Hair Sheep Production in Temperate, Deciduous Appalachian Silvopastures
Fannon-Osborne, Amy Gail
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Silvopastoral management has potential to diversify and increase the output from livestock production systems. Silvopasture production offers solutions to many management issues associated with grazing systems in the Appalachian region. Several tree species have been proposed for silvopastures in humid temperate regions, but little data comparing animal performance from systems with different deciduous tree species are available. Forage and animal performance was compared from open systems (i.e., no trees) with that from silvopastures containing 13-yr-old honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) or black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees. Cool-season grass-legume pastures were rotationally stocked with hair sheep crosses from mid-June through September. The objective of this project was to determine carcass characteristics and meat quality of hair sheep crosses grazing honey locust or black walnut silvopastures in comparison with traditional pasture systems. Forage production varied by year with black walnut having lower production, especially in the 2009 season with black walnut producing less forage compared to open pastures and honeylocust silvopastures (P=0.0008). Only small differences in forage nutritive value were observed. Total gains and average daily gains (ADG) did not differ by treatment in 2008, but during the 2009 season black walnut silvopastures produced half the total gains (P=0.0427) and ADG (P=0.0513) of open pastures and honeylocust silvopastures. Carcass characteristics evaluated did not vary among treatments except hot carcass weight with black walnut having lower weights (P=.0045). Meat quality characteristics did not vary among treatments (P>0.1). Shear force and fat content showed great differences and varied by year (P<0.05). Overall, carcass and meat quality was similar for all treatments showing great promise for silvopastures.
- Masters Theses