Can barley fodder be fed in place of grass hay to dairy goats and dairy sheep and what effect will it have on milk production and composition.

Final report for FW19-343

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $19,407.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Brigham Young University
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Anita Wilson
Milky Hollow Creamery
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Project Information

Abstract:

Can barley fodder be fed in place of grass hay to dairy goats and dairy sheep and what effect will it have on milk production and composition. 

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of barley sprout fodder (BSF) on milk production and milk composition of Saanen does and Friesian ewes. Twenty Saanen does (1 year-old) and twenty East Friesian ewes (1 to 5 years old), were selected for this experiment, where each species was divided into four treatment groups.  Goat treatments consisted of 0, 1.7, 3.4 and 5 pounds of fodder added to an alfalfa/grass hay mix.   Sheep treatments were similar, but 0, 1, 2 and 3 pounds.  Dry matter content of the fodder was 10.7%.  Four pounds and 2 pounds (goats and sheep) of a grain mix were fed at morning and evening milking . Treatment diets were fed for fourteen days.  Feed consumed was measure and milk yield and samples were collected on day 13 and 14.  Milk samples were analyzed for milk fat, protein and lactose.  Cheese was made from day 14 milk and milk and cheese were analyzed for fatty acid composition.  Dry matter intake increased between the no fodder and high fodder treatments for both species 6.2 to 7.5 #/d for goats and 6.2 to 7.0 #/d for sheep.  Milk yield and composition, including fatty acids, were not affected by fodder treatment.  Goat milk yield was 3.0 #/d, while sheep was 1.1 #/d.  Milk fat was 2.8 and 6.1%, protein was 2.7 and 4.8% and lactose was 4.5 and 5.0% for goats and sheep.  The no fodder diet cost $0.93 /day.  The fodder addition cost $1.30 for the goats and $1.03 for the sheep.  The use of barley sprout fodder is a tool for the producer.  The high moisture limits the amount of fodder that can be fed without negatively affecting nutrient intake and subsequent milk production.  The producer must decide if the extra cost is beneficial to their program.    

Project Objectives:

Our focus for this grant is to look at how barley sprout fodder will affect goat and sheep milk characteristics and how these milk characteristics transfer to secondary products like cheese.  Our objectives include

  1. Determine if replacing grass hay with barley sprout fodder affect milk production.
  2. Determine if barley fodder alters the milk composition (milk fat, protein and fatty acids).
  3. Determine if the altered milk fatty acid composition affects cheese fatty acid composition.

Our hypothesis is that the incorporation fodder in place of grass hay will increase milk production and increase milk solids (protein and fat) due to the higher digestibility.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Todd Robinson, PhD - Technical Advisor
  • Anita Wilson - Producer

Research

Materials and methods:

Twenty Saanen does (1 year-old) and twenty East Friesian ewes, (1 to 5 years old), were selected for this experiment under the approval of the BYU IACUC (#19-0201).  The species were divided into four species groups.  Each of the sheep and goat groups were housed by groups of five animals per treatment pens.  Water and trace mineral salt blocks were provided free choice.  At birth, lambs and kids were removed and reared artificially.  Each group received each of four treatments in a 4 x 4 Latin square design to account for days in milk across all treatment repetitions.  Chemical composition of diet components are presented in Table 1.  Treatments consisted of four diets where a portion of grass hay was replaced with barley sprout fodder (BSF) as outlined in Table 2.  The diets were formulated to provide the same protein and energy levels; 900 g protein and 14.0 Mcal energy for goats and 413 g protein and 6.8 Mcal for ewes each day.  Energy and protein nutrient levels were formulated for doe and ewe weights and production levels (NRC, 2007).  Each treatment period lasted for 14 days.  Grass and alfalfa hay were chopped and mixed for each treatment and fed daily at 0700 each morning.  Barley sprout fodder was grown over a 6-d period in a self-contained unit (Model F-110, Fodder Works, Grass Valley, CA, USA).   

 

Table 1. Chemical compositiona of the diet components expressed on a percent dry matter basis.

