• Soil Fertility Key to Soil Cropping and Pasture Issue

    Plant nutrition remains the key to successful agriculture. Correcting soil deficiencies, like phosphorus, sulphur, nitrogen and potassium are essential for highest possible yields of pasture and crop for any environment. More fertile soils, as a consequence of correcting soil deficiencies, is also an important part of having the highest soil quality. Fertilisers like urea, superphosphate, MAP and DAP, often referred to as conventional products, are frequently by far the cheapest way to correct deficiencies. Conventional fertilisers commonly contribute to adding to soil organic matter via their effect on greater plant biomass, including root systems. Animal manure, such as poultry or feed lot, can equally correct soil deficiencies plus supply some organic matter. more »
  • A Comparison of Observed Molar Wear Rates in Extant Herbivorous Mammals

    Here we review published molar wear rates, measured in terms of tooth height loss per year (mm yr -1 ) published on natural populations of ungulates (25 species), rodents and lagomorphs (Glires; 14 species) and macropodid marsupials (seven species). Although the data are limited, they nevertheless reveal consistent patterns, and raise new questions. Among ungulates, wear rates are uncorrelated with body mass but are positively correlated with hypsodonty. Browsers show lower wear rates than do mixed feeders or grazers. Percentage of grass in the diet shows a non-linear relationship with wear rates suggesting that levels of dietary abrasives result from a complex interaction among forages, habitat characteristics and feeding behaviours (whether or not grass itself is a significant abrasive agent). Rodents exhibit higher wear rates, and kangaroos lower wear rates, than do ungulates feeding on similar diets. Hypselodont rodents and lagomorphs show rates of molar wear an order of magnitude higher than do grazing ungulates. more »
  • Managing Your Farming Legal Risks with Insurance: A Farm Commons Tutorial

    This interactive tutorial assists farmers in understanding and prioritizing the specific legal risks and insurance needs for their farms. Have a pen and paper ready, as you’ll have the opportunity to develop an action plan to get the best insurance coverage to match your specific needs. The tutorial covers key aspects of four core insurance categories for farms: (1) property insurance, including structures and equipment, (2) crop and livestock insurance, (3) liability for worker injuries, and (4) liability for other injuries, including guests and farm owners. The tutorial is full of practical tips and can help guide you through the process of evaluating and obtaining the best coverage for your farm operation. It can be watched in its entirety or by section. more »
  • The Effect of Selection on Gene and Genotypic Frequencies

    Selecting animals for breeding is a process by which those deemed ‘best’ are allowed to be parents, and those deemed not, aren’t. The next generation is similarly assessed, and the next, and the next, with the population expected to improve incrementally each time. This gradual improvement over time is due to the frequency of desirable genes increasing in the population and the frequency of undesirable genes decreasing in the population. This results in a group of animals with increased breeding value, as they have a higher concentration of ‘best’ genes more likely to be passed onto the next generation. That next generation, with its higher concentration of ‘best’ genes will perform* at a higher level than earlier generations did. (* ‘Performance’ here is a breeding term that doesn’t necessarily refer to athletic performance such as speed. Rather, it refers to the resulting phenotype, as determined by the genotype. ‘Performance’ could be how fine a sheep’s wool is, for example.) Gene frequencies, breeding values and performance are all intertwined. Increasing breeding values and performance in a population increases the frequencies of desirable genes. Increasing the frequencies of desirable genes increases breeding values and performance. more »
  • Comparison of Cottonseed Hulls, Rice Mill Feed, Soybean Hulls and Beet Pulp as Roughages

    Intake and digestibility of dry matter (DM) and acid-detergent fiber (ADF) of cottonseed hulls, rice mill feed, soybean hulls and beet pulp by mature crossbred wethers was measured. Intake and DM and ADF digestibility of rice mill feed were the lowest. The data indicate that soybean hulls and/or beet pulp would be much better alternative roughages to cottonseed hulls to decrease the energy density of grain fed free-choice to stocker cattle on pasture. more »

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