Start Date

23-2-2006 1:45 PM

Description

Why do dairy farmers want high quality forages, including alfalfa hay, to feed to their milking herds? Feeding high-quality forages results in greater feed intake and as a result, dairy cows produce more milk, and they often times can produce this milk more economically. With advancing stage of plant maturity, fiber digestibility and protein content of the alfalfa plant decreases while the amount of fiber increases. Consequently, less energy is available to the cow when it consumes more mature alfalfa. Energy is the nutrient that most often limits performance in dairy or beef cattle - not protein. The take home message here is that the quality of alfalfa hay fed to dairy cows governs performance and profitability.

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Feb 23rd, 1:45 PM

Why Dairy Farmers Need and Want High Quality Alfalfa Hay: Quality of Hay = Performance and Profitability

Why do dairy farmers want high quality forages, including alfalfa hay, to feed to their milking herds? Feeding high-quality forages results in greater feed intake and as a result, dairy cows produce more milk, and they often times can produce this milk more economically. With advancing stage of plant maturity, fiber digestibility and protein content of the alfalfa plant decreases while the amount of fiber increases. Consequently, less energy is available to the cow when it consumes more mature alfalfa. Energy is the nutrient that most often limits performance in dairy or beef cattle - not protein. The take home message here is that the quality of alfalfa hay fed to dairy cows governs performance and profitability.