Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Bush Clover for Sheep & Goats!
Mar 24, 2010
Bush clover may help your Grass-Fed Goats & Sheep battle a nasty nematode.
This week’s blog is a shorty! I don’t know much about grazing sheep and goats, & I’ve never claimed too, but when I saw the following article the other week I thought it would be nice to share the following info. with our friends who produce Grass-fed Goats & Sheep.
Animal scientist Joan Burke at the ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Arkansas, along with colleagues at several universities, has patented formulations of Sericea lespedeza, commonly referred to as Chinese bush clover. The plant was introduced in the United States in the 1930’s to minimize soil erosion.
Adding the patented dry hay and pelleted forms of this plant into your Goats & Sheep’s feed rations thwarts the reproductive cycles of gastrointestinal nematodes that are in the digestive tracts of goats and sheep. It is particularly effective in controlling the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), a nematode that attaches to the animals’ abomasal (true stomach) wall and feeds on their blood. Female worms can produce more than 5,000 eggs per day that are shed in the animal’s manure.
After hatching outside the animal, H. contortus larvae molt several times, resulting in a more developed and infectious larval form on grass leaves that animals consume during grazing. Once the infectious larvae are inside the animal, they suck the animal’s blood, potentially leading to anemia, weakness and even death.
In the southern United States, goat production for meat or milk is an attractive alternative business for Grass based farmers because of the comparatively low cost of breeding stock, the high reproductive rate of goats, and the animals’ ability to thrive on native pastures or brush-land that is unsuitable for cropping or other ruminant grazers. The major hindrance to economic goat production in some regions is infection with gastrointestinal nematodes, particularly H. contortus. This parasite causes large economic losses for farmers around the world, and the worm has developed resistance to chemical interventions.
Professors at Auburn University in Alabama, Fort Valley State University in Georgia, and Louisiana State University are co-inventors on the patent awarded in November 2009.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This research supports the USDA mission of promoting international food security.
If those of you who raise Goats and Lambs on pasture would like additional information like this, let me know! We could rotate the blog's to focus on Cattle, Goats, and Poultry in equal parts. I've actually been doing some research into 100% Grass-fed Poultry in year-round production. What I've found so far is very encouraging for those of us looking to cut back on feed (grain), costs.
Stay tuned for more about that in coming weeks!!