Research is developing new understanding of forage, fiber, and the animal’s ability to use them. We have also increased understanding of the genetics of alfalfa to allow improved variety selection methods and enhanced performance for the farmer. This paper will consider both topics.
Generally dairymen have perceived grasses to be too high in fiber for high producing dairy cows. But, with knowledge of digestible fiber, we have learned that the fiber of grass is more digestible than that of alfalfa. This has opened some new opportunities for dairymen and many have begun to incorporate some grass into their rations.