Research Strategies to Improve Small Farm Efficiency with a Special Focus on Livestock and Poultry Production
Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop and use tools focused on the issues of small farmers with a focus on issues that impact animal health and farm production efficiency.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Cooperative research has lead to improved strategies to reduce stress and disease in livestock and poultry. However, novel approaches are needed to further optimize and quantify production efficiency of small farms. Novel foraging strategies and the use of natural compounds will be tested to reduce stress and eliminate parasites and pathogens in production systems. University partners will assess the economic impact of new methods thereby providing small producers with tools to determine the feasability of incorporating research findings into production practices. Both undergraduate and graduate students will work with both parties to achieve project goals.
A series of research projects were conducted that focus on issues that impact animal health and farm production efficiency. A research study was conducted and is being analyzed on using ruminally cannulated steers to determine ruminal in situ disappearance kinetics of dry matter and neutral detergent fiber of four biofuel forages. These forages include eastern grammgrass, switchgrass, Miscanthus giganteus, and Miscanthus sacchariflorus harvested on three dates in west-central Arkansas. Our studies are working to also determine the interactive effects of forage type and body condition on fat deposition, blood metabolites, and calving rate of beef cows.
Research on integration of poultry and sheep for parasite control in lambs could not be completed because the mechanics of feeding poultry and lambs separately failed and drought in 2011 and 2012 resulted in little pasture worm infection to test the system. Studies on high protein forage systems for goat kids to increase tolerance to internal parasites and increase weight gains are being conducted.
Research on farm systems for sheep to examine integrated control of worms is being conducted. Long-term effects of pelleted sericea lespedeza compared with a commercial feed and use of copper oxide wire particles on parasite control and growth in sheep and goats is being conducted.
Soil characteristics in sorghum plots were determined and data is being analyzed.