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Alternative forages in sustainable livestock production: rumen function and animal response - LS0302

This is one of three projects in the DS03 programme concerned with the use of conserved, protein rich alternative forages with ensiled grass as complete diets in livestock production. This project is concerned with assessing quality factors, largely through animal performance, of the silages produced in DS0301 from protein/energy rich alternative forages. The three main objectives of this project (DS0302) are to (a) evaluate the use of protein rich, alternative forages (ensiled in DS0301) in animal production and rumen function experiments (b) determine milk yield and milk quality responses associated with the use of ensiled, protein-rich alternative forages fed with ensiled grass as complete diets for dairy cows and (c) evaluate the effect of ensilage of alternative crops on rumen function and protein utilisation by dairy cows. Policy relevance of this project relates to the urgent need to develop new on-Farm conservation technologies that will enable alternative forages to be used as replacement for high-cost bought-in concentrates. Current restrictions on the use of animal-based protein supplements, dwindling fish stocks and increased demand for Soya protein merits immediate research to investigate alternative forage crops as natural, plant sources of protein to supplement that in grass silage. Research in this area is directed to allow the most effective use of indigenous protein resources to improve the efficiency of ruminant production, so as to improve competitiveness to the industry. The work is aimed at creating opportunities for meat and milk producers to become more competitive and to support the UK grass and clover breeding industry. Work is also directed towards sustainable fanning to overcome constraints imposed by BSE and to develop market opportunities.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Conserve protein/energy-rich forage in sustainable livestock production: rumen function and animal response   (312k)
• Final Report - Annex :   (2613k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1997

To: 2002

Cost: £976,044
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Livestock Farming              
Peer Review              
Fields of Study