Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Paul V. Fonnesbeck


Paul V. Fonnesbeck


Gene Woolridge


Melvin Anderson


John Butcher


Yield and chemical changes of second-cutting alfalfa hay treated with artificial rain were determined in a 2 x 3 x 2 factorial experiment. Factors were 2 stages of maturity (1 = late vegetative; 2 = early bloom), 3 levels of artificial rain applied (1 = no rain; 2 =low or approximately 5 mm; 3 = high or approximately 20 mm), and 2 times of applying artificial rain (1 = when drying forage was 40-60% dry matter; 2 = when drying forage was 60-75% dry matter). Thirty samples of alfalfa were collected at the 2 stages of maturity when the alfalfa was fresh cut, pre-sprinkled, pre-baled and pre-feeding. Alfalfa samples were analyzed for dry matter, nitrogen, ash, plant cell walls, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, total lipids and acid insoluble ash. Available carbohydrates and soluble ash were calculated.

Yield of dry matter increased with advancing maturity. Plant cell content fraction was lowered but plant cell wall constituents were increased with advancing stage of growth.

Artificial rain significantly affected chemical composition of alfalfa hay. Available carbohydrates, soluble ash and ash decreased due to the effect of leaching. Total lipids was slightly reduced by leaching, while protein content was not changed. Cellulose, lignin and cell wall fractions of alfalfa hay increased consistently under the effect of artificial rain. Sprinkling and processing time did significantly change the chemical composition of alfalfa hay. DM and AlA content increased in relation to process.

Interactions among treatment factors were generally nonsignificant. The only significant interactions were maturity-by-artificial rain level effect on available carbohydrate, lipids, cellulose and cell wall.

In general, alfalfa hay treated with artificial rain had a lower nutritive and economic value than when it is not affected by any rain.