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Optimum Forage Quality

How do we determine optimum forage quality? Measures such as digestibility, fiber digestibility, Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), Milk per ton, and Milk per acre are possibilities. In perennial grasses, fiber digestibility is almost perfectly correlated with in vitro true digestibility, so they are equivalent in usefulness. This relationship can only be significantly impacted by cultivars with radically different forage quality, such as brown-midrib mutants. There currently are no perennial grass cultivars with that level of improved forage quality. Also, dry matter yield per acre is highly correlated with milk yield per acre. Again, it would take quality differences on the scale of a brown-midrib to impact these high correlations. None of the above parameters have an optimum value, however, the higher the better. Therefore, none of them provide useful harvest date targets.