Herald, a new feed barley, may reduce the amount
of pollution-causing phosphorus in farm animal manure. Click the image for
more information about it.
"Herald" Barley Benefits Farm Animals, Growers and
Environment By Marcia Wood July
Just like people, farm animals need phosphorus to stay healthy. Now, a
new barley for feeding to cows, pigs, chickensand perhaps even
farm-raised troutnot only provides this essential nutrient, but does so
in a way that helps the environment and barley growers, too.
Agricultural Research Service
Raboy in Idaho and University of Idaho
colleagues Juliet Windes and James Whitmore developed the new, eco-friendly
Named "Herald," it is the first commercial-quality barley that
provides a greater proportion of its phosphorus in a bioavailable
formthat is, more readily absorbed and used.
That's according to tests conducted by the ARS scientists, all of whom
are with the agency's
Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen, Idaho.
Compared to other top-yielding feed barleys like Baronesse and Colter,
Herald had about 10 percent less total phosphorus, but had more than three
times as much phosphorus in the bioavailable form.
Bioavailable phosphorus is less likely to end up in animal manure and
be carried away by rain runoff from pastures and fields into nearby streams,
rivers and lakes, or seep into underground water supplies intended for people
Superior bioavailability of this nutrient in the novel barley should
save growers the cost of feeding phosphorus supplements to farm animals. What's
more, Herald barley produces excellent yields. So, growers don't have to
sacrifice quantity to take advantage of the unique barley's pollution-lessening
Herald barley is the latest addition to a line of cropsincluding
corn, rice and soybeansthat are low in the hard-to-digest or, for some
animals, completely indigestible form of phosphorus known as phytic acid. These
low-phytic-acid feeds build upon earlier work in which Raboy used conventional
plant-breeding procedures to chemically tweak seeds' phosphorus makeup,
resulting in the prized, low-phytic-acid trait.
Seed companies and plant researchers can acquire supplies of Herald
seed from the Foundation Seed
Program at Kimberly, Idaho.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.