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Effects of pasture inclusion of mimosa on growth by co-grazing goats and sheep

G. Animut1,2, A. L. Goetsch1, G. E. Aiken3, R. Puchala1, G. Detweiler1, C. R. Krehbiel2, R. C. Merkel1, T. Sahlu1, L. J. Dawson4, and Z. B. Johnson5

1E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK, 2Animal Science Department, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, 3USDA ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, Booneville, AR, 4 College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, 5Department of Animal Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Effects of mimosa alley-cropped in grass/forb pastures on growth performance of co-grazing sheep and goat wethers were determined. Three sheep (Khatadin) and three goats (≥ 75% Boer), with initial BW of 22 ± 1.3 and 21 ± 0.7 kg, respectively, and age of 4 to 5 mo, grazed 0.4-ha pastures of grasses such as bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) and forbs (e.g., ragweed; Ambrosia spp) for 16 wk. Three pastures with alley-cropped mimosa (3.1 m between rows and 0.46-m interval within rows) and three without (W and WO, respectively) were divided into four paddocks for 2-wk rotational grazing. The number of mimosa trees per pasture averaged 928 and 904 at the beginning and end of the experiment, respectively. Daily mimosa leaf DM removal averaged 25.5 g per animal, although harvest was complete before the end of 2-wk grazing periods. Mimosa leaf samples averaged 2.81, 37.8, and 85.9% N, NDF, and IVDMD (true), respectively. Available forage (grass and forbs) mass was similar (P > 0.05) between treatments before (2,928 and 2,695 kg/ha; SE 183.4) and after grazing (1,507 and 1,452 kg/ha for WO and W, respectively; SE = 140.4). Percentage of grass in forage determined by transect pre- (57.5 and 69.9%; SE = 8.34) and post-grazing (66.3 and 78.8% for WO and W, respectively; SE = 8.09) was not affected by treatment (P > 0.05). Pre-grazed forage concentrations of N (1.25 and 1.24%) and NDF (64.5 and 63.8%) and IVDMD (52.9 and 56.2% for WO and W, respectively) were similar (P > 0.05) between treatments, as was also true post-grazing (N: 1.05 and 0.96%; NDF: 66.3 and 69.4%; and IVDMD: 49.0 and 48.0% for WO and W, respectively). ADG in the first (125 and 119 g/d; SE = 13.0), second (87 and 108; SE = 26.9), third (16 and 44 g/d; SE = 14.6), and fourth 4-wk period (-23 and 0; SE = 27.6) and in wk 1-16 (51 and 68 g/d for WO and W, respectively; SE = 8.6) was similar (P > 0.05) between WO and W. In summary, alley-cropped mimosa increased high-quality herbage available for grazing (i.e., mimosa leaf) but did not significantly influence growth performance of co-grazing sheep or goats, perhaps because of decreasing availability as 2-wk grazing periods advanced and(or) relatively low intake of mimosa leaf.


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