Agricultural engineer Dennis R. Buckmaster at Pennsylvania State University offers several tips for minimizing losses during forage harvest.


  • Maintain forage machinery in proper adjustment.
  • Mow when there is little chance of rain, but be willing to take risks to avoid over-mature forage and missed cuttings.
  • Lay the alfalfa in as wide a swath as possible to take advantage of free solar energy.
  • Rake when the moisture content is near 40 percent, rake as few times as slowly as possible.
  • Bale when the moisture content is near 18 percent.
  • Chop when the moisture content is near 65 percent for concrete tower silos, 70 percent for bunker silos and 55 percent for steel tower silos.