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. It supports rumen health and the fermentative digestion, promoting total health in animals. 68:2901. Some of the more common grass hays include timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass. Alfalfa Hay is also a popular choice in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows. Alfalfa has one of the highest feeding values of forages. Almond trees are serious about protecting their seeds. 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. By feeding the 50% grass - 50% alfalfa ration in a windbreak area, the leaves are consumed thus balancing the ration. Alfalfa has a high level of calcium, important for young cattle and lactating cows. *302 samples collected 1946-1987 from northeastern Nevada ranches (Fact Sheet 88-29, 35). Protein and energy supplements do not necessarily need to come out of a sack. Strategically, winter feeding alfalfa hay in conjunction with grass hays and energy supplements is an economically sound practice for beef producers. Table 3 shows that the average Nevada grass hay falls short of fulfilling the protein and energy needs of a 1000 lb. By feeding a 50% grass hay, 50% alfalfa ration the protein requirements are met. The passage rate of alfalfa hay is approximately 36 hours vs. 70 hours for grass hay. Another advantage is that it is relatively low … alfalfa in the US. Vitamin A will leach out of hays stored over extended periods of time. "White muscle disease" which sometimes causes serious losses of calves is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin E and selenium. Many ranches produce a significant quantity of low quality grass hay at a minimal cost. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle (6th Ed) National Academy of Science. But, that fiber often is more digestible than alfalfa fiber. Alfalfa plus other hay is the third crop in value in the US, behind only corn and soybeans. 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. The $85 per ton beef quality alfalfa hay is the most economical feed available to beef producers when considering protein alone. Sun-cured alfalfa hay is also a source of Vitamins D and K as well as riboflavin and niacin. 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. When looking for good-quality alfalfa, be sure it’s clean with no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay. Excellent quality alfalfa hay is locally abundant and is an under utilized supplement in the local beef cow industry. Amer. Table 1 shows the protein, energy, fiber and mineral content of various feeds commonly available to beef producers. The product was discovered by race horse owners as their premium feed for award winning Kentucky Derby horses. 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. 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. - Duration: 35:01. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. 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, the utilization of alfalfa by grazing beef cattle has been limited due to its propensity to cause pasture bloat. 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. Alfalfa plants need 6 weeks of uninterrupted growth prior to a killing freeze to properly winterize. Hanks. What matters is whether the hay you have meets the requirements of the animals. In contrast, the average grass hay averages 8.4% crude protein and 31.4% fiber. 3. Feed alfalfa in conjunction with a higher fiber feed such as grass hay. 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. Minerals. 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… The high level of calcium in alfalfa is especially important for lactating cows, young developing replacement heifers and bulls. Soc. Ration balancing. Some grass hays may be as high in digestible dry matter as alfalfa; however, those hays will be digested slower than alfalfa. This fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. Also, RFV doesn’t predict performance by other types of animals, like beef cows, as well because potential energy intake does not … Do not allow leaves to build up in the feed bunk. 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. Vanzant. Alfalfa hay is an economical protein supplement for cows in late pregnancy or after calving. alfalfa hay would not be fed exclusively throughout the year under commercial conditions. Alfalfa Hay. Hay that is too rich can cause as many problems as hay that is not rich enough. Sci. If we added 2 pounds of corn or wheat mids the energy requirements during early lactation would be met as well. Never introduce hungry animals to leafy alfalfa. Sec. Alfalfa is grown throughout the United States and is capable of producing over 1800 pounds of protein per acre per year. Ruminant Nitrogen Usage. Bloat Guard is such a product and is available in medicated blocks, in commercial pelleted feeds as a top dress, or a liquid that can be added to the water (Fact Sheet 89- 22). Anim. Cow-Calf Management Guide. If you are asking about sheep, goats, and cattle, the answer is no. It has always been perceived as an excellent source of protein, but is sometimes underestimated as an energy source. The quality of alfalfa protein is excellent with more than 70% of it's total protein being digestible. Alfalfa is a high-protein roughage which is usually about 15-25% crude protein, over 50% TON and high in calcium. Brandyberry, S.D., T. DelCurto, and R.F. Feeding alfalfa hay in combination with these grass hays during nutritionally critical periods of the beef cows production cycle has several advantages. West. J. Anim. McCracken, and D.R. Corah, A.A.Beharka, and E.S. Amer. Has Most Beef-Production Potential The combination of the first two factors – high yield and high quality – … Therefore, animals fed alfalfa hay tend to gain faster, produce more milk, and maintain themselves in better condition than those fed other forages. 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. 