Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science

Major Professor

C. E. Wylie

Committee Members

M. H. Kerr, Eric Winters



This study was undertaken for the purpose of comparing the nutritive value of bin-cured and field-cured alfalfa hay, using actual feeding trials with dairy heifers.

Any study involving the production and preservation of more and better hay has great economic importance. Shepherd and others (21), in discussing the losses of hay from a national standpoint, state that:

The uncertain weather conditions that frequently exist while hay is being made, particularly in the humid sections of the country, are responsible for variations in the quality of the hay and for large losses of nutrients during harvesting. Conservative estimates indicate that losses during harvesting amount to l5-20 percent of the dry matter and 25-30 percent of the protein, under reasonably favorable conditions. Larger losses occur when rainy weather occurs during haying or when cloudy or humid weather makes it necessary to handle the forage considerably to facilitate drying.

Allred and Luebke (2) conducted a survey of haying practices in Knox County, Tennessee, in 1942, and found that losses of hay in the field and in storage were estimated at 4.8 percent of the value of all hay harvested. A survey made by Saville (20) in 1945 of 31 farms in Rutherford County, Tennessee, indicated that 37 percent of the first-cutting alfalfa hay was damaged to some degree by rain.

Shepherd (21) points out that in recent years much work has been done to develop methods of harvesting hay crops so as to eliminate the hazards of the weather, to reduce the harvesting losses, and to produce a higher quality feed.

This study was designed to test the comparative nutritive value of field-cured and bin-cured alfalfa hay. If the trial shows no significant difference in the nutritive value of the two hays, then the greatest economic value of bin-curing hay lies in the possibility of producing larger amounts of hay.

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