This thesis project explored the use of perennial legumes, including the non-bloating birdsfoot trefoil (BFT; Lotus corniculatus L.) for beef production. In 2011 and 2012, cattle averaged approximately 300 kg at the beginning of the grazing season, and approximately 450 kg in 2013. Average daily gain on pastures ranged from a low of 0.63 kg d-1 on cicer milkvetch (CMV; Astragalus cicer L.) in 2011 and 2013 to a high of 1.03 kg d-1 on Norcen BFT in 2013. Feedlot gains ranged from 1.14 to 1.57 kg d-1. Blood plasma fatty acids did not differ when feeding treatments were imposed, but at the end of each grazing season saturated and omega-6 fatty acids were elevated in feedlot-fed cattle compared with pasture-fed cattle, while trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) and omega-3 fatty acids were elevated in pasture-fed cattle. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was always higher in feedlot-fed cattle at the end of the grazing season, but in 2013, when all cattle were nearing slaughter weight, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio was 50% higher for feedlot-fed than for BFT-fed cattle and double that of grass-fed cattle. Digestive (enteric) methane (CH4) production of beef cows was lower when cattle grazed BFT and CMV pastures (167 and 159 g CH4 per cow per d, respectively) compared to cows on meadow bromegrass (MB; Bromus riparus Rehmann) (355 g CH4 per cow per d). Meadow bromegrass has more fiber than legume forages, which will increase the proportion of acetate to propionate created by microbial digestion in the rumen, increasing the production and release of CH4. Perennial legume forages fix nitrogen, eliminating the need for chemical nitrogen fertilizer, and tannin-containing legumes can be grazed without risk of bloat. These forages will play an important role in developing more environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural production systems.
|Advisor:||MacAdam, Jennifer W.|
|Commitee:||Legako, Jerrad, Villalba, Juan J.|
|School:||Utah State University|
|Department:||Plants, Soils and Climate|
|School Location:||United States -- Utah|
|Source:||MAI 54/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
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