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Moore, Ransom Asa, 1861-1941 / The seeding, growing, and curing of alfalfa

Moore, R. A.
University of Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station special bulletin: the seeding, growing, and curing of alfalfa,   pp. [1]-12 ff. PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 10

Special Bulletin.
exceedingly green when cocked or rainy weather sets in it will
"heat" unless the cock is opened every day or two. In favor-
able weather no more difficulty will be experienced in curing
alfalfa than in curing heavy growths of clover. Like clover
the leaves are rich in nitrogen, and they drop off readily when
dry, and therefore the aim of the farmer should be to cure
the alfalfa with the least possible handling. One-half of the
feeding value may be lost through the weathering and im-
proper handling of the crop.
Hay caps.-A much better quality of hay will be secured if
the crop is cured under hay caps than in open cocks or wind-
rows. Caps can be made from light cotton duck by hemming
the edges to prevent raveling. Eyelets should be made in the
corners in which strings should be tied to fasten the caps.
Heavy wire cut eighteen inches in length and a loop made at
the top in which to tie strings attached to cap make a convenient
arrangement to hold the caps in place. The wire pegs can
be either run into the ground or pushed into the sides of the
cocks of alfalfa. (See Fig. 5.)
Ex-Governor Hoard recommends horse shoe attachment for
strings. To make these, cut old horse shoes at toe calk mak-
ing two weights of each shoe. Punch holes through shoe about
two inches from the cut end so that the short end of shoe will
stick into the hay and thus hold the cap in place. Some make
little sacks or pockets in each corner of the cap and fill with
gravel or stone for cap weights.
Storing the crops.-Alfalfa is either stacked or placed in a
barn after curing. Considerable of the feeding value is lost
through stacking as the hay is porous and rain penetrates the
stacks to the extent of two or three feet. An outside mow
with roof does fairly well and little of the alfalfa is lost when
stored under cover. A covering of marsh hay or a tarpaulin
will prevent damaging of alfalfa in the stack. It is well to
let the alfalfa "sweat" in the cock, otherwise it will heat and
get musty in the barn.
The great amount of valuable forage taken from a limited
acreage has led many to think that a large portion of the farm
should be sown to this important crop regardless of conditions.

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