Harvesting of high-quality haylage from alfalfa in natural conditions is a real art owned by few farms. Indeed, in the process of drying and machining the crop, significant losses can occur, as well as the whole process is accompanied by risks that are not affected by people (weather).

Important factors in harvesting:

1. The optimal time for moving of alfalfa for both haylage and dry fodder is the budding phase.

During this period of growth, the plant has an optimal ratio of protein, energy and fiber. In the budding phase of alfalfa contains 20-22% protein in dry matter. Its content in alfalfa rapidly decreases over time, and already in the flowering phase of the plant contain no more than 14% protein in dry matter. That is why it is important not to miss the right time to start mowing.

Harvesting haylage on one of the farms of CC of AMP. This year, harvesting of crops began at the beginning of budding due to weather conditions, it was not possible to postpone.

2.  The secret of the correct mowing of alfalfa, which is shared by Vladimir Nazarenko who is the consultant-technologist of CC of AVM. In the photo you can see what the field should look like after mowing and what should be the cutting height of alfalfa, about 8-12 cm (preferably 10 cm).





It should`n forget that the cut should be even and the stems should look ragged, this is achieved with the help of sharp knives on the mower. It is necessary to control the sharpness of the knives and sharpen them twice a day. This makes it possible to reduce the tillering of alfalfa and reduces the growth time of the plant.

Influence of stubble height on the concentration of Clostridium in grass silage




Висота стерна  - stubble height

3. Nutrient composition in different phases of ripening crop

The smaller the difference in dry matter of herbage during harvesting, which comes from the field into the silo trench, the easier and more stable will be used forage during the year. The optimal range of dry matter of herbage delivered from the field to the silo trench should not exceed 3-5% (35-40% of dry matter).





Стадія - Stage

% листків - % of leaves

Сирий протеїн - Crude protein

НДК - NDF (Neutral Detergent Fiber)

  1. Злакові - Cereals
  • Виход в трубку – Booting
  • Колосіння - Earing
  • Стадія після колосіння - Stage after earing
  1. Бобові – Legumes
  • Бутонізація –  Budding
  • Початок цвітіння – Early bloom
  • Цвітіння – Mid bloom
  • Повне цвітіння – Late bloom

4. Relative feed value

As the plant ripen, the NDF and ADF indicators increase and the NDF digestibility decreases, which in turn reduces the value of animal feed. Also, when the plant ripens, protein and energy are reduced. All these indicators affect the relative feed value.







  • Сухостійні корови – Dry cows
  • Нетелі - Heifer
  • Пізня лактація –Late lactation
  • Телята 12-18 місяців - Calves of the 12 - 18 months
  • Середня лактація – Mid lactation
  • Телята 3-12 місяців - Calves of the 3 - 12 months
  • Рання лактація - Early lactation
  • молочні телята - Dairy calves

The higher the relative feed value, the more efficiently we can use it and get more products from the animal.

5. The dependence of wall thickness on feed quality






Стінка клітини і якість корму –  Cell wall and feed quality

Ранній квітень - Early April

Ранній червень - Early June

Вміст клітини - Cell content

Стінка клітини - Cell wall

Протеїн – Protein

НДК пер. - NDF

Якість – ВИСОКА / НИЗЬКА - Quality - HIGH / LOW

A cow can consume 1.2% of the gallbladder's cell wall or NDF.

6. The influence of technology on the harvesting of haylage

To quickly and evenly dry the crops to optimum moisture, it is necessary to use special equipment on mowers.



tine conditioner                     roller conditioner






Line conditioner is used more for cereals, roller conditioner for legumes.