 

Alfalfa

Grass

Barley Fodder Grain

Fodder

Corn

Barley

Beet Pulp

Soybean Meal

Dry matter, %

90.6

92.3

91.0

10.7

82.9

88.6

90.8

89.7

Crude protein

21.3

16.9

9.2

12.7

8.6

12.6

10.1

50.6

NDF

38.1

52.3

12.8

36.4

9.4

15.8

40.2

12.1

ADF

31.4

35.4

4.2

17.4

3.4

5.4

40.2

7.5

Lignin

6.9

5.5

1.1

1.3

1.3

NFC

28.8

16.6

72.4

17.0

76.7

65.2

37.6

27.7

Starch

0.8

0.3

50.6

76.7

51.7

Fat

2.4

3.2

2.3

4.0

2.8

1.2

1.8

Ash

9.45

11.1

3.3

1.35

3.6

10.9

7.7

NEL, Mcal/kg

1.43

1.28

1.89

1.45

2.07

1.94

1.32

1.83

NEm, Mcal/kg

1.32

1.23

2.00

1.39

2.2

2.02

1.21

1.89

aDetermination by Dairy One, Ithaca, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2.  Treatment diets (% of DM) for goats and sheep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRT 1

TRT2

TRT3

TRT4

Hay mix

 

 

 

 

    Alfalfa hay

61.1

66.3

72.4

79.7

    Grass hay

38.9

33.7

27.6

20.3

       Cost ($/#)

0.11

0.11

0.11

0.11

 

 

 

 

 

Barley fodder

 

 

 

 

    Goat (#/d)

0

0.19

0.37

0.54

       Cost ($/#)

0.00

0.02

0.05

0.07

 

 

 

 

 

    Sheep (#/d)

0

0.11

0.21

0.32

       Cost ($/#)

0.00

0.01

0.02

0.03

 

 

 

 

 

Grain mix

 

 

 

 

        Barley

58.8

58.8

58.8

58.8

        Flacked corn

18.3

17.7

17.0

16.4

        Beet pulp

11.5

11.5

11.5

11.5

        Soybean meal

11.3

12.0

12.8

13.5

        Cost ($/#)

0.16

0.16

0.16

0.16

 

 

 

 

Each morning BSF was removed from the production unit, weighed for each group and feed at the 0700 feeding.  Seed trays were cleaned and barley seed (Wheatland Seed, Brigham City, UT, USA) was added to the unit.  Feed consumed and feed refused were measured daily for each group.  Ewes and does were milked twice daily at 0500 and 1700.  The daily grain ration was divided into two portions and fed at the time of milking. 

On day 13 of each treatment period milk produced was measured using a Waikato milk meter and daily milk production averages for days 13 to 14 was determined.  Samples from each treatment from day 14 morning and night were collected and the samples analyzed for milk composition by the Rocky Mountain DHIA Lab in Logan, UT.  A small sample of milk from each treatment on day 13 and 14 were taken and stored for fatty acid profile determination by the BYU Chromatography Lab.  Milk from day 14 was collected from each treatment and placed in separate containers for cheese processing.  Simple mozzarella style cheese was made on the day of milk collection.  The recipe for the cheese is 2.2 # of milk heated to 94 degrees Fahrenheit.  Citric acid (1 ½ tablespoons) was stirred in, ¼ teaspoon rennet and ¼ teaspoon calcium chloride added and the mix gently stirred for 5 minutes.  The mix was allowed to stand for 60 minutes.  The curds were separated from the whey by straining through four layers of cheese cloth held in a straining colander.  The cheese was kneaded in a glass bowl to remove additional whey.  The cheese was then placed in a microwave oven and heated for 30 seconds, removed and kneaded more. One individual made the cheese to keep the process the same and to keep the final consistency the same.  The ratio of cheese produced to the milk used was recorded.  The cheese from each treatment was analyzed for fatty acid content.

