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L4 forage mixtures

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Forage Mixtures & Species

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L4 forage mixtures

  1. 1. Forage mixtures, species and extended grazing ACORN Conference 2016 John Duynisveld AAFC Nappan/Holdanca Farms
  2. 2. Beef Nutrition and Pasture Management Research Program John Duynisveld • Focus:- Sustainable beef production systems for Eastern Canada • Current Research Interests: – Forage mixtures for long-term pasture productivity. – Management strategies to lower beef production costs by extending the grazing season. – The role of forage bio-active components in livestock production.
  3. 3. Forage Breeding and Agronomy Yousef A. Papadopoulos • Focus:- The role of forage species & their varieties in modern cropping systems • Current Study Areas: – Exploiting genetic variability to enhance forage productivity and resiliency. – Productive forage legume cultivars for the long-term sustainability under pasture management. – Forage mixtures and nutrient cycling.
  4. 4. New Alfalfa Cultivar CRS 1001
  5. 5. Few Members of Research Team
  6. 6. Holdanca Farms • Grass based farm in Wallace Bay, NS • Direct market variety of grass-fed meat products • Integrated multi-species pasture management key to our production system • Eighty percent of product marketed direct to consumers
  7. 7. Holdanca Farms Wallace, NS 500 acres – half pasture, half woodland
  8. 8. Market 20 to 30 grass-fed beef Cows are pastured year-round
  9. 9. Custom graze cattle May to October
  10. 10. Laying Hens
  11. 11. Poultry and Pasture Raise, process and market 5000 pastured chickens April to October
  12. 12. Free range TurkeysRaise, process and market 850 turkeys May to October Moved daily to fresh pasture
  13. 13. Pigs
  14. 14. Pasture for livestock production • Needs to be low cost – Often animals are not productive for much of year • Lower input/labour – Often part-time farmers or only part of enterprise • Productive = Perennial pasture
  15. 15. Why raise animals on pasture? • Environmental benefits • Natural diet for ruminants, part of mono- gastric diets • Healthier for us • Better taste!
  16. 16. Health benefits of grass-fed meat and eggs • Higher in vitamin E and A • Lower saturated fats • Higher levels of “good” fats including omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid • Fewer pathogenic bacteria
  17. 17. Environmental benefits of well managed perennial pasture (partial list) • Resilient to climate change (weather extremes) • Builds soil (opposite of erosion) • Biodiversity (plants, soil life, wildlife) • Reduce GHG emissions, consume methane • Carbon sequestration!!!!
  18. 18. 21 Diverse forage mixtures yield better than simple mixtures • Papadopoulos et al. (2011) research over 5 years on forage mixtures: – Increasing complexity of mixtures (more grass types) increased yield of forage – Timothy and bluegrass in mixtures can enhance yield of forage
  19. 19. Why do mixtures grow more feed? • Different grasses grow in different ways, times of year – Both leaf structure and roots • Increases use of available sunlight • Increases use of available fertility and water • May be synergies with some combinations • Resilience for weather differences from year to year 22
  20. 20. Value of legumes in pastures • Nitrogen fixation • Forage quality – protein • Maintain digestibility in summer • Cattle like most legumes (very palatable) – Will seek them when grazing 23
  21. 21. Why do we expect to see differences in animal performance between mixtures? • All well managed pastures have good feed value and can be reasonably productive • Cattle will digest some grasses better than others despite what forage testing tells us • Cattle will prefer some forages over other 25
  22. 22. 26 Beef grazing mixtures project design Canadian Cattlemen’s Beef Cluster • Experiment 1: identify the best simple forage mixtures and grass cultivar (Nappan) for each environment. Combinations of one grass grown with either white clover, alfalfa or trefoil. • forage yield, seasonality, persistence and forage quality under rotational grazing by cattle (Nappan and Kapuskasing) or simulated grazing (Quebec City).
