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The Stage of Growth


THE STAGE OF GROWTH at which fod ders are harvested have a marked in fluence on their digestibility. Young growing plants contain relatively more protein and less woody fiber than older plants and are more easily digested. As plants approach maturity there is gen erally a translocation of a large portion of the protein, starch and fat to the seeds, leaving the hard, woody portion, or crude fibers, in the stems. This is why straw made from crops cut when the grain is ripe is so greatly inferior in feeding value to the hay made from the same grains if cut when the grain is in the early dough stage. flay made from ripe grasses is no better than straw.

The yield of early cut plants is very much less than from mature plants, so that the total amount of digestible nu trients is greater as the plants approach maturity. The greatest amount of di gestible food in the grasses is obtained about the time, or soon after, they come into bloom and this is the time they should be cut for hay.