Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2005
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Citation: Scarbrough, D.A., Coblentz, W.K., Ogden, R.K., Turner, J.E., Humphry, J.B., Coffey, K.P., Daniel, T.C., Sauer, T.J., Jennings, J.A., Kellogg, D.W. 2006. Nitrogen partitioning and estimates of degradable intake protein in wilting orchardgrass and bermudagrass hays damaged by simulated rainfall. Agronomy Journal. 98:85-93. Interpretive Summary: In much of the Southeastern U.S., harvesting hay is complicated by weather conditions as high humidity and frequent rains occur during times when hay crops mature. Thus, producers often face a choice between baling hay before it has dried to the optimum moisture content, delaying harvest until suitable weather occurs, or subjecting their hay crop to rain damage. Baling hay that is too wet, waiting too long to harvest, and letting rain fall on mown grass all decrease the quality of the hay as animal feed. The purpose of this study was to measure the changes in protein content of orchardgrass and bermudagrass hay that was subjected to simulated rainfall at varying moisture contents. It was found that protein content of the forages changed more when the grass was dry before being rained upon and that the protein content of orchardgrass changed more than bermudagrass. These results are important to producers trying to optimize the digestive quality of forage by achieving timely harvest without rain damage.