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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1923. Department of Agronomy.


Copyright 1923, the author. Used by permission.


The stage and maturity at which to cut alfalfa for hay and the method of handling it after cutting in order to secure the highest yield and quality is still a much disputed question.This is true of all hay crops, but applies more especially to alfalfa and leguminous hays because of the greater tendency for their leaves to shatter and to the higher percentage of nutrients which they contain. Some investigational work has been conducted with harvesting alfalfa at different stages of maturity but few data can be found in the literature giving direct experimental evidence on the methods of curing.

Rate of drying or curing and the time it takes for hay to become sufficiently dry for storing are controlled to a large extent by the moisture content of the hay at time of cutting, the nature of the crop, weather conditions prevailing during the curing period and the method of handling.The quality of the hay produced is determined largely by the latter two, and it is only the last, the method of handling, that can be controlled to any extent by cultural practices.

In order to arrive at the rate of curing and the quality resulting, a large number of moisture determinations and physical leaf and stem separations were made with alfalfa hay cut at different stages and cured under different conditions during the summers of 1921 and 1922.Chemical (fodder) analysis of leaves and stems were also included for 1921.

Advisor: T. A. Kiesselbach