Research results and discussion:

RESULTS

Doe and ewe body weight is presented in Table 3.  No body weight differences were found between treatments for either species.  Doe mixed hay DMI was different (P<0.05) between TRT1 at 2.68 #/d, decreasing to 2.09 #/d for TRT4.  The mixed hay DMI was different (P<0.05), decreasing from 4.45 and 4.74 #/d for TRT1 and TRT2 to 3.68 #/d for TRT4.  The mixed grain fed to the does and ewes was set at 2 # as-fed given at the two milkings for the ewes and 4 # as-fed for the does at each milking.  Data presented in Table 3 is the grain mix fed daily on a dry matter basis. 

Fodder was fed at 0, 1.65, 3.35, and 5 #/d as-fed (0, 0.18, 0.37 and 0.54 # DM/d) for does and 0, 1, 2 and 3 #/d as-fed (0, 0.11, 0.21 and 0.32 g DM/d) for ewes. Fodder intake for the does was different (P<0.05) across all treatments, with the exception of TRT3 and TRT4, 0, 0.16, 0.29, and 0.38 # DM BSF/d.  Ewe fodder intake differed (P<0.05) across all treatments at 0, 0.11, 0.22 and 0.31 # DM BSF/d.       

            Feed costs (see Table 3) are based on the following prices:

Alfalfa

$0.11/DM # (pound)

Grass

$0.08/DM #

Barley sprout grain

$0.28/DM BSF #

Barley

$0.13/DM #

Corn

$0.14/DM #

Beet pulp

$0.17/DM #

Soybean meal

$0.31/DM #

 

These prices are typical for the Utah, USA area.  Using these prices, feed costs ranged from $0.82 to $0.88 for does with TRT1 differing (P<0.05) from TRT3 and TRT4.  Ewes on the other hand, were different (P<0.05) between TRT1 and TRT2, $0.73 to $0.79 respectively, TRT3 and TRT4 were $0.75.  These feed costs included the mixed hay, grain mix and the fodder, excluding the BSF production costs. 

The BSF production costs are based on the following prices for Utah, USA at the time of the study:

Electricity

0.3811 kwh @ $0.144508/kwh = $0.055/h or $1.32/d

Water

Averages to be 7.95 liters/h  = $0.011/hr or $0.26/d

Labor

15 minutes/day to clean and reload barley trays @ $15/hr => $3.75/day

 

The BSF production unit we used for this study produces 50 kg of wet fodder per day (5.35 kg DM fodder/d).  The BSF production cost for the DM BSF fed was $0.00/d to $0.02.  When added to the feed costs, total cost for the does ranged from $0.82 to $0.90 per day, while the ewe cost ranged from $0.73 to $0.80 for the ewes.  

 

 

 

Table 3.  Body weight, dry matter intake (DMI) and daily cost for goats and sheep fed varying levels of Barley sprout fodder (BSF).

 

Treatment

 

 

TRT1

TRT2

TRT3

TRT4

SEM

Goats

 

 

 

 

 

   Body weight, #

109.1

109.8

108.2

108.9

0.6

   Mixed hay DMI, #

2.46c

2.70c

2.31b

2.09a

0.04

   Mixed grain DMI, #

3.60

3.60

3.60

3.60

0

   BSF DMI, #

0a

0.16b

0.29c

0.38c

0.04

   Total DMI, #

6.19a

7.01b

7.25b

7.50b

0.21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed Cost*, $/d

0.82a

0.87ab

0.88b

0.88b

0.02

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheep

 

 

 

 

 

   Body weight, #

144.5

143.7

145.2

145.9

1.6

   Mixed hay DMI, #

4.49c

4.74d

4.00b

3.68a

0.03

   Mixed grain DMI, #

1.80

1.80

1.80

1.80

0

   BSF DMI, #

0a

0.11b

0.22c

0.31d

0.03

   Total DMI, #

6.20a

7.06b

6.87b

7.04b

0.17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed Cost, $/d

0.73

0.79

0.75

0.75

0.02

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSF Cost**, $/d

 

 

 

 

 

     Goats

0.00

0.01

0.01

0.02

     Sheep

0.00

0.01

0.01

0.02

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cost, $/d

 

 

 

 

 

