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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Morning and Evening Harvest Effects on Animal Performance - a Review

Authors
item Mayland, Henry
item Shewmaker, Glenn
item Burns, Joseph
item Fisher, Dwight

Submitted to: California Alfalfa Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 3, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Plants vary diurnally in concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC). Delaying forage harvest until mid to late afternoon could result in increased TNC in forage. Ruminants can differentiate between PM- harvested and AM-harvested grass and alfalfa hays and will eat more PM- harvested versus AM-harvested hay. In a related study, dairy cows ate about 10% more total mixed ration containing 40% PM-harvested alfalfa hay versus the same ration containing AM-harvested hay, produced more milk, and gained rather than lost body weight. Afternoon harvesting could add 15% to the feed value of forage compared with morning harvesting.

Technical Abstract: Plants vary diurnally in concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC). Delaying forage harvest until mid to late afternoon could result in increased TNC in forage. Ruminants can differentiate between PM- harvested and AM-harvested grass and alfalfa hays and will eat more PM- harvested versus AM-harvested hay. In a related study, dairy cows ate about 10% more total mixed ration containing 40% PM-harvested alfalfa hay versus the same ration containing AM-harvested hay, produced more milk, and gained rather than lost body weight. Afternoon harvesting could add 15% to the feed value of forage compared with morning harvesting.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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