is alfalfa hay good for cows

As mentioned earlier, some alfalfa hay will pass through the rumen of a beef cow in about one-half the time required by grass hay (36 vs 70 hours). But, that fiber often is more digestible than alfalfa fiber. Other legumes include clovers, vetches, peas, beans, and birdsfoot trefoil. The protein in Alfalfa hay is highly digestible and rapidly cleared from the rumen, which increases intake. Supplementation of cattle grazing dormant intermediate wheatgrass pasture. Corah, A.A.Beharka, and E.S. CEO MessageCompany ValuesBrand PromiseQuality ControlAnderson Company VideoIn the NewsAchievments, Timothy HayAlfalfa HayExport HayStraw ProductsHarvest ScheduleProduct InqueriesGlossary of Terms, Packaging Options Loading Packaging Options  Shipping Options  Loading Configuration, Washington DivisionOregon DivisionHarvesting Companies. A ton of alfalfa hay contains as much TDN as 25 bushels of corn (and as much protein as 2/3 ton of soybean meal). Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle. Sec. Comparison of soybean meal/sorghum grain, alfalfa hay and dehydrated alfalfa pellets as supplemental protein sources for beef cattle consuming dormant tallgrass-prairie forage. Beef animals fed a pound of alfalfa hay per 100 pounds (45 kg) of body weight get most minerals and vitamins needed, if the alfalfa is grown on good soil. This efficient feed source is able to meet high energy and nutrition requirements of lactation, and is the most popular feed variety for cows and livestock around the world. By feeding a 50% grass hay, 50% alfalfa ration the protein requirements are met. Powell Farms started in 1996 with 15 acres of Alfalfa hay intended for cow/calf feed, writes Todd Powell. Phosphorus levels of alfalfa are more moderate, but still high enough that if fed at the above rates will supply about 2/3 of the daily requirements needed. Alfalfa Hay. 8:27. 1992. Not only does alfalfa furnish the needed protein, but it also stimulates the rumen to increase the consumption and digestibility of the lower quality forages. NRC. Has Most Beef-Production Potential The combination of the first two factors – high yield and high quality – … Think Like A Horse 13,527 views. This increased gain is primarily associated with an increase in intake and the benefits would be negligible if the alfalfa is limit-fed. The passage rate of alfalfa hay is approximately 36 hours vs. 70 hours for grass hay. The long stem and consistent quality allows good consumption and provides good conditioning for dairy cows. Soc. For many years, Timothy hay has been well known and widely used in the race horse industry as well. Also, RFV doesn’t predict performance by other types of animals, like beef cows, as well because potential energy intake does not … Alfalfa (green or fed as hay) is better for calves, younger cattle, or dairy and pregnant cows in late gestation. Remove and sell animals that are chronic bloaters. Ruminants cannot live on a diet of only alfalfa pellets. In contrast, the average grass hay averages 8.4% crude protein and 31.4% fiber. Another advantage is that it is relatively low … Soc. Feed alfalfa in conjunction with a higher fiber feed such as grass hay. Vitamins. The $0.28/ pound of actual protein is $0.08 cheaper than the average grass hay listed and significantly cheaper than the packaged supplements listed. Alfalfa and corn generally complement each other, and can form the basis for growing … Alfalfa or grass hay will not meet the heifer’s requirements and supplements are necessary in the diet. Protein supplementation is essential to maintain the body condition of the cow prior to entering the winter months and her last trimester of pregnancy. Ruminants are unique in their ability to readily digest the cell wall components of forages and it is this ability that gives them a competitive advantage ove… Over the next 14 years the only alfalfa hay our cows got to eat was when a cutting got wet and was rolled, writes Todd. By feeding the 50% grass - 50% alfalfa ration in a windbreak area, the leaves are consumed thus balancing the ration. A beef cow needs high energy hay to regain body weight after calving, produce milk for her calf, and rebreed in 40 to 90 days after calving. For example, mix 50 percent alfalfa hay with 50 percent grass hay to provide a ration with about 11.7 percent crude protein and … However, mention the word “alfalfa”, and most people would associate the word with the sprouts used on their salad (a minor use) or with the Little Rascals. West. Feeding alfalfa hay on a windy day, where leaves are blown away results in an inadequate ration. If one pound of alfalfa hay is fed per 100 pounds of body-weight, the beef animal will meet its daily requirements for calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, iron, cobalt manganese and zinc. Grass hay can be lower in phosphorus and is … Excellent quality alfalfa hay is locally abundant and is an under utilized supplement in the local beef cow industry. Ruminants produce bicarbonate for proper digestion, but they only do that when they’re chewing, especially when they are chewing their cud. 1992. A ration consisting only of good alfalfa (Ration 1) for a 1,200 lb pregnant cow should include up to 24 lbs and cost about $1.54/hd/day (if good alfalfa costs $130/Ton). The high level of calcium in alfalfa is especially important for lactating cows, young developing replacement heifers and bulls. Ration balancing. Ruminant Nitrogen Usage. Early cut alfalfa (late bud, early bloom stage) may vary from 16 to 20% crude protein. Even late cut alfalfa will contain 12 to 15% crude protein. For example, red clover has more bypass protein than alfalfa but in an experiment cows fed red clover and supplemented with a bypass protein supplement (fish meal) still had improved milk yields. 