Why Does Particle Size Impact the Digestibility of Forages?

For at least the past dozen years we’ve shared how anything that decreases the particle size of forages also increases the surface area for the bacteria to attach, thus speeding up the rate of digestion and allowing the beef animal to receive more total nutrients in a shorter time. In short, processing long stem forages into smaller pieces increase their digestibility.

During the recent Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop, Dr. Francis Fluharty explained exactly why and how the digestibility of long stem forages can be improved by one third or more by simply processing them, or perhaps baling them with a ‘chop cut’ baler. Embedded below, in an 8 minute excerpt from that presentation on January 30, 2020, is Fluharty’s explanation.