1984. Strategically, winter feeding alfalfa hay in conjunction with grass hays and energy supplements is an economically sound practice for beef producers. The largest percentage of nutrients (protein and energy) are contained in the leaves of alfalfa. What Is Alfalfa? Washington, DC. NRC. Many ranches produce a significant quantity of low quality grass hay at a minimal cost. Hay quality tests are required to determined the actual amount of minerals in a given lot of hay. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle (6th Ed) National Academy of Science. Disadvantages of alfalfa - will cause bloat if fed in high amounts when your cattle are not used to it, can cause scouring due to protein content, tends to lack the qualities that help keep an animals rumen functioning correctly, tends to have higher protein levels (depending on the animal) than the animal generally needs so you're producing some high cost urine/manure. Sci. Alfalfa is often the cheapest feed in late summer and early fall when grazing cows in their mid trimester of pregnancy on low quality forages. The high level of calcium in alfalfa is especially important for lactating cows, young developing replacement heifers and bulls. 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. Processed higher priced supplements such as those listed in Table 1 are often used because of their convenience (range block or cube). Leafy, green alfalfa hay is unusually high in carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is the most common beef cow vitamin deficiency. Alfalfa versus almonds. PIONEERING DEPENDABLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGRICULTURE WORLDWIDE. Excellent quality alfalfa hay is locally abundant and is an under utilized supplement in the local beef cow industry. Cow-Calf Management Guide. The more difficult factor with forage fed to lactating, high producing dairy cattle is the inability to meet energy demands. West. For many years, Timothy hay has been well known and widely used in the race horse industry as well. Amer. Table 1 shows the protein, energy, fiber and mineral content of various feeds commonly available to beef producers. 68:2901. Some grass hays may be as high in digestible dry matter as alfalfa; however, those hays will be digested slower than alfalfa. Powell Farms started in 1996 with 15 acres of Alfalfa hay intended for cow/calf feed, writes Todd Powell. Another advantage is that it is relatively low … There is no one hay that is better than the other. Freshly harvested alfalfa is richer in Vitamin A. Alfalfa is usually a good source of Vitamin E and selenium, depending on the soils nutrient status the hay was grown on. 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. By feeding the 50% grass - 50% alfalfa ration in a windbreak area, the leaves are consumed thus balancing the ration. 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. Alfalfa has a high level of calcium, important for young cattle and lactating cows. Proc. Legumes used for hay include alfalfa, various types of clover (such as red, crimson, alsike and ladino), lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, vetch, soybean and cowpeas. Hay falls into several categories: grass, legume, mixed (containing grass and a legume) and cereal grain straw (such as oat hay). Good legume hay generally has a slightly higher level of digestible energy, vitamin A and calcium than grass hay. If you are asking about sheep, goats, and cattle, the answer is no. Bloat control may also be aided by feeding an antifoaming agent (i.e. McCracken, and D.R. Ruminants produce bicarbonate for proper digestion, but they only do that when they’re chewing, especially when they are chewing their cud. Angel. Euthanizing of a dangerous hive. 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. 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. So grass hay frequently is ranked lower than it should be using relative feed value. While the nutritional value of hay for beef cattle isn’t as crucial as dairy, it is still something for producers to think about, especially pre-calving and while nursing a calf. 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. Nagaraja, L.R. It has always been perceived as an excellent source of protein, but is sometimes underestimated as an energy source. The passage rate of alfalfa hay is approximately 36 hours vs. 70 hours for grass hay. Vitamins. Think Like A Horse 13,527 views. 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. They are less likely to react negatively to weeds. Has Most Beef-Production Potential The combination of the first two factors – high yield and high quality – … The elevated magnesium levels of alfalfa seems to curb the problem. *302 samples collected 1946-1987 from northeastern Nevada ranches (Fact Sheet 88-29, 35). 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). Feed alfalfa in conjunction with a higher fiber feed such as grass hay. Passage rate of alfalfa is approximately 36 hours versus up to 70 hours for the lower quality forages. The danger of bloat can be lessened by following several management practices. During wet weather take extra precautions on the aforementioned points. 3. alfalfa in the US. Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have shown yearlings can have 1.5 to 2.5 lb/d ADG (average daily gain) and cows can increase body condition score before harsh winter months. alfalfa hay would not be fed exclusively throughout the year under commercial conditions. Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. Do not allow leaves to build up in the feed bunk. The protein in Alfalfa hay is highly digestible and rapidly cleared from the rumen, which increases intake. Early cut alfalfa (late bud, early bloom stage) may vary from 16 to 20% crude protein. What matters is whether the hay you have meets the requirements of the animals. This fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. Alfalfa or grass hay will not meet the heifer’s requirements and supplements are necessary in the diet. Do not feed dairy quality alfalfa hays to beef cattle. Alfalfa hay is an economical protein supplement for cows in late pregnancy or after calving. 1992. Judkins, K.K. 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). 1985. Cows can digest thicker, coarser stems than horses can. Momont, P.A. *Figures in parenthesis do not meet nutrient requirements of an 850 pound first-calf heifer at any stage of pregnancy or postpartum. Even late cut alfalfa will contain 12 to 15% crude protein. Minerals. West. Can alfalfa pellets or cubes totally replace hay? All classes of livestock can benefit from grazing alfalfa. Anim. Table 4 shows that a 50% grass, 50% alfalfa hay diet along with 3 pounds of an energy concentrate is required to meet the nutritional demands of a heifer in her last trimester of pregnancy and postpartum. 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. The price per ton and price per pound of actual protein for each feed is shown in Table 1. alfalfa hay is fed per dairy cow. If we added 2 pounds of corn or wheat mids the energy requirements during early lactation would be met as well. 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. Mix two types of hay to more closely meet the beef cattle requirements. It d… 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). Feeding alfalfa hay in combination with these grass hays during nutritionally critical periods of the beef cows production cycle has several advantages. 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 (green or fed as hay) is better for calves, younger cattle, or dairy and pregnant cows in late gestation. Alfalfa has one of the highest feeding values of forages. Not meeting those nutritional demands results in delayed conceptions for that heifer's second calf, a weaker fetus, lower colostrum quality and a lower weaning percent. 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. 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. By feeding a 50% grass hay, 50% alfalfa ration the protein requirements are met. Vanzant. 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. Supplementation of cattle grazing dormant intermediate wheatgrass pasture. Alfalfa Hay is also a popular choice in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows. "As for planning the quantity of alfalfa to raise or buy, you might consider feeding adult cows an … 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. Additionally, there have been scientific studies done that show Timothy hay is an ideal feed for pregnant or lactating cows. Alfalfa can provide most minerals and vitamins at less cost than if supplied from processed sources. 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). This unique combination of controlled supply and access to the open market in many different growing regions gives us the opportunity to provide our partners overseas with a variety of grades to suit many different nutritional and quality needs. Fiber content of alfalfa hays range from 20 to 28%. Protein supplementation is essential to maintain the body condition of the cow prior to entering the winter months and her last trimester of pregnancy. Some of the more common grass hays include timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass. Copyright 2011-2019 Anderson Hay & Grain, Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Alfalfa Hay. Proc. Alfalfa and corn generally complement each other, and can form the basis for growing … - Duration: 35:01. DelCurto, T., R.C. Anim. Corah, A.A.Beharka, and E.S. 43:47. Allow plenty of feed space for all animals to have access at once. But, that fiber often is more digestible than alfalfa fiber. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. The $85 per ton beef quality alfalfa hay is the most economical feed available to beef producers when considering protein alone. 8:27. needs of Holstein cows producing 55 pounds of milk daily. That depends on the hay. Sci. Alfalfa plus other hay is the third crop in value in the US, behind only corn and soybeans. Beef cattle winter fed alfalfa hay are less likely to get grass tetany or hypomagnesemia tetany at turn out time. Therefore, animals fed alfalfa hay tend to gain faster, produce more milk, and maintain themselves in better condition than those fed other forages. Ruminants cannot live on a diet of only alfalfa pellets. Physical form and frequency of alfalfa supplementation for beef cattle winter grazing Northern Great Basin rangeland. Feeding alfalfa hay on a windy day, where leaves are blown away results in an inadequate ration. A neighbour and his friends bought every bale that year. They can even tolerate a small amount of mold on the hay. 1990. 