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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 23 No. 2, p. 225-229
    Received: Oct 23, 1981

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Acceleration of Alfalfa Drying in the Field by Chemical Application at Cutting1

  1. M. Wieghart,
  2. J. W. Thomas,
  3. M. B. Tesar and
  4. C. M. Hansen2



Chemicals were sprayed on alfalfa at cutting to reduce the exposure time of cut forage and thereby decrease the risk associated with field drying. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) was sprayed during field mowing with solutions of potassium carbonate alone, but more frequently in combination with methyl esters of long chain fatty acids and an emulsifier (X-77). Spraying with the three-component mixture increased mean dry matter (DM) during a 2 to 3 day trial by a factor of 1.09 to 1.40 compared to unsprayed alfalfa. Drying was faster after spraying with the three-component mixture than with the potassium carbonate solution alone. At the end of the 1st day (8 to 10 hours after spraying) the DM content of the untreated alfalfa ranged from 49 to 59% while alfalfa sprayed with the three-component mixture had 52 to 82% DM. Mean DM of seed bearing or blooming alfalfa that was sprayed with the three-component mixture was 1.08 to 1.13 that of unsprayed alfalfa. Seed stage alfalfa had greater drying rate than did blooming alfalfa when both had the same water content. Heavily crimped alfalfa had a mean DM that was 1.04 times that of lightly crimped alfalfa and spraying with the three-component mixture increased mean DM by factors of 1.08 and 1.11, respectively. This spraying technique hastened the drying of cut alfalfa under various field conditions.

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