Submitted to: Manitoba North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2003
Publication Date: 1/28/2003
Citation: KARN, J.F., TANAKA, D.L., LIEBIG, M.A., RIES, R.E., KRONBERG, S.L., HANSON, J.D. INTEGRATING CROP AND LIVESTOCK ENTERPRISES TO ENHANCE FARM PRODUCTIVITY. MANITOBA NORTH DAKOTA ZERO TILLAGE FARMERS ASSOCIATION. 2003. Proceedings of 25th Annual Manitoba-North Dakota Zero tillage workshop. Brandon, Manitoba. January 28-29, 2003. p. 65-73. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Decreasing crop and livestock production costs are an ongoing concern for farmers and ranchers. There is a growing feeling that integrating crop and livestock enterprises may produce synergistic effects that are beneficial to both enterprises. The objectives of this research were to develop a three year crop rotation that would minimize the use of purchased inputs such as nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides and to provide swathed forage for wintering dry gestating beef cows. This presentation focuses on the results of forage and grain production for 2001, and the winter performance of gestating beef cows rotationally grazed on triticale straw, oat/pea straw and swathed drilled corn from November 2001 to February 2002 (104 days). The total dry matter production from drilled corn in 2001 was 16,392 lbs/acre, which was approximately double the amount from oat/pea (7,476 lbs/acre), and triticale (8,418 lbs/acre), and almost eight times as much as the production from perennial grass (2,156 lbs/acre). Cow weight changes and condition scores did not differ between cows grazing swathed crops, swathed perennial grass and cows fed hay in a dry lot. Over the three-year study the performance of cows grazing swathed crops or swathed perennial grass has been comparable to control cows fed hay. This suggests that dry gestating cows can be successfully wintered on swathed forages, if they are properly managed and supplemented. Advantages of swath grazing include lower winter feed costs, and minimal manure disposal problems.