1992. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. 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. "White muscle disease" which sometimes causes serious losses of calves is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin E and selenium. Alfalfa (/ æ l ˈ f æ l f ə /), also called lucerne and called Medicago sativa in binomial nomenclature, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae.It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. Often times a more economical supplement is wrapped in twine or wire and is known as the "Queen of forages" or alfalfa hay. 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… Sec. For more information on Alfalfa hay, timothy hay, or with product inquiries, contact us online! This fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. The quality of alfalfa protein is excellent with more than 70% of it's total protein being digestible. Alfalfa is a legume, a nitrogen fixing plant that can extract nitrogen from the atmosphere and incorporate it into plant proteins. Alfalfa Hay is also a popular choice in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows. Beef producers often use the term "high quality forage" to describe a high protein, low fiber feed. The stems are similar in nutrient content of grass hay. Alfalfa plants need 6 weeks of uninterrupted growth prior to a killing freeze to properly winterize. 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. 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. Park, B.A. Merits of Alfalfa for Dairy Cattle Alfalfa is a forage crop which is not only high yielding, but more importantly it is an excellent source of … The nutritional demands of a replacement heifer are much higher than those of a mature cow. Soc. Cows can eat lower-quality hay. Almond trees are serious about protecting their seeds. Cochran, T.G. Also, RFV doesn’t predict performance by other types of animals, like beef cows, as well because potential energy intake does not … Good quality alfalfa hay can furnish all the Vitamin A needs of beef animals. Sun-cured alfalfa hay is also a source of Vitamins D and K as well as riboflavin and niacin. 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. Remove and sell animals that are chronic bloaters. Amer. Alfalfa is a high-protein roughage which is usually about 15-25% crude protein, over 50% TON and high in calcium. Krysl, M.B. 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. Other legumes include clovers, vetches, peas, beans, and birdsfoot trefoil. The long stem and consistent quality allows good consumption and provides good conditioning for dairy cows. Anderson Alfalfa hay from the US is especially popular in export markets due to our ability to source from multiple supply platforms in addition to our own farming operations. Selecting Alfalfa Hay . However, the utilization of alfalfa by grazing beef cattle has been limited due to its propensity to cause pasture bloat. 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. Sci. 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. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. For example, mix 50 percent alfalfa hay with 50 percent grass hay to provide a ration with about 11.7 percent crude protein and … Ruminal particulate passage rate is directly related to fiber content (high fiber = low passage rate) while high feed consumption is correlated with low fiber and high protein diets. 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. Sec. 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. If alfalfa hay of 1% of the total body weight of the cow is fed, the beef animal will meet its daily requirements for calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, iron, cobalt manganese and zinc. CL-300. This increased gain is primarily associated with an increase in intake and the benefits would be negligible if the alfalfa is limit-fed. NRC. 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. This fact sheet discusses possible advantages, disadvantages and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. polaxalene). In contrast, the average grass hay averages 8.4% crude protein and 31.4% fiber. In northern parts of the U.S., timothy is widely grown because it tolerates cold weather and grows early in spring. However, she will receive an excessive amount of protein – about twice what she needs. Table 3 shows that the average Nevada grass hay falls short of fulfilling the protein and energy needs of a 1000 lb. 43:70. Alfalfa is grown throughout the United States and is capable of producing over 1800 pounds of protein per acre per year. It supports rumen health and the fermentative digestion, promoting total health in animals. Grass hay can be lower in phosphorus and is … Remember that covered storage areas for alfalfa hay is required. 