Preference of grazing goats for cool-season annual clovers

Author: T.H. Terrill, W.F. Whitehead, G. Durham, C.S. Hoveland, B.P. Singh and S. Gelaye
Year: 2004
Issue: 5
Volume: 34
Page: 92 - 94

Information on improved forages for goat grazing is lacking for the southern USA. Two cafeteria-style grazing trials were completed to determine preference of meat-type goats for cool-season annual clovers in Georgia. In both experiments, 8 replicates of 6 plots of clover cultivars were established, individually fenced, and grazed by Spanish goats for 48 hours during two grazing periods. Forage preference was determined by weighing strips of forage cut from plots pre- and post-grazing (Experiment 1) and by ocular scoring (1 = no grazing to 10 = completely grazed) after 4, 24 and 48 hours grazing (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, “Dixie” and “AU Robin” crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) were most preferred, “AU Sunrise” crimson clover and “Yuchi” arrowleaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi) were intermediate, and “Segrest” ball clover (Trifolium nigrescens Viv.) and “R18” rose clover (Trifolium hirtum All.) were least preferred. Forage preference was not influenced by dry matter yield, fibre content or protein concentration. In Experiment 2, Dixie and AU Sunrise crimson clover were most preferred in the first cutting, 3 arrowleaf clover types and “Americus” hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) were intermediate and R18 rose clover was least preferred. When the crimson clover plots were not available for the second grazing period, the goats most preferred Yuchi arrowleaf clover, with “BYMV” arrowleaf clover and hairy vetch intermediate, and rose clover least preferred. Crimson clover appears to be a useful forage for winter-spring grazing of goats in the southern USA.

Keywords: clover, goats, Grazing preference
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