Evaluate your winter hay feeding practices to avoid waste?
Over 70% of the nutritional value of alfalfa is found in the leaves. Forage harvest decisions are largely based upon preserving as much of the leaves as possible while ensuring adequate moisture levels (18 to 20% for small square bales, 16 to 18% for round bales and <16% for large square bales). Raking and baling when the hay is too dry can result in a 34% loss in dry matter (leaves), which can equate to a 44% loss in crude protein and a 40% loss in TDN when compared to optimal harvest conditions. Preserving leaves needs to be just as important during winter feeding as it is in the summer during harvest. Feeding areleft on the ground.