Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science


Production of good quality hay or silage and its proper storage without loss of the nutritive value is an important problem for dairy farmers. They are particularly interested in meeting the energy needs in feeding their herds for milk production. During the past decade there has been a substantial increase in the volume and intensity of research towards the nutritional and calorimetric aspects of cattle feeds. A number of unavoidable problems come in the way of their application causing financial disaster in today’s competitive economy of dairy farming. To increase milk production or to maintain a high level of production, dairy cattle must be provided with high quality forages, but large losses in their feeding value may occur due to problems in cutting, curing, weather conditions and improper storage. It is quite beneficial to store well cured hay in good condition without any loss of nutrients. To cost involved in providing proper storage space for forage required yearly for a large herd of cows in limiting factor, however, on many farms. In common practice hay fed to dairy cows is sometimes stacked outdoors. Such storage exposes hay to weather condition allowing a series of changes which deteriorate the nutritional value of the forage. This hay demands less price in comparison to hay stored under protected sheds. Devaluation of such alfalfa hay is primarily concerned with bleaching, browning and molding effects during storage Previous workers (McCampbell, 1919, Dodd, 1933) noticed equal body weight gains in steers by feeding normal and browned alfalfa hay, but 25% less gain has been observed with black alfalfa hay feeding. In general, clean brown alfalfa hay is very rarely found from outdoor hay stacks. Mostly mold growth is associated with such storage. No appreciable research has been conducted concerning the effect of molding on the nutritive value of alfalfa hay or silage. This is not only a problem in the United States of America, but is common to the farmers of most countries where extensive dairying is practiced. An attempt has been made in this research to investigate the feeding value of alfalfa hay stored outdoors associated with browning, bleaching and molding. It was also desirable to compare this feeding value with normal well cured alfalfa hay and low moisture alfalfa silage. Previous research at South Dakota State University indicated that when dairy cattle were fed only alfalfa haylage, they consumed abnormally large amount of dicalcium phosphate. This research was designed to obtain more information concerning such mineral problems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa as feed
Animal nutrition


Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-65)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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Dairy Science Commons