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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Novel Harvest Technologies for Fractionating Alfalfa into Leaf and Stem Fractions Project Number: 3655-21000-055-02
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 01, 2014
End Date: Sep 30, 2017

Objective:
1) Modify existing leaf harvesting system to accommodate variable field growing conditions and plant development and to improve delivery to trailing wagons; and 2) collaborate to develop on-farm storage practices that ensure long-term, high-quality products with both alfalfa leaves and stem fractions.

Approach:
The existing leaf stripper will be modified to improve field performance under variable growing conditions. An enhanced design of the equipment will improve performance and reliability, and lower operating costs. Different storage options will be evaluated to determine optimal practices that ensure high-quality alfalfa leaf fractions at feed out, preserving protein, and minimizing chances for clostridial fermentation. Alternative methods of handling the bulkier stem fraction will be examined to prevent spoilage waste during storage.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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