  23. 23. 27 Beef grazing mixtures project design • Experiment 2: Four grass mixtures seeded with either alfalfa or birdsfoot trefoil (Complex mixtures) • forage yield, seasonality, persistence and forage quality • Animal weight gain, grazing days, animal gain per acre • 4 core animals per treatment group for data collection
  24. 24. Pâturage 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Coupes fréquentes RendementenMS(t/ha) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Results Forage yield (t/ha) P < 0.05 Frequent clipping (Normandin and Lévis) Cattle grazing (Nappan) DMYield(t/ha) Birdsfoot trefoil Alfalfa White clover
  25. 25. Pâturage 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Coupe fréquenteProductionestiméedelait(tlait/ha) 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Brom e des prés Fléole des prés Fétuque élevée Pâturin des prés Fétuque des prés Dactyle pelotonné Brom e des prés Fléole des prés Fétuque élevée Pâturin des prés Fétuque des prés Dactyle pelotonné Brom e des prés Fléole des prés Fétuque élevée Pâturin des prés Fétuque des prés Dactyle pelotonné LuzerneLotier corniculé Trèfle blanc Productionestiméedelait(tlait/ha) Results Estimated milk production (t milk/ha) Frequent clipping Birdsfoot trefoil Alfalfa White clover estimatedmilkproduction(tmilk/ha) 11.7 t/ha 9.4 t/ha 8.8 t/ha 11.1 t/ha 12.1 t/ha 12.4 t/ha Grazing
  26. 26. Establishment estimate of plants˖m-2 of 3 legumes and 6 grass species seeded in 2010 2012
  27. 27. Persistence estimate of plants˖m-2 of 3 legumes and 6 grass species seeded in 2010 2013 2014
  28. 28. Cultivar results • Most valuable players based on mid and late season yield and energy: – Kokanee Tall Fescue with alfalfa or trefoil – Ginger Bluegrass with white clover – Bg3 Bluegrass with alfalfa
  29. 29. Long-term agronomic performance of grass-legume pasture mixtures • Re-seed legumes (sod or frost seed) every 2-3 years to sustain mixtures productivity. • Choose compatible grass cultivar to sustain seasonal dry matter production.
  30. 30. 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Averageanimalgain,Kg/d Legume effect on animal gain over years of research Trefoil Alfalfa 35
  31. 31. 36 Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 Gain/Forage,kg/t 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Bt TiMfRcKb Bt TfMbOrKb Bt TiMfKb Bt TfMbRcKb gAf TiMfRcKb gAf TfMbOrKb gAf TiMfKb gAf TfMbRcKb
  32. 32. 37
  33. 33. Body weight change by mixture and legume, lb per steer, 2013 38 800 850 900 950 1000 1050 1100 1150 May June July Aug Sept Oct Alfalfa Af - KbTfOgMb Af - MfTmKb Af - RgKbTfMb Af - TmMfRgKb 800 850 900 950 1000 1050 1100 1150 May June July Aug Sept Oct Trefoil Bt - KbTfOgMb Bt - MfTmKb Bt - RgKbTfMb Bt - TmMfRgKb
  34. 34. 20 second summary of beef cluster research to date • Cattle had better daily gain on Timothy/meadow fescue/bluegrass pasture BUT • More gain per acre on mixtures with Tall fescue in them • Cultivar of grass matters for forage yield and quality under animal grazing • Meadow fescue with any legume provides optimum balance of sugars, energy, and protein • Cattle gain better on trefoil pastures than alfalfa pastures – We need to reseed legumes every 2 to 3 years to maintain them in sward 39
  35. 35. Can pasture species affect carcass quality? Red Clover Tall fescue SEM P. Values Final wt kg 497 499 14 0.708 ADG kg/day 1.1 1.1 0.1 0.988 Carcass wt kg 281 272 8 0.048 Dressing % 54.7 52.4 0.7 0.002 Back fat mm 6.3 5.1 0.6 0.049 Dry Matter Intake kg/d 11.2 12.5 0.5 0.036
  36. 36. Goals of Extending the Grazing Season • Reducing Feeding Costs • Reducing Hauling Costs • Reducing Harvesting Costs • Reducing Manure Removal Costs 65 to 75 % of costs of calf production come from feed, pasture and bedding.
  37. 37. Ranking of beef cattle best suited to winter grazing 1. Fat dry cow 2. Late lactation bred cow 3. Bred heifer 4. Yearling to background 5. Early lactation cow 6. Weaned calf – not recommended without supplementation
  38. 38. Environmental effects on animal energy needs • Temperature - each species has a lower critical temperature below which maintenance energy skyrockets • Rain/snow – affect body temperature • Wind – wind chill increases effect of cooler temp. – In combination with wet weather can significantly raise energy needs • Mud – an important consideration in Eastern Canada • Distance to walk to water, feed, shelter
  39. 39. What can we do to cope with environment? • Make sure animals are in good body condition going into fall – fat and hair are great insulators • Plan extended grazing areas to be in sheltered places • Provide artificial shelter • Plan to fall/winter graze close to barns
  40. 40. 45 January 2013, AAFC Nappan Portable shelter in snowstorm
  41. 41. 46 January 2013, AAFC Nappan Note hair coat, body condition
  42. 42. Corn Grazing Nappan NS, early December Ground not frozen
  43. 43. How to avoid mud in the Maritimes • Have as much available pasture as possible – “snowshoe” effect, more root mass • Move cattle to new ground as often as possible – Minimizes damage, spreads manure • Graze cautiously ESPECIALLY when frost coming out of the ground • Fields that have been rotationally grazed previous season have stronger sod
  44. 44. Overgrazed, no recovery Well recovered Grazing management affects the entire grazing ecosystem Which will handle wet soil better?
  45. 45. Late November bale grazing, no frost, after heavy rain
  46. 46. 52 Dec 24, 2015 Stockpiled naturalized pasture 2 acre paddock after 5 days grazing by 40 head beef 35 mm rainfall in last 3 days; Queens soil, no tile drains
  47. 47. 53 January 2013, AAFC Nappan Note bare ground around bales
  48. 48. 54 January 2013, AAFC Nappan
  49. 49. Bale grazing late March 2015 in 4 feet of snow
  50. 50. Bale grazing late March 2015 in 4 feet of snow
  51. 51. Bale grazing late March 2015 in 4 feet of snow
  52. 52. Bale grazing late March 2015 in 4 feet of snow
  53. 53. Corn and tall fescue for fall grazing: Animal results Fall Feeding: October to Christmas In Barn January to May weight change lb BCS change Feed intake after calving lb BCS change after calving Cow wt change lb calf birth wt lb calf weight at turnout lb Barn 126 -0.5 29 0.0 -41 88 379 Corn -41 -1.4 30 0.0 -6 90 349 Fescue 106 -0.9 29 0.3 -6 94 385
  54. 54. 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 1 2 3 4 TDN(%) CP(%)anddailyintake(kg) Day in paddock dmi cp tdn Changes in daily intake and feed quality for winter swath grazing, Lacombe
  55. 55. 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 CPintake(kg/day) TDNintake(kg/day) Day in paddock tdn intake cp intake Changes in daily nutrient intake for winter swath grazing, Lacombe compared to needs!
  56. 56. Results of clover/fescue fall grazing Assumptions Red clover Tall fescue forage yield, kg/ha 4726 4614 total DM available (4 ha land) kg 4 ha per group 18906 18455 amount available (percent used*DM available) 65 % grazed 12289 11996 feed/day (DM avail/# of days) 60 days grazed 205 200 average cow wt, kg 650 average cow intake (3% body weight) kg/day 0.03 % body weight eaten 19.5 19.5 number of cows to feed 11 10
  57. 57. • Atlantic Canada challenges – Variable fall weather, frozen ground not reliable – Winter can has frequent freeze/thaw turning snow cover into ice • However, we can have a lot of fall grass growth with right forage species (fescues, bluegrass) • To minimize risks, Stockpiled pasture through to freeze-up, bale graze through to spring 64
  58. 58. Economics study winter grazing in Maritimes • Compared 200 days barn feeding (typical winter season) to 75 days stockpiled feed, 125 days bale graze (some successful use of this on farms) • 80 cow-calf herd, spring calving • $183 saving per cow with winter grazing 65
  59. 59. Conclusion • When seeding pastures, some grass and legume species (and cultivars!) are more suitable than others for pasture – Some mixtures may be better for finishing livestock, some for mature animals • Consider winter grazing to control costs • Let your animals graze!
  60. 60. Sheep on pasture Questions?

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