For the present bachelor thesis two hay batches were randomly tested to determine their
hygienic quality and the occurrence of meadow saffron.
The results were compared with those of Lejeunes (2012). The extent of the contamination of
the batches with meadow saffron was analysed and a spot check size was determined,
which gives a nearly representative assessment of the occurrence of meadow saffron in one
The two batches (10 tonnes each), were sampled by random selection of 40 small hay bales.
For the sensory analysis of the 80 samples the evaluation system of the ÖAG was used to
calculate feed value and assess the hygienic quality of the hay samples. With the help of an
analysis of the stem to leaf ratio the energy content was evaluated. Also the meadow saffron
proportion of each hay sample was identified. Through statistical evaluation criteria were defined
to support a decision of acceptance or rejection of the hay supply.
In the present study quality deficiencies such as the formation of dust and the occurrence of
meadow saffron were registered. Most samples were found to be very dusty, being the major
complaint concerning hygiene, but also contaminants such as soil, tiny branches and meadow
saffron were found. In every second to third sample the toxic plant was found. In one of
two batches the concentration of meadow saffron in contaminated samples always was
above the set limit of < 0,015 % defined as cutoff for the present study. If meadow saffron is
found in one of the first samples drawn, the likelihood to find a higher concentration of meadow
saffron in the whole batch increases. Due to the high occurrence of meadow saffron in
the examined batches, drawing six samples, for example would have been sufficient to have
a high chance (L1: p= 0,972; L2: p= 0,822) of finding a meadow saffron contamination close
to the limit. In such a case a refusal of the delivery would be justifiable.
The current study proved that meadow saffron poses a problem for hay production for the
examined hay producing farm. Producers should implement measures to control meadow
saffron and improve production methods. It remains the duty of the Vetmeduni Vienna to thoroughly examine incoming hay batches and to promote the education of the animal care
takers. They should be able to recognize the toxic plant and take special care during feeding.
If these steps are taken, the likelihood of consuming meadow saffron can be reduced. This
will help to ensure that the horses of the Vetmeduni Vienna do not get a staple diet which is
injurious to their health.