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Evaluation of low external input, sustainable farming practices for livestock farms in Cumberland County

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dc.contributor.author Patriquin, David G.
dc.contributor.author Hubbard, S.
dc.contributor.author Scott, J.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-02-13T00:07:24Z
dc.date.available 2012-02-13T00:07:24Z
dc.date.issued 1993-06-01
dc.identifier.citation Patriquin,D., S. Hubbard and J. Scott. 1993. Evaluation of low external input, sustainable farming practices for livestock farms in Cumberland County. Report to Canada/Nova Scotia Livestock Feed Initiative Agreement. REAP-Cumberland, Shinimicas, Nova Scotia, 127 p. en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10222/14432
dc.description.abstract Existing livestock systems in Cumberland Co. rely mainly on grass, clover and spring cereals for home grown forage and grain. There are well known limitations to these systems on the fragipan or basil till soils which predominate in the county and which often suffer from early season wetness and mid-summer drought. Together with the high costs of fertilizers or of purchased feed in comparison to farm gate prices, these limitations contribute to the poor economic status of many of the farms in the county. This two year project evaluated a number of low input/sustainable practices for their applicability to livestock farms in Cumberland County. The practices were ones that had been researched initially elsewhere, but either have not been widely adopted by farmers or had not been tested locally. They were identified by REAP-Cumberland farmers in consultation with researchers as ones that could help overcome specific limitations to feed production, reduce input costs and protect the environment. Five sets of experiments or trials were set up in 1990 on one or more of four livestock farms (sheep and beef/sheep/dairy/hogs and beef). The first four experiments were examined in relation to a model rotation, which was developed through discussion between the researchers and farmers: Year 1 GRAIN LEGUME/HAY; Year 2 HAY; Year 3 HAY; Year 4 HAY/WINTER CEREAL, Year 5: WINTER CEREAL/CATCH CROP. The five sets of experiments examined (1) use of grain legumes (fababeans and lupins) for silage and as nurse crops, (2) improvement of hay quality by fertilization and by use of improved mixes, (3) strip trials of winter cereals (triticale, rye, wheat and mixtures of the same), (4) use of catch crops after winter cereals, (5) ryegrass/legume, and winter cereal/legume mixtures as lower cost alternatives to ryegrass for summer pasture. Lupins and fababeans yielded well, made acceptable silage, and allowed good establishment of undersown triple mix. The data from the hay mix experiments indicate that hay productivity can be improved at sites not receiving high N loadings by use of improved mixes containing alternatives to Alsike clover; that more complex mixes on average will perform most predictably, and that a medium or higher level of soil calcium is necessary to realize the full potential of the improved mixes. In strip trials of winter cereals on two farms, the rye-wheat mixture gave the best yields. In the catch crop experiments, the best cover achieved by late fall was 80%, which was by oil radish; it accumulated 20-30 kg N above that in weeds in control plots. It is suggested that better cover and conservation of N might be achieved by sowing cover crops into cereals in spring. In trials of alternatives to ryegrass for summer pasture, winter cereals did not yield well compared to ryegrass; nitrate in ryegrass reached levels of 1-3% at the two more heavily fertilized sites, which is in the potentially toxic range. In addition, a variety of informal research was conducted during the course of the project. Trials of different rye varieties and of spelt, fertilized with only manure, were conducted at two farms over two years. Schmidt rye, which had been selected on an organic farm in Ontario, produced high grain yield and an exceptionally high straw yield; the straw component is of particular value on these livestock farms; Spelt (potential cash crop for the organic market) also yielded well, and with the Schmidt rye, was multiplied on larger acreages. A system for managing residues and controlling weeds in organic vegetable production was tested. It involves incorporation of residues in the fall in raised beds, and growing winterkilled cover crops. It provided excellent control of weeds in the following year with no cultivation. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Canada/Nova Scotia Livestock Feed Initiative Agreement Technology Transfer Program en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher REAP-Cumberland, Shinimicas, Nova Scotia en_US
dc.subject Livestock farms
dc.subject Sustainable farming
dc.subject Grain legumes
dc.subject Lupin
dc.subject Faba bean
dc.subject Triticale
dc.subject Winter wheat
dc.subject Winter rye
dc.subject Catch crops
dc.subject Brassicas
dc.subject Oats
dc.subject Phacelia Schmidt rye
dc.subject Spelt
dc.subject Manure
dc.subject Compost
dc.subject Hay mixes
dc.subject Ryegrass nitrate
dc.subject Nurse crops
dc.subject Silage
dc.subject Raised beds
dc.subject Organic vegetable production
dc.subject Weed control
dc.subject Winterkill cover crops
dc.subject Oil radish
dc.title Evaluation of low external input, sustainable farming practices for livestock farms in Cumberland County en_US
dc.type Technical Report en_US

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