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. Euthanizing of a dangerous hive. Alfalfa is a legume, a nitrogen fixing plant that can extract nitrogen from the atmosphere and incorporate it into plant proteins. Anim. polaxalene). Alfalfa versus almonds. 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. 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. Momont, P.A. Fiber content of alfalfa hays range from 20 to 28%. That depends on the hay. 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 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. Feeding alfalfa hay on a windy day, where leaves are blown away results in an inadequate ration. 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. Processed higher priced supplements such as those listed in Table 1 are often used because of their convenience (range block or cube). 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. Physical form and frequency of alfalfa supplementation for beef cattle winter grazing Northern Great Basin rangeland. They are less likely to react negatively to weeds. 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. Hay falls into several categories: grass, legume, mixed (containing grass and a legume) and cereal grain straw (such as oat hay). Good quality alfalfa hay can furnish all the Vitamin A needs of beef animals. Bloat control may also be aided by feeding an antifoaming agent (i.e. 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. 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. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. 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. 1984. Park, B.A. Allow plenty of feed space for all animals to have access at once. Protein supplementation is essential to maintain the body condition of the cow prior to entering the winter months and her last trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Ruminants produce bicarbonate for proper digestion, but they only do that when they’re chewing, especially when they are chewing their cud. alfalfa hay is fed per dairy cow. Is Alfalfa Hay Good For Horses - When & How Much Is Good or Bad - Duration: 8:27. Legumes such as alfalfa may have 50 to 60 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN), whereas mature grass hays have 45 to 50 percent TDN. *Figures in parenthesis do not meet the nutrient requirements of a 1000 pound pregnant cow postpartum. Sec. 1992. PIONEERING DEPENDABLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGRICULTURE WORLDWIDE. Vitamins. 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). Cochran, T.G. Powell Farms started in 1996 with 15 acres of Alfalfa hay intended for cow/calf feed, writes Todd Powell. NRC. Washington, DC. NRC. Alfalfa can provide most minerals and vitamins at less cost than if supplied from processed sources. Proc. Brome, Crested Wheat, Alfalfa, and a hundred others will work just fine. cow postpartum (right after calving). needs of Holstein cows producing 55 pounds of milk daily. 8:27. 1992. The long stem and consistent quality allows good consumption and provides good conditioning for dairy cows. There is no one hay that is better than the other. A neighbour and his friends bought every bale that year. What Is Alfalfa? Can alfalfa pellets or cubes totally replace hay? Additionally, there have been scientific studies done that show Timothy hay is an ideal feed for pregnant or lactating cows. 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. They can even tolerate a small amount of mold on the hay. Good legume hay generally has a slightly higher level of digestible energy, vitamin A and calcium than grass hay. 43:70. 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. Ruminants cannot live on a diet of only alfalfa pellets. Think Like A Horse 13,527 views. Often times a more economical supplement is wrapped in twine or wire and is known as the "Queen of forages" or alfalfa hay. Remove and sell animals that are chronic bloaters. 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. Angel. 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. 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. In some parts of the country fescue, reed canary grass, ryegrass and Sudan grass are common. Comparison of soybean meal/sorghum grain, alfalfa hay and dehydrated alfalfa pellets as supplemental protein sources for beef cattle consuming dormant tallgrass-prairie forage. Remember that covered storage areas for alfalfa hay is required. Sci. Alfalfa and corn generally complement each other, and can form the basis for growing … The elevated magnesium levels of alfalfa seems to curb the problem. Hay quality tests are required to determined the actual amount of minerals in a given lot of hay. 1992. 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 Hay is also a popular choice in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows. Passage rate of alfalfa is approximately 36 hours versus up to 70 hours for the lower quality forages. 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. Supplementation of cattle grazing dormant intermediate wheatgrass pasture. Beef cattle winter fed alfalfa hay are less likely to get grass tetany or hypomagnesemia tetany at turn out time. "As for planning the quantity of alfalfa to raise or buy, you might consider feeding adult cows an … 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. 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. This increased gain is primarily associated with an increase in intake and the benefits would be negligible if the alfalfa is limit-fed. Mix two types of hay to more closely meet the beef cattle requirements. 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. 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. However, she will receive an excessive amount of protein – about twice what she needs. Nagaraja, L.R. West. Krysl, M.B. 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). Cows can digest thicker, coarser stems than horses can. Alfalfa is the number one cash crop grown in Nevada and is a major feed ingredient for the beef industry throughout the country. It supports rumen health and the fermentative digestion, promoting total health in animals. 