Snow as a Water Source

After a short adaptation period, pregnant beef cows will consume snow in amounts equivalent to the water intake of cows receiving liquid water. Through extensive testing in the early 1980's, the University of Alberta found insignificant differences in cow performance or body stress levels when asked to eat snow as their sole water source. Photo Credit: pcwallart.com ¨ Wintering beef cows are able to consume snow as their sole water source given that the snow is in a form that the cows can easily eat. The snow must be soft and friable so that the cows can lick a significant quantity into their mouths for melting. ¨ Once cows are used to consuming snow as their sole water source, they will con

Swath Grazing: Extending the Grazing Season

Producers are always looking to cut costs in livestock operations because of marginal profit opportunities in commodity based markets. One proposed way to cut fall/winter feeding costs is to extend the grazing season and allow the livestock to harvest the resource instead of relying on mechanical harvest. This will reduce the labor required to cut, bale, and feed hay. Figure 1. Cattle are only given enough forage for 1-2 days of grazing. Previously given swaths are re-grazed such that approximately 90% of the swath is consumed. Photo by T. Gompert. At issue is the harvest efficiency of grazing versus mechanical harvest and the costs associated with each enterprise. Grazing is an inefficient

UNH Research: Microbial Traits, not Plants, Determine Abundance of Soil Organic Matter

Insight Provides Promise for Designing New Agricultural Systems Healthy soil is rich in organic matter, but scientists have yet to fully understand exactly how that organic matter is formed. Now a team of University of New Hampshire scientists have uncovered evidence that microbial pathways – not plants – are the chief originator of the organic matter found in stable soil carbon pools. The new insight provides promise for designing agricultural systems that promote microbial communities to optimize soil organic matter formation. The research was conducted by Cynthia Kallenbach, former UNH graduate student now at Colorado State University, her advisor, Stuart Grandy, associate professor of na

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