Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


Cattle feeders and ranchers of South Dakota winter and fatten a great number of cattle on harvested grasses and legumes. The forages are stored for winter feeding both as hay and as silage. Alfalfa is one of the important crops in both the eastern and western portions of the state. The use of alfalfa, particularly as silage, in cattle feeding is increasing. This has raised many questions regarding the efficiency of alfalfa silage in relation to hay. A number of experiments have been conducted at various stations in which the feeding value of grass and/or legume silage has been compared with hay from a similar crop. Most of these experiments have compared silage with hay on the basis of the weight of forage fed. Such experiments do not give an accurate value of the amount of feed obtained from a given acreage as silage or hay, since the amount of nutrients lost during harvesting and during storage is not considered. A considerable amount of nutrients may be lost during the harvesting of hay, and most farmers and ranchers seem well aware of this fact. Since silage is put up in the green state, little loss of nutrients occurs during harvesting. Little attention appears to have been given to the losses that may occur in silage during storage. Silage is stored by various methods varying from an above ground pile, representing no structural cost, to the expensive gas-tight silo. Many questions are received from farmers and ranchers concerning the relative value and cost of different methods of storing silage. The loss of nutrients under various methods of storage is an important consideration, as well as the cost of the silo. Little information is available from previous work from which to answer these questions. The experiment reported herein was conducted to compare the relative feeding value of alfalfa hay and alfalfa silage when stored by different methods for fattening steers. Silage was stored in a conventional tower silo, a trench and an above-ground pile. The experiment was conducted so that the feeding value of a given acreage or tonnage of forage, stored by the various methods, could be determined.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cattle -- South Dakota -- Feeding and feeds
Silage -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-34)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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