Department of Animal Husbandry, Department of Biochemistry
Prairie hay makes up a major part of the harvested feeds that are fed to cattle and sheep in many areas of South Dakota. A large number of animals are also grazed most of the winter on the matured and standing grass in the range area of the state.
Chemical analysis of samples cut from various areas of the state, reflecting the extremes in harvesting dates (June to October), show this hay varies from more than 10 to less than 4 percent protein. Stage of maturity when harvested was found to have a big effect on the protein and phosphorus content. The amount of these two nutrients as well as the feeding value in general were re- duced considerably with advancing maturity.
Yield of dry matter also decreases as the cutting date is delayed beyond the heading stage. Results of experiments in which these observations were made appear in bulletin 405 of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.
prairie hay feeding value, prairie hay nutritional value
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts
Embry, L. B.; Sastler, G. F.; and Olson, O. E., "Feeding Value of Early, Medium and Late Cut Prairie Hay" (1956). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 457.