(334) 894-5596 

Feb. 15 — Escambia County
Grace Fellowship Church
1412 East Nashville Avenue
Atmore, Alabama
Contact: Anthony Wiggins/Ken Kelley
(251) 867-7760

Feb 19 — Lauderdale County
Lauderdale County Extension Office
802 Veterans Drive
Florence, Alabama
Contact: Heidi Tilenius
(256) 766-6223

Feb. 20 — DeKalb County
Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center
13112 AL Highway 68
Crossville, Alabama
Contact: Robert Page
(256) 201-2465

Feb. 22 — Talladega County
Talladega County Extension Office
130 N. Court Street
Talladega, Alabama
Contact: Henry Borough
(256) 362-6187

Feb. 26 — Marion County
Marion County Extension Office
372 7th Avenue Southwest
Hamilton, Alabama
Contact: Lisa Murphy
(205) 921-3551

Feb. 27 — Dallas County
Black Belt Research and Extension Center
60 County Road 944
Marion Junction, Alabama
Contact: Jamie Yeager/Ken Kelley
(334) 872-7878

March 1 — Lee County
8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Lee County Extension Office
600 S. 7th Street, Suite 4
Opelika, Alabama
Contact: Tara Barr
(334) 749-3353

March 1 — Macon County
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
E.V. Smith Research Center
4725 County Road 40
Shorter, Alabama
Contact: Jessica Kelton
(334) 693-3800

March 8 — Tuscaloosa County
Courthouse Annex
2513 7th Street
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Contact: Lisa Murphy
(205) 349-4630

More Information

For additional questions about the program email Robert Tufts (tuftsra@aces.edu) or call (334) 734-2120.


Image by photofriday/shutterstock.com.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!