Now, follow-up studies by ARS scientists and
their university colleagues are showing the same trend with alfalfa hay.
Animals apparently discriminate on the basis of total nonstructural
carbohydrates, that is, easily digestible starches and sugars, in the forage.
Other experiments to probe chemical and physical characteristics of forages
indicate that cattle prefer tall fescues with high levels of a natural chemical
known as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one.
Investigations probing the influence of minerals like calcium, magnesium and
potassium on animals forage choices are also underway. For details, see
the story in the September issue of Agricultural Research magazine on
the World Wide Web at:
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Henry F. Mayland, ARS
Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research
Laboratory, Kimberly, Idaho, phone (208) 423-6517, fax (208) 423-6555,