Ruminant Animal Production Using Tyfon Forage Brassica
The major costs to livestock operations in the northeast are the purchase, production and handling of feed. Grazing is the most economical form of feed acquisition on most farms. By growing and utilizing greater quantities of locally produced, high-quality forages, livestock production costs can be reduced without compromising productivity, thus increasing on-farm profit and sustainability. Brassicas can supply additional or supplemental forage, thus extending the grazing season in northern latitudes. When integrated into existing forage systems, Brassica crops have the potential to reduce: 1) the amount of purchased concentrates, 2) stored winter forage that needs to be produced or purchased, 3) harvesting costs and labor by allowing the animals to harvest the forage, and 4) costs and labor associated with manure disposal.
Tyfon, a Chinese cabbage-turnip hybrid, recently has gained considerable attention for use as a pasture crop in commercial livestock operations. To integrate Tyfon into existing forage systems in the northeast, farmers need additional information on the nutritional limitations of this crop and its effects on animal production and economic profitability. Reductions in herbicide inputs and soil erosion will also add to improved on-farm sustainability of northeast farms that can integrate Brassicas into their present forage system.
Progress Report 1991
To determine the economic feasibility of grazing Tyfon interseeded with perennial rye grass and the potential for reducing soil erosion.
A feeding trial using 30 spring lambs was conducted during the summer and fall months of 1990. Treatments consisted of: 1) a late spring seeding of Tyfon and perennial rye grass with summer and fall grazing, 2) a late summer seeding of Tyfon and perennial rye grass with a single fall grazing, and 3) a control group, where animals grazed a grass/legume pasture in the summer and were feed conserved hay from the pasture in the fall. When the lambs were not grazing the Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture, they were rotationally grazing the grass/legume pasture. Tyfon was seeded at a rate of 3.5 lb/A on June 22 and August 10. Perennial rye grass (Bastion) was seeded at the same time as the Tyfon at a rate of 15 lb/A. All 30 lambs began grazing the grass/legume pasture on May 22.
On August 24, the first flock, which was composed of twelve lambs, was allowed to graze the Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture seeded on June 22 (64 days after planting). Total herbage was 2.24 t/A (dm), 81% from Tyfon, 0.9% from p. rye grass, and 18.1% from weeds. After 40 days of grazing the twelve lambs were returned to the grass/legume pasture for 36 days. These twelve lambs were then returned to the Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture to graze the regrowth for an additional 25 days. Regrowth herbage yielded 0.85 t/A (dm), 96% from Tyfon, 0.8% from p. rye grass, and 3.0% from weeds. This system resulted in a grazing season of 195 days. Beginning on October 11, the second flock of lambs, which was composed of nine lambs, rotationally grazed the grass/legume pasture for 142 days and then were allowed to graze the Tyfon/p. rye grass seeded on August 10 (63 days after planting). The late summer seeded Tyfon/p. rye grass herbage was grazed for 36 days, resulting in a grazing season of 178 days. The pasture yielded 1.78 t/A (dm), 63% from Tyfon, 9% from rye grass, and 29% weeds. The last flock of lambs, which was composed of eight sheep, rotationally grazed the grass/legume pasture for a total of 178 days.
Animal weight and body condition scores were taken prior to and after grazing for all animals. Preliminary results showed
that the lambs that grazed the Tyfon/p. rye grass twice had higher average daily gain values followed by the lambs pastured on the single-grazed Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture and the grass/legume pasture. However, the gains were not statistically significant. The grazing season was significantly longer for those lambs that grazed the Tyfon/p. rye grass twice; nine out of twelve lambs achieved the target weight of 100 pounds with grazing. In the treatment which involved two grazings of the Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture, the forage provided 89.4 animal unit days per acre while the treatment which involves only one grazing of the Tyfon/p. rye grass provided only 37.9 animal unit days per acre.
For the 1990-1991 winter the early seeded Tyfon/p. rye grass pastures had 51.8% ground cover while the later seeded Tyfon/p. rye grass pasture had 74.5% ground cover. The difference was due to a better stand of perennial rye grass for the second seeding compared to the first seeding, 29% and 6.8%, respectively. Quality analysis of the forage and development of an economic budget are still in progress.
(1) Determine the intake, digestibility, and subclinical health effects of a Tyfon-based ration as influenced by various levels of hay roughage.
(2) Determine the growth, feed efficiency, carcass quality traits, and subclinical health effects of lambs fed diets containing varying proportions of Tyfon and hay.
(3) Determine the consumer acceptance of milk from dairy cows fed Tyfon.
(4) Determine the potential of establishing Tyfon, via no-till, into pastures without herbicides and the N fertility requirement in this situation.
(5) Determine the economic feasibility of grazing Tyfon interseeded with perennial rye grass and the potential for reducing soil erosion.