Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The build up in forage sugars during the day increases dry matter yield, relative feed value, and overall forage quality while decreasing acid detergent fiber and neutral detergent fiber. Cattle, sheep, goats, and horses relish afternoon-cut hay relative to morning-cut hay. Preference is attributed in part to higher sugar concentrations. Some animals can differentiate among hays that differ by less than 0.5% total nonstructural carbohydrate. During 1998-99, Western alfalfa producers learned about benefits of afternoon cutting, applied it to 58% of acreage in 1999, and planned to cut 86% of the 2000 crop in afternoon. On a large dairy in Idaho, green chopped alfalfa was previously cut in morning but during 1999 it was cut in afternoon, chopped the next day and added to the total mixed ration. This was an effective and efficient way of incorporating the more nutritious forage into a large dairying enterprise. In Montana, Hereford heifers and stock horses were given afternoon- and morning-cut alfalfa as round bales placed in separate feed racks. Both groups ate afternoon-cut hay first and finished with morning-cut hay. This demonstration was repeated three times and each time animals showed a preference for the afternoon-cut hay.