     Goats

0.82

0.88

0.89

0.90

0.09

     Sheep

0.73

0.80

0.76

0.77

0.09

*Cost = hay, grain and barley fodder grain per day

**BSF Cost = Electricity, water and Labor; $0.24/pound (#) DM BSF

abcdRows with differing superscripts are different at P<0.05

 

            Milk yield and composition are presented in Table 4.  Days in milk (DIM) was not different between treatments for either the does or the ewes.  Milk yield was not different between treatments for either species.  Yield for does ranged 2.9 to 3.0 #/d, while ewe yield ranged from 1.1 to 1.2 #/d.  Percentage milk fat for does did not differ between treatments ranging from 2.57 to 2.88%, with g/d ranging from 3.63 to 3.83.  Milk fat percentage for the ewes ranged from 5.57 to 6.00% and 46.6 to 55.8 g/d.  Milk protein percent was different (P<0.05) between TRT3 and TRT4 for does 2.88 and 2.72% respectively.  Milk protein g/d was not different and ranged from 35.7 to 37.5 g/d.  Milk protein percent for ewes was not different with a range of 4.80 to 4.90%.  Lactose percentage was not different between treatments for both does and ewes; does ranged from 4.47 to 4.54% and ewes from 5.02 to 5.06%.  The g/d of lactose was not different for the does or ewes (59.3 to 61.3 g/d and 24.6 to 27.1 g/d).

            There were no differences between treatments for either milk or cheese fatty acids.  Values in Table 5 represent comparisons between no fodder and fodder.   

Table 4.  Effects of barley fodder dietary inclusion on milk yield and milk components.

 

 

Treatment

 

 

 

TRT1

TRT2

TRT3

TRT4

SEM

Milk yield

Goats

3.01

2.93

2.90

2.93

 

0.036

pounds/d

Sheep

1.08

1.10

1.19

1.17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Fat,

Goats

2.79

2.77

2.91

2.81

 

0.143

%

Sheep

6.08

6.14

5.72

6.10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Fat,

Goats

38.3

36.3

38.6

36.9

 

0.78

g/d

Sheep

28.6

30.4

30.1

32.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Protein,

Goats

2.73

2.74

2.81

2.70

 

0.086

%

Sheep

4.87

4.82

4.77

4.84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Protein,

Goats

37.5

36.5

36.7

35.7

 

0.74

g/d

Sheep

23.5

24.1

25.5

26.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Lactose,

Goats

4.46

4.47

4.50

4.45

 

0.025

%

Sheep

5.00

5.00

5.03

4.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Lactose,

Goats

61.3

59.7

59.7

59.3

 

1.57

g/d

Sheep

24.6

25.1

27.2

27.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Urea,

Goats

57.0

28.4

25.5

39.8

 

10.2

mmol/l

Sheep

24.7

27.6

30.4

33.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIM*, d

Goats

97.3

97.5

98.9

98.7

 

5.3

 

Sheep

94.7

93.8

96.0

92.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese**, %

Goats

7.9

8.0

7.8

7.9

 

0.07

 

Sheep

15.4

15.1

15.5

15.6

 

 

*DMI = days in milk

**Cheese = ratio of milk to cheese produced

 

Table 5.  Effects of dietary barley fodder on milk and cheese fatty acids composition.

 

Milk (mg/ml)

Cheese (mg/g)

 

Sheep

Goat

 

Sheep

Goat

 

