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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1970. Department of Animal Science.


Copyright 1970, the author. Used by permission.


Alfalfa has been considered as one of the most important forage crops in the world. Certain studies have indicated that ruminants do not perform as well as expected when fed alfalfa products which contain the leaves. The present studies were initiated to determine if there was an actual problem associated with feeding of alfalfa leaves to ruminants.

Experiments were conducted to determine the feeding value of various alfalfa products and to determine if alfalfa leaves limit animal performance. Leaf and stem alfalfa products, produced by air separation, were fed to ruminant animals. Second cutting alfalfa stems and alfalfa whole plant, third cutting alfalfa stems and alfalfa whole plant and two limit fed concentrate rations were evaluated in a cattle growth trial. Alfalfa whole plant plus soybean meal and corn cobs, alfalfa whole plant and corn cobs, alfalfa stems and corn cobs, alfalfa whole plant, and alfalfa stem were also fed in a sheep growth study. The digestibilities of the rations used in the growth trials were determined with lambs. A digestion trial was also conducted with three rations containing 100, 66 and 33 percent alfalfa leaves and three comparable rations made up of wheat straw, corn and soybean-meal.

Advisor: Terry J. Klopfenstein