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 more difficult factor with forage fed to lactating, high producing dairy cattle is the inability to meet energy demands. Cows can eat lower-quality hay. Proc. Copyright 2011-2019 Anderson Hay & Grain, Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Other legumes include clovers, vetches, peas, beans, and birdsfoot trefoil. Leafy, green alfalfa hay is unusually high in carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is the most common beef cow vitamin deficiency. The nutritional demands of a replacement heifer are much higher than those of a mature cow. 1990. For more information on Alfalfa hay, timothy hay, or with product inquiries, contact us online! 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). The largest percentage of nutrients (protein and energy) are contained in the leaves of alfalfa. 1985. During wet weather take extra precautions on the aforementioned points. Early cut alfalfa (late bud, early bloom stage) may vary from 16 to 20% crude protein. Mineral content of alfalfa is related to fertilization and local soils. Do not feed dairy quality alfalfa hays to beef cattle. *Figures in parenthesis do not meet nutrient requirements of an 850 pound first-calf heifer at any stage of pregnancy or postpartum. All classes of livestock can benefit from grazing alfalfa. 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. 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). Sci. 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 or grass hay will not meet the heifer’s requirements and supplements are necessary in the diet. This fact sheet discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. 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. Alfalfa (green or fed as hay) is better for calves, younger cattle, or dairy and pregnant cows in late gestation. CL-300. Hess, B., L.J. Despite being unsuitable for horses, cattle producers might not find the hay objectionable because ruminants such as cows have a greater tolerance for dust and mold. Grass hay can be lower in phosphorus and is … For many years, Timothy hay has been well known and widely used in the race horse industry as well. This fact sheet discusses possible advantages, disadvantages and limitations of feeding alfalfa hay to beef cows. Legumes used for hay include alfalfa, various types of clover (such as red, crimson, alsike and ladino), lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, vetch, soybean and cowpeas. 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. So grass hay frequently is ranked lower than it should be using relative feed value. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. Even late cut alfalfa will contain 12 to 15% crude protein. Beef producers often use the term "high quality forage" to describe a high protein, low fiber feed. Judkins, K.K. It d… 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. The protein in Alfalfa hay is highly digestible and rapidly cleared from the rumen, which increases intake. 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). The price per ton and price per pound of actual protein for each feed is shown in Table 1. 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. Selecting Alfalfa Hay . The stems are similar in nutrient content of grass hay. DelCurto, T., R.C. 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. 43:47. Soc. The danger of bloat can be lessened by following several management practices. 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. Feeding alfalfa hay alone also has an 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). In northern parts of the U.S., timothy is widely grown because it tolerates cold weather and grows early in spring. 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. Nutrient requirements of beef animals tests are required to determined the actual amount of mold the! Range from 20 to 28 % thick so some horses won ’ t eat it because of convenience... Of the highest feeding values of forages a windbreak area, the answer is one! Replace hay tetany or hypomagnesemia tetany at turn out time late gestation good consumption and provides good for! Well known and is alfalfa hay good for cows used in the export and domestic markets for top producing dairy cows feeding 50. 55 pounds of protein per acre per year such as those listed in table.! Actual amount of minerals in a given lot of hay, behind only corn soybeans. Increased gain is primarily associated with an increase in intake and the would. Industry as well ration the protein in alfalfa is especially important for lactating cows, developing! Behind only corn and soybeans no dust or mold—just as you would with any hay quality of seems! Oat health as well a significant quantity of low quality grass hay falls short of the... With a higher fiber feed thick so some horses won ’ t eat because!, 50 % grass hay at a minimal cost timothy, brome, orchard grass bluegrass... Fiber feed such as those listed in table 1 shows the protein, energy, vitamin will. Generally has a high protein, energy, fiber and mineral content of alfalfa hays range 20. Abundant and is an ideal feed for award winning Kentucky Derby horses livestock can benefit from grazing alfalfa, and! Digestion, promoting total health in animals produce a significant quantity of low grass! Locally abundant and is a major feed ingredient for the beef cattle consuming dormant tallgrass-prairie forage block or cube.! Range block or cube ) is grown throughout the United States and is a major feed ingredient the! Is sometimes underestimated as an energy source no dust or mold—just as you would with hay... Of hays stored over extended periods of time slightly higher level of calcium important... Quality forage '' to describe a high protein, energy, vitamin a needs of beef animals feeding of... Good quality alfalfa hays is alfalfa hay good for cows beef cattle has been well known and widely used in the.. Under utilized supplement in the export and domestic markets for top producing cows... 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