Use of fresh comfrey to substitute 20% of the total diet (base of corn and soy) of broiler chickens raised under a system of regenerative production

Project Overview

FNC20-1216
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $26,736.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Main Street Project Farm
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:

Commodities

  • Additional Plants: comfrey
  • Animals: poultry

Practices

  • Crop Production: cropping systems
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, Regenerative agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    60% of the cost of production of broilers under a system of regenerative agriculture is regular feed that has a base of corn and soy. Producers' goal should be to lower this cost without affecting the health and nutrition of the chickens, thereby increasing profits.

    Comfrey is the greatest producer of vegetable protein and the fastest protein builder on earth.We want to reduce the diet of regular feed by 20% with the substitution of fresh comfrey and achieve a savings of $1200 per flock in the cost of total feed. Comfrey provides a low-fiber, high-protein (22-23%), high-mineral feed—replacing more costly concentrates which contain soybeans and animal by-products for protein. Significant cash savings can be realized by the producer by feeding comfrey with minimal soy/corn-based animal feed. 

    The comfrey will be sown in 10% of the total paddock area of the birds only once. The birds will obtain fresh comfrey during each of its rotations in each of two paddocks. Further, the comfrey will prevent soil erosion and control contamination because of excess minerals within the paddocks due to the manure of the birds, improving the general health of the chickens and increasing the nutritional value of the meat produced.

     

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Reduce 20% of the total diet of regular feed (corn and soy based) by substitution with fresh comfrey in broilers raised under a system of regenerative production.
    2. Generate a significant savings of $1200.00 in the cost of feed for each production flock (1500 birds).
    3. Improve the general health of the birds, which will be evaluated through weekly physical examinations during the production period.
    4. Share results with future poultry producers of broilers using this system of regenerative production through field days, trainings, and presentations.
    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.