July 99 Progressive Farmer "Forages" article:

More TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) in Alfalfa Cut in the Afternoon

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