Relative feed values

Since my ewes are preferring the baled rye to the alfalfa/orchard grass (which is moldy this year), I was curious how the relative feed value (RFV) would compare. I had both the rye and the alfalfa/orchard grass analyzed for fiber, protein and relative feed value and was surprised to find the rye has nearly the RFV of the hay.

The rye bales came off my farm on May 21 when we baled 10 acres of rye cover crop prior to planting soybeans. We got 46 large round bales that day. I do not have enough bale feeders for feeding the extra bales, so I am feeding them freestanding which means a lot of waste. I will be able to use this as mulch in my garden next spring.


Fiber (neutral detergent, dry basis)

Rye: 67.9

Alfalfa/orchardgrass: 61.4

Protein (dry basis)

Rye: 7.31

Alfalfa/orchardgrass: 16.44

RFV (dry basis)

Rye: 74.2


By their eating habits, the ewes were telling me that the RFV was better than the alfalfa, but I suspect much of the problem is the mold in the alfalfa.


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