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Aim to limit alfalfa leaf loss

The second cutting of alfalfa may be underway for some farmers and is fast approaching for others. Whether baling hay, making baleage, or chopping haylage, one of the primary goals of harvesting alfalfa is to minimize leaf loss.

In the June issue of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute’s Farm Report newsletter, Ev Thomas writes that retaining alfalfa leaves is key to capturing forage quality. Alfalfa leaves are the parts of the plant that contain the highest concentration of crude protein, which drives milk production in dairy cattle, the agronomist states.

Thomas continued to cite research from Dan Undersander, emeritus professor and forage specialist with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, that shows alfalfa leaves have a relative forage quality (RFQ) of nearly 500. In contrast, plant stems have an RFQ value between 50 and 120.

June 27, 2023 08:00 AM

By Amber Friedrichsen, Associate Editor


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