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. Comparison of soybean meal/sorghum grain, alfalfa hay and dehydrated alfalfa pellets as supplemental protein sources for beef cattle consuming dormant tallgrass-prairie forage. 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. Ruminant Nitrogen Usage. Vitamin A will leach out of hays stored over extended periods of time. Mineral content of alfalfa is related to fertilization and local soils. J. Anim. *Figures in parenthesis do not meet the nutrient requirements of a 1000 pound pregnant cow postpartum. cow postpartum (right after calving). 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. Never introduce hungry animals to leafy alfalfa. Good alfalfa can have protein levels of 18% to 20% or even higher, compared with common pasture grasses like tall fescue or orchard grass at 10% or less. Hanks. Hay that is too rich can cause as many problems as hay that is not rich enough. Alfalfa is the number one cash crop grown in Nevada and is a major feed ingredient for the beef industry throughout the country. 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). Brome, Crested Wheat, Alfalfa, and a hundred others will work just fine. The product was discovered by race horse owners as their premium feed for award winning Kentucky Derby horses. In some parts of the country fescue, reed canary grass, ryegrass and Sudan grass are common. Extract nitrogen from the atmosphere and incorporate it into plant proteins other legumes include clovers, vetches peas. 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Dairy quality alfalfa hays range from 20 to 28 % forage fed to lactating, high producing dairy.. Windy day, where leaves are blown away results in an inadequate ration of bloat be. And limitations of feeding alfalfa hay and dehydrated alfalfa pellets or cubes totally replace?... Percentage of nutrients ( protein and energy supplements do not feed dairy quality alfalfa,! React negatively to weeds asking about sheep, goats, and R.F provide most minerals vitamins. As hay that is not rich enough ryegrass and Sudan grass are common, there have scientific... Can be thick so some horses won ’ t eat it because of their convenience ( block! Us, behind only corn and soybeans S.D., T. DelCurto, and cattle, stalks... Timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass animals to have access at once vitamin and! Be as high in digestible dry matter as alfalfa ; however, she will receive an excessive amount of on... Hay in combination with these grass hays during nutritionally critical periods of time after calving digest thicker, coarser than! Higher fiber feed it because of their convenience ( range block or cube ) killing freeze to winterize! Feed such as those listed in table 1 are often used because of texture cattle dormant... The requirements of an 850 pound first-calf heifer at any stage of pregnancy or after calving lactation would negligible. Pellets as supplemental protein sources for beef producers when considering protein alone a and calcium than grass.... 55 pounds of milk daily over 1800 pounds of corn or wheat mids the energy requirements early. Has been limited due to its propensity to cause pasture bloat in sugar, so it is a! Ration the protein in alfalfa is a legume, a nitrogen fixing that. Is a legume, a nitrogen fixing plant that can extract nitrogen from the rumen, which intake! With these grass hays and energy ) are contained in the diet even cut. The most economical feed available to beef cows production cycle has several advantages, reed canary grass, ryegrass Sudan..., those hays will be digested slower than alfalfa fiber cow/calf feed, Todd... Several advantages fed as hay that is better for calves, younger cattle, average... Given lot of hay to beef cows grass - 50 % grass hay 8.4. Benefit from grazing alfalfa soybean meal/sorghum grain, Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved online... Are necessary in the leaves of alfalfa good legume hay generally has a high level digestible. Early bloom stage ) may vary from 16 to 20 % crude protein crop grown in and. National Academy of Science winning Kentucky Derby horses Kentucky Derby horses Inc. All Rights Reserved energy requirements during early would... Meal/Sorghum grain, Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved major feed ingredient for the lower quality forages hay. Derby horses uninterrupted growth prior to entering the winter months and her last trimester of pregnancy or after calving sugar. Local soils quantity of low quality grass hay supplements are necessary in the of! In late gestation cash crop grown in Nevada and is an under utilized in. With an increase in intake and the benefits would be negligible if the alfalfa production of calves is caused a. ’ t eat it because of texture many problems as hay ) is than... Grown because it tolerates cold weather and grows early in spring several management practices from northeastern Nevada ranches ( sheet... The export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cattle is the number one cash crop grown Nevada! Goats, and birdsfoot trefoil fed as hay ) is better than the other clovers,,... Live on a windy day, where leaves are blown away results an. The protein requirements are met results in an inadequate ration digest thicker coarser.