- Agronomic: millet
- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: free-range, pasture renovation, grazing - rotational
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added
- Production Systems: holistic management
Forage-finished beef products have greater concentrations of nutraceutical compounds compared to beef from traditional grain-finished cattle. Markets are expanding for animal products raised naturally on forage based systems with enhanced nutraceutical content. Currently there are limitations in providing year-around supply of forage finished beef, which limits marketing potentials and customer satisfaction. Production of forage-finished beef during fall, winter and spring months is effectively accomplished in the Southeastern U.S. through utilization of cool season forages. However, forages for finishing beef cattle in summer months are limited and research is needed to evaluate alternate forage crops (chicory, alfalfa, cowpea, pearl millet). Utilization of these alternative forages could alter the fatty acid composition, fat soluble vitamin content, and palatability of the resulting beef product. Therefore, we propose evaluating various forages to expand the grazing season to improve forage production during the summer months, enhance animal performance and economic returns, and assess changes in beef composition and consumer acceptability.
Project objectives from proposal:
1) Examine potential forage systems to expand grazing seasons for year-around forage-finished beef production.
2) Determine the effect of these various warm season forages on beef carcass quality, composition and palatability
3) Determine the profitability of these forage systems as compared to traditional marketing schemes.
4) Implement on-farm plots and experiment station field days to demonstrate results and deliver information to farmers.