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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #109719

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

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

Submitted to: Michigan Forage Council Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: 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.