No Fodder

Fodder

No Fodder

Fodder

SEM

No Fodder

Fodder

No Fodder

Fodder

SEM

4:0

0.366

0.446

0.304

0.187

0.055

0.252

0.256

0.054

0.101

0.052

6:0

0.135

0.166

0.135

0.059

0.023

0.170

0.149

0.034

0.046

0.035

8:0

0.125

0.154

0.135

0.058

0.021

0.146

0.132

0.039

0.050

0.028

10:0

0.399

0.471

0.451

0.198

0.062

0.426

0.383

0.123

0.306

0.067

12:0

0.227

0.251

0.18

0.117

0.030

0.230

0.210

0.056

0.070

0.046

14:0

0.475

0.537

0.428

0.248

0.062

0.515

0.415

0.116

0.154

0.098

14:1

0.035

0.041

0.017

0.00

0.009

0.067

0.055

0.00

0.032

0.015

16:0

1.023

1.228

1.053

0.599

0.133

1.207

0.977

0.289

0.356

0.227

16:1

0.045

0.057

0.026

0.081

0.012

0.083

0.071

0.00

0.029

0.019

18:0

0.202

0.217

0.347

0.00

0.072

0.330

0.343

0.00

0.304

0.082

18:1

0.526

0.575

0.634

0.240

0.087

1.204

0.910

0.112

0.348

0.251

18:2

0.081

0.091

0.116

0.00

0.025

0.119

0.100

0.069

0.084

0.011

18:3

0.041

0.043

0.027

0.187

0.038

0.041

0.035

0.012

0.024

0.006

20:0

0.043

0.053

0.023

0.059

0.009

0.078

0.062

0.00

0.035

0.017

20:1

0.00

0.011

0.304

0.058

0.071

0.017

0.019

0.00

0.013

0.004

20:3

0.00

0.446

0.135

0.198

0.093

0.013

0.013

0.00

0.00

0.003

MUFAa

0.606

0.109

0.981

0.379

0.185

0.167

1.349

0.112

0.422

0.287

PUFAb

0.122

0.580

0.278

0.385

0.096

0.173

0.148

0.069

0.108

0.023

aMUFA = mono-unsaturated fatty acids

bPUFA = poly-unsaturated fatty acids

 

DISCUSSION

Grain sprout fodder is a green roughage feed that can be produced year-round.  Barley sprout fodder is the most popular in the U.S.  The fodder is 90% digestible so animals should glean more nutrients from feeding it.  Fodder production takes less space than the fields needed to produce grass or alfalfa hay products.  Typical dry matter content of fodder is 18% compared to alfalfa that is 90%.  In the study presented here, we found the DM of BSF to be 10.7% at the time of feeding. The alfalfa and grass hay used in this study contained 90.6 and 92.3% DM.  Meaning, for every pound of alfalfa or grass hay fed, the animal is getting 0.91 or 0.92 pounds of the hays respectively.  Compare this to the BSF which is 0.11 pound for every pound of BSF fed.   

We used 13.2 pounds of barley seed to produce 110 pounds of BSF.  Comparing the nutrient composition between the barley grain and BSF, the BSF is 3.5% higher in DM, but lower for starch and sugars.  Care needs to be taken when comparing barley grain to BSF.  Although they are related, the grain is a starch concentrated feed, while BSF is a forage.  The digestion of these two feeds is carried out by two different types of microbes in the rumen of the animal, one group that consumes starch and sugars and another group that consumes the cellulolytic or structural component of the plant.  The largest population of microbes (bacteria) found in the rumen are those that consume cellulolytic plant material.

It needs to be pointed out that BSF is not intended to completely replace dry hay.  Based on estimated nutrient requirements (NRC, 2007), the ewes in our study should be consuming 5.0 pounds of DM feed.  Fed BSF alone, the ewe would need to eat 46 pounds of fresh fodder.  This amount of forage material would be difficult for a ewe to consume in one day.  Our approach in this study to feed a dry hay mix, replacing grass hay in the mix with BSF.  Eighty-six, 78 and 70% of BSF fed for TRT2, TRT3 and TRT4 respectively was consumed by the does, while ewes consumed 94 to 100% of the BSF fed.  The BSF was cut into strips and fed in the mangers of each species.  This method of feeding may have attributed to the BSF intake by the goats as tend to be more selective in their eating habits.  Dry matter intake was affected (P<0.05) by the BSF treatments, decreasing the mixed hay intake 78 and 83% of the treatment without BSF.  This was expected since we were feeding 5 and 3 pounds/d BSF on an as-fed basis.  This equates to an increase in feed mass of 220% for the does and 74% for the ewes. 

