Submitted to: Proceedings of the US Dairy Forage Research Center Information Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Intensive or severe conditioning of forage crops (sometimes called "maceration") greatly reduces the field-drying time required to reach moisture levels suitable for harvesting as hay or as silage. In addition, severely conditioning alfalfa has been shown to increase alfalfa digestibility by 10% or more. Because of the many small fragments resulting gfrom intensive conditioning, the forage has been pressed into a continuous cohesive strip called a "forage mat." Prototype machines which (1) mow, (2) macerate, (3) form "mats" and (4) place them on the stubble have been built by research and development groups. A method for quantifying the degree of conditioning has been developed. This consists of measuring the electrical conductivity of leachate made from the conditioned forage in a prescribed way. The conductivity appears to correlate well with both the severity of conditioning and with increases in rate of disappearance from polyester bags placed in the rumen.