A Canadian study shows that shifting alfalfa cutting from morning to afternoon increases milk yield. Alfalfa cut in the afternoon and fed as silage increased milk production about 2 pounds per cow per day. The reason, say the researchers, is that alfalfa cut in the afternoon contains more total nonstructural carbohydrates or sugars than alfalfa cut in the morning. In this study, the total nonstructural carbohydrate content of alfalfa cut in the late afternoon was 36 percent greater than alfalfa cut in the early morning.

The researchers presented the results this summer at the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting.