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Dry matter uptake and digestion of alfalfa harvested at sunset and sunrise

Burns, J.D. and Mayland, H.F. and Fisher, D.S. (2005) Dry matter uptake and digestion of alfalfa harvested at sunset and sunrise. Journal of Animal Science. 83:262-270.

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The preference exhibited by animals in selecting one feed over another is important only if the preferred diet is consumed daily in larger quantities, digested to a greater extent, or both. Six alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) hays were harvested in pairs at sunset (PM) and sunrise (AM) on consecutive days at three harvest dates. A previous study of these hays demonstrated differences in ruminant preference favoring PM harvests. This study evaluated the effects of time of cutting and harvest date on voluntary DMI and nutrient digestibility. The hays were field-cured, baled, and chopped before evaluation for intake and digestibility. Studies were conducted for sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus), and cattle (Bos taurus). Goats, but not steers or sheep, demonstrated differences in nutrient digestibility between PM- and AM-cut hays. Goats consumed more PM than AM hay (2.97 vs. 2.83 kg/100 kg of BW; P = 0.07) and digested it to a greater extent (0.710 vs. 0.696; P = 0.03), resulting in greater digestible DMI (2.11 vs. 1.97 kg/100 kg of BW; P = 0.03). Sheep consumed (mean = 2.52 kg/100 kg of BW; P = 0.59) and digested (mean = 0.681; P = 0.25) PM- and AM-cut hays similarly. Steers consumed larger quantities of PM-than AM-cut hay (2.90 vs. 2.62 kg/100 kg of BW; P = 0.11), but digestion did not differ with cutting time (mean = 0.660; P = 0.75). Difference values (composition of fed hay minus composition of orts) indicated that sheep and goats selected from the feed offered similarly, whereas steers selected differently. Difference values for CP averaged 94 and 101 g/kg for goats and sheep and 32 g/kg for steers (P < 0.01), and difference values for NDF averaged 185 and 196 g/kg for goats and sheep and 73 g/kg for steers (P <or= 0.01). Steer DMI and digestible DMI were associated with preference (r = +0.83, P <or= 0.05; and r = +0.89, P <or= 0.05) and with coordinates for preference criteria (dimension 1; r = +0.90, P <or= 0.05; and r = +0.89, P <or= 0.05) from a previous preference trial. Intake and digestion responses for goats and sheep showed no relationship with the previous preference trial measurements. For cattle and goats, the management strategy of mowing in the afternoon seems to take advantage of small, but influential diurnal changes in the soluble carbohydrate fraction and offers the potential to improve forage quality.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1242
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Alfalfa > Time-of-day harvest difference
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:58
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 16:09
Item ID: 1265