New RD project in dairy production: a more digestible alfalfa
Thanks to an investment by Novalait and its partners, new researcher Caroline Halde from Laval University is starting a project on the evaluation of more digestible alfalfa cultivars for dairy farms in Quebec.
To date, several alfalfa cultivars have been selected for increased digestibility. However, their productivity and nutritional value have never been tested in the field under Quebec climatic conditions.
The project has three components:
1) Evaluate different alfalfa cultivars more digestible under the bioclimatic conditions of Quebec to compare their yield, nutritional value and persistence;
2) Evaluate the impact of the use of more digestible alfalfa on the performance of dairy cows;
3) Evaluate the economic impacts of the use of this alfalfa on dairy farms in Quebec.
Four high digestibility alfalfa cultivars will be compared to a control according to different types of seedling and cut management. These cow-fed alfalfas will measure if there are differences in milk yield, milk composition, forage digestibility, and enteric methane production. The team will also evaluate the use of more digestible alfalfa on the farm net income. Ultimately, the project will tell us whether the adoption of high digestibility alfalfa is beneficial for a dairy farm in the Quebec agricultural context.
Photo credit : Olivier Soucy, Université Laval