Using overwintered cereal crops for swath grazing in the spring or baling for use as greenfeed in the fall and winter are two options to utilize the 2016 crop for ruminants. It is also possible to thresh the crop and feed the grain to monogastrics and ruminants. However, there are a number of concerns associated with feeding overwintered crops to both types of livestock.
Swath grazing is a management practice that can be used to extend the grazing season and to reduce feed, labour and manure handling costs for cattle producers in western Canada. The practice may also eliminate or reduce the costs for corral cleaning, manure spreading and feed handling. Annual cereals are seeded in mid-May to early June and swathed from late August to mid-September when the crop reaches the soft to late dough stage and before killing frosts. The swaths are left in the field for the cattle to graze during the winter.
Ethanol production from cereal grains results in a co-product that can be used to feed pigs to reduce feed costs. This co-product is called distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
When you are talking nutrition and feeds with your feed salesperson, livestock nutritionist, veterinarian or neighbour, it is important that you both speak the same language and understand what the other person means. You will find this list of common meanings of feed terms helpful when you are talking nutrition, reading articles, feed analysis reports or feed tags.
While nitrates (N03) are not very toxic to animals, nitrites (N02) are toxic. In ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats, nitrate is converted to nitrite by bacteria in the rumen. When ruminants consume a high nitrate feed, both nitrate and nitrite can accumulate in the rumen, and nitrate poisoning occurs when the nitrite level in the rumen exceeds the capacity of the microbes to convert it to ammonia. This fact sheet addresses some common questions about nitrate poisoning and discusses how to reduce the risk of nitrate toxicity.