We anticipated that BSF inclusion would potentially increase milk yield due to the higher digestibility, but the DM digestibility of the BSF was overshadowed because it was a small portion of the total DMI.  The BSF inclusion was 5% of the total DMI for both species.  The addition of BSF, under the circumstances of this study, did not result in milk production or composition changes.  These result do warrant further studying, especially at what amount can fodders be included in a diet for sheep and goats without affecting milk production.  Because the inclusion of BSF did not alter milk production or composition, we determined the economics of BSF inclusion based on our studies parameters.

Animal nutrient requirements are based on DM intake.  The biggest issue when comparing grain sprout fodder to dry hay is the difference in DM.  One of the biggest selling points of fodder usage is the small footprint to grow a large amount of forage. Space needed to produce one-ton of fodder per day can vary depending on the system manufacturer from 272 to 720 square feet.  Compare this to the one acre, or 43,560 square feet needed to produce approximately 7 ton of alfalfa hay per year or 2.5 ton of grass hay.  Dry hay is about 90% DM on average, while fodder is between 10 to 18% DM.  Under our circumstances, 1 ton (2000 pounds) of alfalfa hay is 1812 pounds DM and 1 ton of BSF is 214 pounds DM.  Comparing the same DM weight of 1812 pounds alfalfa, you would have to grow 16,935 pounds of BSF.  The DMI for the does and ewes from this study, without BSF, was 6.2 pounds DM or 6.89 pounds as-fed.  The 6.89 pounds would equate to 64 pounds of BSF as-fed, an amount not feasible to consume.  Hypothetically, if ½ fed was dry hay 3.45 and ½ BSF, BSF would equate to 32.2 pounds, still not an amount that can be consumed.  If dry hay were ¾ of intake would be 5.2 pounds and 14.5 pounds BSF as-fed. This amount could be consumed.  The cost difference between an all alfalfa diet ($0.75) and the ¾ alfalfa/ ¼ BSF ($1.65) is $0.90 per day.    

Shewmaker and colleagues (2013) at the University of Idaho report that each ton of hay produced, 1800 gallon of water is required.   According to HydroGreen Inc (Renner, SD), one ton or 909 kg of fodder requires 1200 gallons of water.  This is equivalent to 1 gallon of water per pound of DM alfalfa hay and 5.61 gallons per pound of DM BSF.  The fodder unit we used specifies 36 gallons/d for the production of 110 pounds of BSF, which is 3.06 gallons of water per pound DM BSF.  The unit we used actually took 4.28 gallons of water per pound of DM BSF. 

Arguments against the use of fodder in animal agriculture include the loss of available dietary energy and the decrease in dry matter by the sprouting process.  Labor and energy costs are also negative factors for fodder use, but are offset by the cost of farmland and harvesting equipment.  These are valid points, but the use of fodder in feeding animals comes down to the farmer weighing their resources and objectives.  Barley fodder may cost more to feed on a dry matter basis, but land, storage and year-round availability are important factors in the decision making process.  Fodder’s best use is as a supplement to the diet of animals, reducing the amount of dry forage.  Fodder cannot be the sole forage due to the high moisture content.

 

Participation Summary
2 Farmers participating in research

Educational & Outreach Activities

4 Consultations
2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Journal articles
4 Tours
2 Advance Animal Husbandry Students from BYU have visited two farms that are feeding barley fodder to lactating animals. The farms explained their process and the advantages they see. The five students were able to talk about the economics and the benefits to milk production. The economics of producing the fodder and it's affect on milk production could not be answered by the producers. We will share our findings with these farms so that they can understand how fodder can be beneficial economically.

Participation Summary

11 Farmers
8 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

Due to the COVID pandemic, our education and outreach efforts have been limited.  We have put together a pamphlet outlining our results that will be used in future farm visits.   We had planned a farm field day but that was canceled.  Two professional meetings were canceled.

Dr. Robinson will use the information in his nutrition and husbandry courses to demonstrate other forage sources used for domestic animal feeds.  On average, there are 65 students who take these courses per year.  Courses are being taught remotely at this time.

 

 

Learning Outcomes

1 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation

Project Outcomes

2 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
2 Farmers intend/plan to change their practice(s)
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.