DAVENPORT, Neb. (DTN) -- Instead of using traditional methods of timing hay cuttings, producers may want to time cuttings to match the nutrient content of the hay with the needs of their livestock.
According to Bruce Anderson, Nebraska Extension forage specialist, timing the harvest of hay to meet the nutrient needs of livestock can minimize the need for protein supplements.
Plant maturity at harvest influences forage quality more than any other factor, Anderson said, as nutrient quality is directly tied to plant maturity. Unfortunately, the maturity of alfalfa plants has a negative relationship to nutrient quality.
"As the plant gets ...