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Wisconsin Dairymen's Association / Fortieth annual report of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association : held at Beloit, Wis., November, 1911. Report of the proceedings, annual address of the president, and interesting essays and discussions relating to the dairy interests
(1912)

Glover, A. J.
Silage and alfalfa for dairy cows and their values as compared to other crops,   pp. 91-96 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 92


Fortieth Annual Report of the
before seeding alfalfa, about two tons of either ground limestone or
marl are applied per acre.
The feeding value of alfalfa depends to no small degree upon the
process of curing. If it is permitted to dry in the swath, the sun
dries the leaves and bleaches the alfalfa which carries off some of
its nutrients or at any rate makes them less usable and makes it less
palatable. In handling it, after it is cured In the swath, a large
amount of the leaves are lost and the leaves are the most nourishing
part of the alfalfa.
On Hoard's Dairyman farm, alfalfa is cured in cocks weighing
from 70 to 80 pounds each. It is cut in the forenoon and raked up
into windrows and put into cocks in the afternoon. The cocks are
then covered with a quality of "A" sheeting, torn into strips 40
inches
square; to each corner of the square or cap is tied a small weight
which may be made of cement, or nuts weighing 4 ozs. may be used.
These weights are attached to the corners of the cap to prevent the
wind from blowing them off and to hold them firmly over the top
of the cock of hay so that it will shed water.  It will take from
two to three days to cure it sufficiently in this manner. An hour
before it is time to draw the hay to the barn the cap should be re-
moved and the cock opened up to permit the air and the sun to take
up the surplus moisture. Alfalfa cured in this way produces the very
best quality of hay. If it rains the cocks do not become soaked and
the sun does not destroy any of the nutrients.
When we come to consider the composition of alfalfa, we at once
begin to realize its value to the dairy industry. On land that would
yield fifty to sixty bushels of corn per acre, it is not unreasonable
to expect it to produce from three to four tons of alfalfa hay. In
four tons of alfalfa hay there are 4,000 lbs. digestible nutrients of
which 880 lbs. are digestible protein.
Professor Fraser, of the Illinois Experiment Station, found by ex-
perience that alfalfa hay was practically equal to bran. The cows
fed on alfalfa were in better physical condition than those receiving
bran. Of course, he fed a very high grade of alfalfa hay. It was
cut at the right time and cured properly. It should be observed that
alfalfa hay Is rich in the element protein and therefore supplements
corn silage very well which is comparatively rich in the element car-
bohydrates. An acre of land that will produce fifty to sixty bushels
of corn will yield in the neighborhood of ten tons of green corn per
acre. In ten tons of corn silage there are 3440 lbs. of digestible nutri-
ents of which 280 lbs. are digestible protein. It should be observed that
the alfalfa produced 4,000 lbs. digestible nutrients of which 880 lbs.
were digestible protein. For a moment let us consider these crops
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