Pasture Management for Nutrients and Preventing Parasite Problems in Small Ruminants

Thanks to Kim Cassida for this great piece. Here she focuses on practices for small ruminants, but the principles work for cattle as well. A common question among new small ruminant producers is “which forage is best for my animals?” The answer isn’t only about nutrients, but also involves parasite management and sustainable forage production. Nutrients A key consideration for managing small ruminant pastures is that the effect of small body size on metabolic rate and digestive efficiency means that these animals require more nutrients per unit of forage eaten than cattle. Therefore, pasture management for growing or lactating animals should usually emphasize maintaining nutritional value over absolute dry matter yield. Total digestible nutrient (TDN) content of plants decreases as they get larger and more mature, and therefore nutritive quality of a pasture inevitably decreases as plants grow and  yield increases.  In general, legumes and other broadleaf plants (including the leaves of woody plants) are more energy-dense than grasses because they contain less fibrous cell wall. The

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One thought on “Pasture Management for Nutrients and Preventing Parasite Problems in Small Ruminants

  1. Kim –

    Very nice job on the article. Your comments relative to the importance of grazing management in GIN management are right on target.

    I am interested in the work you did looking at infective larvae in the canopy of forages. Can you point me to the report/data on the web?

    Rick Machen
    Professor & Specialist
    Animal & Natural Resource Management
    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

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