Organic coconut meal for horses?

June 25, 2015 – Modesto, CA

You expect Modesto Milling to use organic ingredients and supplements to optimize animal and poultry health. But, did you know we also work with some of the best minds we can find to develop the formulations we use for feed? For example, in this month’s blog, our consulting equine nutritionist, Dr. Kathleen Crandell discusses the benefits of coconut meal which is one of the ingredients in our Horse Supplement Pellets.

With the boom in use of organic coconut oil there is a lot of high quality coconut meal readily available for use in feeds. Coconut meal (otherwise known as copra) is what is left after most of the oil is removed from the white fleshy part of the coconut. The natural method of squeezing the oil out of the coconut, a mechanical expeller process, yields a tasty meal that has in other regions of the world been proven to be an excellent source of energy and coat conditioner. With organic coconut meal, there is no risk of the product having been though a solvent extraction process which exposes the meal to harsh chemicals.

The benefits to horses of feeding organic coconut meal are numerous. There has been particular interest in coconut meal because of its low non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content (~11%) that makes it suitable for all horses, especially ones that have issues with glucose and insulin handling. What makes coconut meal such a good coat supplement is the healthy type of fat (~10%), medium chain fatty acids, which not only adds to the calories but is very stable and less susceptible to rancidity than long chain fatty acids found in other oils. It is also relatively high in protein (~20%) and contains indispensable amino acids, like lysine and methionine.

There are a few drawbacks to coconut meal, like a low calcium and high phosphorus content and an imbalanced zinc and copper ratio, that are mostly mineral related and are easily remedied when it is used as a component of a balanced concentrate feed or ration balancer that has added nutrients. Coconut meal can be a fine addition to a feed used for complementing the forage in a horse’s diet.