Lucerne and the balance of dairy cow diets
Paru en 1978 dans Fourrages n°74 (page 71 à 78)
Auteurs : Dubé N.
Forages based on lucerne are becoming very popular among the Quebec stock-breeders, both because of their high yield per unit area and because of their high nutritive value. But when lucerne is used, allowance should be made for the specific requirements of heifers at their various stages of development, and of dairy cows of different milk productivities.
For milking cows, lucerne may make up the totality of the diet and thus meet the high protein requirements of these animals, which lire often insufficiently supplied with this nutrient.
For dry cows, lucerne is too rich in protein and calcium, and should not constitute more then half the diet. For heifers, pure Lucerne hay is not advisable ; it would be
better to feed them first cut hay, which contains only 60 to 80% lucerne.
The management and feeding of the stock takes on a particular significance when forages of very high quality are used. Both excesses end deficiencies in certain nutrients should be watched against, end it should be avoided to change abruptly from a poor hey to a high quality lucerne hay. Lucerne silage is possible, provided the herbage has been pre-wilted (40-45 % D.M.). Considering the price of protein, a lucerne crop constitutes for a dairy cattle farm on economic asset which should not be neglected.