Re: Prairies for pasturage

In a message dated 2/3/97 5:07:58 PM, mpludwig@students.wisc.edu (Mark
Ludwig) wrote:

>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.

Good points.  My animals prefer some of the broadleaf plants in the pasture
to nice, young grass, though they level the lot pretty handily.  In
particular, they like Florida betony and dollar weed, though there are some
composits I haven't recognized yet that get pretty well cropped too.  Cattle
are natural browsers, descended largely from forest animals.  I've seen them
shoulder deep in sumac browsing contentedly next to a perfect stand of
bluegrass.  I mentioned something about working too hard to the farmer who
had just established the grass but he didn't appreciate the comment.

I don't think you really know if it is hard to hay trees or shrubs.  It is a
problem if capitalization, not technical difficulty, I suspect.  As I
mentioned, the Russians worked out a way to make a winter feed from poplar
leaf and twig meal.  the problem is that everyone has equipment for storing
grass, not stripping vegetation from woody plants and storing that.
 Eventually, equipment wears out.  In any case, no recommended making grasses
extinct, or anything, but that there might be some consideration of broadleaf
plants, particularly woody ones.  And as I recall, I mentioned that some
could provide concentrates, such as honey locust, oak, carob, persimmon,
etc., which the animals can harvest themselves.  

These were proposed as additional options, components in a whole system, not
as replacements for grass.  I like grass.  I also like the willow and alder
and blackberry that supplement the grass in my pasture and I intend to add to
these some other woody species over the coming years, as I get to it.  

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