Study: Cover Crops Like Ryegrass Extend The Grazing Season, Meet Horses’ Nutrient Requirements

In the Midwest United States, cover crops are fall planted annuals that can provide several environmental benefits and can extend the fall grazing season for many livestock. The objectives of this study, conducted at the University of Minnesota, were to determine forage yield, nutrient composition, and horse preference of five cover crops in a horse pasture.

Annual ryegrass, winter rye, berseem clover, purple top turnip, and daikon radish were grazed by four horses. Cover crops were seeded in August and grazed by the horses in September and October. Cover crop yield and nutrient composition were sampled prior to grazing and forage samples were analyzed for digestible energy (DE), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC). Turnip and radish were separated into leaf and root components and analyzed separately.

Berseem clover produced the least amount of forage yield; however, it was also the most preferred cover crop. Although daikon radish and purple top turnip produced the highest yield, horses did not consume the leaf or root components. When fed at 2% of the horse’s body weight in dry matter per day, all cover crops met or exceeded the DE and CP requirements of an adult horse at maintenance. Although there are no recommended dietary levels of NSC for a healthy, adult horse, turnip and radish roots had considerably high NSC concentrations, which may be a concern when ingested in high quantities. However, horses did not consume turnip or radish roots during this study.

Based on horse preference, berseem clover, annual ryegrass, and winter rye appear to be suitable cover crops to extend the grazing season in horse pastures. For more information on this research, the abstract can be accessed from the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

The post Study: Cover Crops Like Ryegrass Extend The Grazing Season, Meet Horses’ Nutrient Requirements appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.