Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Wise Man's Alfalfa

by Dr. Tom Terrill
Fort Valley State University

Because of its ability to tolerate infertile, acidic soils and grow well on sloping land with minimal lime and fertilizer inputs, the perennial warm-season legume sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) has earned the nickname "Poor man’s alfalfa." With recent research on the potential health and environmental benefits of including SL in the diet of ruminant animals, it may be time for a new nickname:  "wise man's alfalfa."

Dr. Tom Terrill
Like other forages that contain condensed tannins (CT), a compound that binds to protein when the plant is chewed and digested, SL is non-bloating. It also lowers the production of methane from the animal’s rumen, reducing the contribution of this powerful greenhouse gas to global warming.

However, for farmers trying to keep their livestock healthy during a period when anthelmintic drugs are rapidly losing their effectiveness, the excellent anti-parasitic properties of SL in fresh (grazed) or dried (hay, leaf meal, pellets) forms in the diet of sheep, goats, and other ruminants may be most important.

Read full article at www.wormx.info

Be sure to read other Timely Topics from the American Consortium For Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC). The consortium was formed in response to the critical state of the small ruminant industry associated with the emergence of anthelmintic resistant worms. 

1 comment:

Scotts Contracting said...

In Missouri where Alfalfa doesn't reseed itself, I feel that Lespedeza is a better choice for grazing livestock over Alfalfa.

Learning that it also lowers the methane production that leads to Climate Change; it truly is the- Wise Mans Alfalfa.