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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: DIURNAL VARIATION IN FORAGE QUALITY AFFECTS ANIMAL PREFERENCE AND PRODUCTION

Authors
item Mayland, Henry
item Shewmaker, Glenn - UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
item Fisher, Dwight
item Burns, Joseph

Submitted to: Michigan Forage Council Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Plants accumulate sugars during the day and use them at night. Cattle, sheep, and goats are sensitive to diurnal changes in these sugars. Animals prefer forages harvested in afternoon to those harvested in morning, and eat more of the afternoon harvested hay. Dairy cows also produce more milk. Changing swathing time from morning to late afternoon can increase the value of harvest forage by 15% without increasing costs.

Technical Abstract: Plants accumulate sugars during the day and use them at night. Cattle, sheep, and goats are sensitive to diurnal changes in these sugars. Animals prefer forages harvested in afternoon to those harvested in morning, and eat more of the afternoon harvested hay. Dairy cows also produce more milk. Changing swathing time from morning to late afternoon can increase the value of harvest forage by 15% without increasing costs.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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