Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural Engineering


The quality of agricultural products is a concern of the American farmer. Quality alone often decides the market value of his product and may be the deciding issue in his net profit. So that he may demand top prices, the producer of bread wheat must produce a grain which is high in protein because high protein wheat is required by flour mills for high grade flour. The farmer raising barley, however, may have to aim for low protein grain since this is the most desirable for the malting industry. The shape, size, and cooking quality of potatoes seems to improve as the supply of potassium is increased. High quality forage is often characterized by its protein percentage and high protein forage demands are increasing. With the possible increase in irrigation development and an expanded livestock enterprise in South Dakota, high quality forage demands will develop at an accelerated pace. The integration of irrigation and livestock feeding could possibly become a great stabilizing factor for agriculture in South Dakota. As the development of irrigation increases, the feeder of livestock will turn his attention to the irrigation farmer for a reliable supply of high quality feeds. The precipitation varies from year to year in South Dakota. As the rainfall varies so do the crop yields and the quality of crop produced. The farmer may supplement rainfall through irrigation, thus more nearly ensuring a crop of uniform quality each year. The problem is then, “Is the maximum value to be obtained from irrigation only an increase in volume produced, or can a corresponding increase in quality also be expected?”. Since the flour millers demand high protein wheat, the malting industry demands low protein barley, the housewife and restaurants demand high quality potatoes, and the feeder of livestock continues to increase his demand for high quality feeds, the quality of these products can possibly be controlled by irrigation along with other production factors. The relatively few irrigators in South Dakota are now just getting the “feel” of irrigation farming. Several of the farmers who are irrigating alfalfa are beginning to ask questions concerning the relationship of the quality of irrigated hay to the quality of dryland hay. Most of the hay which is produced for market is sold by the ton. If irrigation produces high quality hay, the irrigation farmer has stated that this hay should be sold on a quality basis. Since a limited amount of study has been made on irrigated crop quality in South Dakota, the request has been made to initiate such a study. This study will be confined to one crop, that being alfalfa. The main objective of this study will be to compare the quality of irrigated alfalfa hay with the quality of dryland alfalfa hay. Various phosphorus fertilizer rates will also be incorporated into the study to determine the effects on quality of hay produced. In the study, quality will be based on the percent of protein produced under the moisture and fertilizers treatments. Studies on digestibility of the hay and protein will not be a concern of this study. The data obtained are to be evaluated in terms of alfalfa hay yield, percent protein of the hay, and crude protein produced.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa -- Irrigation
Alfalfa -- Fertilizers
Alfalfa -- Quality


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University