July 99 Progressive Farmer "Forages" article:
Studies in California and Missouri have established that alfalfa hay cut late in the afternoon has a higher
nutrient content than alfalfa cut in the morning.
"During the day, plants accumulate sugars, and those sugars are depleted at night," reports University of Missouri Extension forage specialist Rob Kallenbach.
In particular, hay cut in the afternoon has a higher concentration of total digestible nutrients. TDN can vary by 4 to 5% over a 24-hour period. With regard to animal performance, alfalfa cut in the afternoon is worth about $15 per ton more than that cut in the morning.
July 99 Progressive Farmer "Forages" article