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Variation in ruminant preference for alfalfa hays cut at sunup and sundown

Variación en la Preferencia de Rumiantes por Cortes de Pacas de Alfalfa en la Salida y Puesta del Sol

Fisher, Dwight S. and Mayland, Henry F. and Burns, Joseph C. (2002) Variation in ruminant preference for alfalfa hays cut at sunup and sundown. Crop Science. 42:231-237.

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Diurnal variation in the concentration of total nonstructural carbohydrates
(TNC) occurs in plants as a result of photosynthesis. Ruminants
have been shown to prefer tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea
Schreber) hays cut in the afternoon but the effect of morning vs.
evening cutting had not been tested in legumes. To test for diurnal
variation in preference for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), we harvested
six times in the midbud stage. Harvests were paired so that each time
a cutting of alfalfa was made at sundown (PM) another was made
the next morning at sunup (AM). We harvested in this manner three
times resulting in six hays. The hays were field dried, baled, and
chopped prior to their use 3 to 6 mo after harvest. Three experiments
were conducted [Exp. 1, sheep (Ovis aries); Exp. 2, goats (Capra
hircus hircus); and Exp. 3, cattle (Bos taunts)] utilizing six animals
in each case. During an adaptation phase, hays were offered alone
as meals. In the experimental phase, every possible pair of hays (15
pairs) was presented for a meal. Data were analyzed by multidimensional
scaling as well as by traditional analyses. Multidimensional
scaling indicated that the animals were basing selection on at least
two criteria. Variables associated with preference through multiple
regression varied across experiments but significant coefficients were
found between preference and nitrate, protein, carbohydrate fractions,
lignin, and cellulose. Coefficients varied depending on which other
variables were in the model; however, carbohydrates were associated
with positive coefficients. Shifting hay mowing from early in the day
to late in the day was effective in increasing forage preference as
expressed by short-term dry matter intake.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1061
Subjects: Animal > Feed preference
Irrigated crops > Alfalfa > Time-of-day harvest difference
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:50
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2016 16:04
Item ID: 133