Three Critical Steps for Cattle Alfalfa Hay Suppliers

3 Customary Misconceptions With Regards To Alfalfa For Horses
January 30, 2020
Cattle Alfalfa Hay

Nothing can beat the excitement of opening a bale of high-quality alfalfa hay. The abundance of green leaves together with the smell of the alfalfa – the experience is next to nothing. Every bale counts for cattle alfalfa hay suppliers.

The steps for producing high-value hay are simple. However, below-mentioned two steps are of critical importance:

Starting with an excellent full stand of healthy alfalfa plants

Each region of a particular country has its specific recommendations for stand rotation. The producers who usually reap the best yields after twelve months rotate alternate crops in after two to three years. Severe winters, of course, impose winter kills on stands and play a part in this cycle.

In winter when you want the stand to go past winter, you should make sure the last cutting is done and taken before 1st September or after the very first frost. This will reduce new growth in the fall that extracts nutrient reserves out of the roots.

Cut at the right maturity under perfect drying conditions

Weather allowing, the perfect maturity to cut alfalfa is in the root of the one-tenth bloom phase. The maturity is an ideal blend of high nutrient value and yield. Morning is the best time to cut alfalfa leaving just 1 to 2 stubble inches, and it must be conditioned when cut to dislodge the waxy shell on the stem. The exception to the guidance is to leave a 1 to 2-inch stubble would be to leave more stalks (4 inches) during the season’s last cutting to catch snow.

By the introduction of alfalfa varieties of low-lignin, timothy hay manufacturers might have an extensive harvest window without losing digestibility. Wider harvest provides growers the flexibility for delaying the harvest to a later stage of maturity.

For the promotion of rapid drying, the alfalfa must be laid out in broad swaths that are 70 percent (at least) or higher the width of the cut row. Wide swaths enhance overall hay quality because of two factors:

  • Hay dries quicker
  • Hay cured in broad swaths contains lower ash content

Cattle Alfalfa Hay Suppliers

The Drying Mechanics

The first stage of drying is moisture loss out of leaves via pores or stomata in the leaf’s surface. The stomata allow moisture evaporation from the hay plant to cool it and carbon dioxide intake from the air as the plant is in the growth phase. Stomata open in the sunshine and close when dark and when moisture stress is massive. This propels rapid drying that is essential at this stage due to plant metabolism and respiration continues after the plant is cut.

The second stage of drying is the moisture loss from the leaf surface and from the stem.  At this point, conditioning can help increase the drying rate.

The last phase of drying is the loss of strongly held water, especially from the stems. Conditioning is essential to intensify drying during the phase. Conditioning to slash stems every two inches or scrap the waxy cuticle will magnify water loss through stem’s waxy cuticle.

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