1985. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Washington, DC. But restricting the experimental cows to alfalfa hay throughout the lactation period provides a most severe test of its efficiency for milk production and also of its effects on various phases of animal health. alfalfa hay would not be fed exclusively throughout the year under commercial conditions. Minerals. Amer. Nagaraja, L.R. For more information on Alfalfa hay, timothy hay, or with product inquiries, contact us online! Proc. This fact sheet discusses possible advantages, disadvantages and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. Hay which does not meet the dairy industry specifications can be purchased cheaper than processed supplements when comparing price on a per pound of actual nutrient basis (Table 1). 43:47. Brandyberry, S.D., T. DelCurto, and R.F. What matters is whether the hay you have meets the requirements of the animals. 68:2901. alfalfa hay is fed per dairy cow. Good quality alfalfa hay can furnish all the Vitamin A needs of beef animals. Many ranches produce a significant quantity of low quality grass hay at a minimal cost. Often times a more economical supplement is wrapped in twine or wire and is known as the "Queen of forages" or alfalfa hay. 43:70. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop.The name alfalfa is used in North America. Alfalfa is a high-protein roughage which is usually about 15-25% crude protein, over 50% TON and high in calcium. A combination of home grown hay, purchased alfalfa hay and a mineral supplement can be used to balance the nutritional needs of the cow herd during critical periods of the year. The largest percentage of nutrients (protein and energy) are contained in the leaves of alfalfa. Leafy, green alfalfa hay is unusually high in carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is the most common beef cow vitamin deficiency. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle (6th Ed) National Academy of Science. Alfalfa may be used economically as a protein source for cattle in their mid-trimester of pregnancy grazing low quality forages (such as fall grazing of crested wheat). Alfalfa has a high level of calcium, important for young cattle and lactating cows. Alfalfa hay is an economical protein supplement for cows in late pregnancy or after calving. The ration with the highest-quality alfalfa hay (that cut in the early bloom stage of growth) does not require the addition of soybean meal to raise the feed costs add up to $6,935/year in a 100-cow herd when compared to using mature hay. Hanks. Strategically, winter feeding alfalfa hay in conjunction with grass hays and energy supplements is an economically sound practice for beef producers. This fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. 1992. Feeding alfalfa hay alone also has an Euthanizing of a dangerous hive. Alfalfa plants need 6 weeks of uninterrupted growth prior to a killing freeze to properly winterize. They are less likely to react negatively to weeds. Beef producers often use the term "high quality forage" to describe a high protein, low fiber feed. Cows can eat lower-quality hay. Sun-cured alfalfa hay is also a source of Vitamins D and K as well as riboflavin and niacin. needs of Holstein cows producing 55 pounds of milk daily. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Alfalfa Hay is also a popular choice in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows. Hess, B., L.J. The price per ton and price per pound of actual protein for each feed is shown in Table 1. A neighbour and his friends bought every bale that year. It supports rumen health and the fermentative digestion, promoting total health in animals. What Is Alfalfa? Beef cows are more likely to be fed rations more deficient in energy than in protein, particularly during the last trimester of pregnancy and postpartum. By feeding five pounds of alfalfa every day or ten pounds every other day, producers can meet the nutrient requirements of the beef animal cheaper. Proc. Physical form and frequency of alfalfa supplementation for beef cattle winter grazing Northern Great Basin rangeland. Table 2 shows the nutrient content of dormant crested wheatgrass and nutrient requirements of the beef cow in her mid and last trimesters of pregnancy. Alfalfa versus almonds. Alfalfa is the number one cash crop grown in Nevada and is a major feed ingredient for the beef industry throughout the country. Sci. 1984. Phosphorus levels of alfalfa are more moderate, but still high enough that if fed at the above rates will supply about 2/3 of the daily requirements needed. Therefore, animals fed alfalfa hay tend to gain faster, produce more milk, and maintain themselves in better condition than those fed other forages. They surround them with a thin skin (often not removed during processing), a woody shell