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Re: Prairies for pasturage
At 07:51 AM 2/1/97 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 1/31/97 6:44:55 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark
>>Mark, light weight prairie ecologist, says...
> I'm looking into using C-4 grasses, Cup plant (Silphium
>>perfoiliatum) and native legumes, esp. lead plant (amorpha canensis) as a
>>basic summer pasture with a little elymas as an early green up c-3
>Mark, that's a really nice answer, which I am going to put into my files on
>that subject as a gem. However, you leave out the broadleaf plants
Silphium sp. are all broad leaves, and big broad leaves at that. There are
also other plants I'm looking at, but the university is looking into the
grazing managemet for cup plant already and you know how us farmers like
some certianty in agronomics if not economics...
You also mention the obsession with grasses, and I agree with your genneral
sentiments. The main drivers of this in my opinion....
1. Many grasses are easier to mannage for persistency than legumes.
2. Grazing order preferances...
Cows graze (in order of preferance): Grass, broadleaves, browse
Sheep Graze: Broadleaves, grass, browse
Goats graze: Browse, broadleaves, grass.
This varies a little across breeds within species, but the general rule here
3. Hard to hay those little trees and shrubs.
4. Fear of bloat.
I'm looking for species which could be integrated into shelter belts and
provide some browse. My cows currently eat a fair ammount on pine needles
and seem to relish them during our winter. I'm also looking for leguminous
tree species, and am having plenty of luck. An advantage to feeding browse
may be that the Phenols and tannins in the wood may limit bloat, a serious
problem in ruminants where the rumen fills with gas and presses the animal's
diaphram, causeing suffocation.