Direct-cut harvest and storage of alfalfa on the dairy farm

Clarence Alan Rotz, Ronald E. Pitt, Richard E. Muck, M. S. Allen, Dennis R. Buckmaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A simulation model of the dairy forage system (DAFOSYM) was used to study the long-term performance and economics of direct-cut alfalfa harvest and storage, with a treatment such as formic acid, to enhance preservation. Compared to a wilted silage system, total losses were not reduced substantially with the direct-cut system in Michigan. Handling of the wetter material increased machinery, fuel, and labor costs for transport and feeding. Even with no added cost for forage treatment and effluent handling, the direct-cut system was not economical. Direct-cut harvest with a treatment like formic acid was more economical than wilted silage only if a 3% increase in animal intake and milk production was attained - a scenario not supported through feeding trials. Development of a system for direct-cut harvest and preservation of alfalfa for the midwestern and northeastern U.S. appears infeasible considering known technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalTransactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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