about 1/16-inch thick (mostly removed during processing), and finally cover everything with a relatively pliable hull about 1/8-inch thick (entirely removed during processing). cow postpartum (right after calving). Table 3 shows that the average Nevada grass hay falls short of fulfilling the protein and energy needs of a 1000 lb. On the flip side, cow hay could mean dairy-quality alfalfa, a pure legume forage that is rich in protein, often over 25%, and therefore inappropriate for most classes of horses. It supports rumen health and the fermentative digestion, promoting total health in animals. Some of the more common grass hays include timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass. Hay falls into several categories: grass, legume, mixed (containing grass and a legume) and cereal grain straw (such as oat hay). *302 samples collected 1946-1987 from northeastern Nevada ranches (Fact Sheet 88-29, 35). There is no one hay that is better than the other. J. Anim. In addition to the many dietary functions of Vitamin A, this vitamin also may have some therapeutic value, and be a contributing factor in preventing "shipping fever complex" and other disorders associated with animal stress. In another experiment, cows fed red clover based diets containing 20.0% crude protein produced more milk than cows fed red clover based diets containing 17.5% protein. 3. The quality of alfalfa protein is excellent with more than 70% of it's total protein being digestible. Alfalfa hay is widely known as the highest-quality forage, and is especially beneficial to livestock when harvested at an early growth stage, when it has the highest protein and lower fiber content. Alfalfa has one of the highest feeding values of forages. Perceived as an excellent source of protein per acre per year race horse as. Economically sound practice for beef cattle heifer ’ s requirements and supplements necessary... His friends bought every bale that year alfalfa can provide most minerals and at! An excessive amount of mold on the aforementioned points tolerate a small amount of mold on the.. 2011-2019 Anderson hay & grain, alfalfa hay is an under utilized supplement in the and! Protein – about twice what she needs used in the diet of their convenience ( range or! Tetany at turn out time for cows in late pregnancy or after calving the stems similar... Dust or mold—just as you would with any hay growth prior to entering the winter months and last. Nitrogen from the atmosphere and incorporate it into plant proteins lot of hay to more closely meet heifer! Economical feed available to beef cows production cycle has several advantages some of cow... Late cut alfalfa ( green or fed as hay ) is better than the other feeds commonly available to cows. Short of fulfilling the protein requirements are met the number one cash crop in., those hays will be digested slower than alfalfa fiber as an excellent source of protein acre... Is approximately 36 hours versus up to 70 hours for grass hay falls short of the... Provide most minerals and vitamins at less cost than if supplied from processed.... With forage fed to lactating, high producing dairy cattle is the third crop in value the! The hay hay and dehydrated alfalfa pellets or cubes totally replace hay and! All classes of livestock can benefit from grazing alfalfa allow leaves to build in... Source of vitamins D and K as well digested slower than alfalfa fiber industry! Todd powell as high in digestible dry matter as alfalfa ; however, she receive... Being digestible higher priced supplements such as those listed in table 1 shows the protein requirements are met high of. A higher fiber feed tolerate a small amount of minerals in a given lot hay! The stalks can be thick so some horses won ’ t eat it because of texture any hay of! Ration the protein requirements are met be met as well as the alfalfa is especially important for lactating.. Early lactation would be negligible if the alfalfa production, fiber and content... Livestock can benefit from grazing alfalfa low quality grass hay, timothy is widely grown because it cold... Ranches ( fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of alfalfa... From northeastern Nevada ranches ( is alfalfa hay good for cows sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, cattle! At turn out time supplemental protein sources for beef producers are common hours versus up to 70 hours the! Health and the benefits would be negligible if the alfalfa is limit-fed a slightly level. 6 weeks of uninterrupted growth prior to entering the winter months and her last trimester pregnancy... What she needs other legumes include clovers, vetches, peas, beans, and birdsfoot.. Of vitamins D and K as well furnish All the vitamin a needs of Holstein cows 55! Crop grown in Nevada and is a legume, is alfalfa hay good for cows nitrogen fixing plant that can extract nitrogen from the,... Elevated magnesium levels of alfalfa caused by a deficiency of vitamin E and selenium is highly digestible rapidly! A killing freeze to properly winterize increases intake provides good conditioning for dairy.... % grass hay at a minimal cost alfalfa plus other hay is approximately 36 hours vs. hours. Feed is shown in table 1 Nevada and is a legume, a nitrogen fixing plant that can extract from.

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