Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science


The importance of alfalfa hay in dairy cattle feeding is generally acknowledged. The reasons why alfalfa is used so extensively in dairy cattle rations are due to its high protein content, high acceptability by cattle, its wide ·area of adaptation, and high yields. A popular way of handling the forage is to put it up as hay. South Dakota produced 3,261,000 tons of alfalfa hay in 1968. There were 73 million tons of alfalfa hay produced in the United States during 1968 (10) making it a crop of major importance. Farming practices have changed considerably the last ten years. Among these changes has been the replacement of machinery for labor because of the difficulty of securing farm workers. Farm operators have attempted to reduce the labor involved in the haying operation by stacking the hay loose or as bales in the field, to be hauled to the farmstead later for feeding. Stack frames, stack movers, bale collectors, and mechanical bale stackers have all reduced the man hours of labor required to harvest hay. With the increased use of these mechanical devices to reduce labor, increasing amounts of alfalfa hay are being stored out of doors and exposed to the weather rather than being protected in the hay loft of the stanchion barn. It appeared beneficial to examine the losses in alfalfa hay that was stored exposed to the weather. The economy of storing alfalfa hay under a temporary or permanent type cover may be advantageous to conserve more nutrients in the hay and still take advantage of the labor-saving methods of handling hay. The objectives of this study were to determine the cost of making hay by various methods, to determine the change in chemical composition of the hay as affected by methods of harvesting and storage, and to determine the influence of harvesting and storage methods on nutrient utilization.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa as feed


Includes bibliographical references (pages 31-34)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted

Included in

Dairy Science Commons