Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Forage and NRS Reports

Jeff Semler collected a fresh forage sample on August 6 when the goats were grazing a paddock of Sunn Hemp and Dwarf Pearl Millet. The samples were submitted to Cumberland Valley Analytical Services in Maryland. As compared to the samples he collected several weeks earlier, the August 6 forage sample was higher in dry matter (DM), lower in protein (CP), and similar in energy (TDN).

Click on tables to enlarge

Pooled fecal samples were collected from the goats on July 13, August 3, and August 13. During these times, the goats were grazing the warm season annuals and other assorted plants (mostly forbs).  The samples were sent to the Grazingland Animal Nutrition Lab in Texas for NIRS analysis (NIRS=Near Infrared Spectroscopy).

Unlike the forage analysis which showed the nutrient content of the forages that the goats might eat, the NIRS analysis gave the composition of the diet that the goats did consume 36-48 hours prior to fecal collection; potential vs. actual.

The ratio of DOM/CP (energy to protein) was only 2.7%. According to the NRS report, a 2.7 ratio is outside the ratio for positive rumen efficiency. A ratio (for cattle) of 4 or less usually coincides with very lush, cool season or early spring pastures or very runny feces.

The low DOM/CP ratio is why the goats are being supplemented with pelleted soybean hulls. The hulls are high in dry matter (~90%) and provide a much needed source of energy (TDN). Daily feeding also makes it easier to monitor the health and behavior of the goats.

The supplementation seems to have improved parasite resilience and disease resistance. Fewer goats have required deworming, despite similar egg counts as last year. No goats have died from any causes, including parasites.