Correcting trace minerals in pastures to improve nutrition

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by prairiegirl01, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. prairiegirl01

    prairiegirl01 New Member

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    As I was reading more about copper deficiency on the Saanendoah site I read that "soil applied copper will generally have long-lasting residual effects. Beneficial effects from 1.3 to 2.7 pounds of copper per acre have persisted undiminished for up to 35 years (western Australia). Copper can be applied as organic compounds in the form od CuEDTA, copper ligninsulfates, and copper polyflavonoids." So that made me wonder if anyone has tried this form of correcting their copper issues? Has anyone done soil testing, forage testing and then remedied deficiencies in the soil by applying topical stuff to their pastures? Or, does anyone know where I can read more about this? I have been curious about this issue for quite awhile because I am sure that my horses are needing more trace minerals. I read about the reasons why modern forages/pastures are nutrient/mineral deficient in a book called Natural Horse Care by Pat Coleby. Maybe I need to go back to that book and read it again.

    But the site also talked about the influence of copper antagonists that, if high, can prevent the animal's absorption of the useful stuff like copper. In the article was an example of some soil testing that was done on 4 pastures on a Montana ranch and they listed the results of the trace mineral testing, but it wasn't clear to me what the numbers SHOULD have been to be within acceptable levels of iron, sulfur, and molybdenum so that copper can be properly utilized by the animals. So, it made me think that simply adding copper is not the answer and if your soils are too high in copper antagonists that one might not be able to remedy the problem at all. Anyone else wondering about this?

    Chris
     
  2. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I know for us the iron in our soils makes soil ammendments on pasture unfeisable. I went to a pasture improvement 'class' at our coop and one done at the extension services in my county. It of course was for cattle. In the end it was all about improve pasture for weight gains and hay, nothing about breeding stock and improving the health of the cattle...very dissapointing. Vicki
     

  3. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

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    Pat Colby never recommends that copper be added to the soil. She talks more about soil testing in Natural Farming and I think she explains what she looks for in soil tests better in that book. You can google copper toxicity and foot baths to see how imbalanced this single mineral can get and the toxicity problems they have from it.
    Now, her advice is not the Bible in goat care, so start looking for a soil testing company that is near you. They can tell you about how to adjust your soil in the way that is right for your micro-climate. This is really only needed of the goats are getting the majority of their feed off your land. If they aren't eating 60% and higher of their feed from your land, pasture and browse and forage crops then a soil test isn't going to tell you much. A better option would be to send in your hay and forage to get it analyzed. You will most likely have to ask around in your farming community to see who does it.

    I only say this because I have know people who have read her books and then go out to purchased copper sulfate and start throwing it out on their pastures hoping to correct their copper problems. They created a serious problem for their goats and other livestock.

    Hopefully, if you get a hold of a real company who knows what they are doing they will give you ways to minimize the antagonists or deal with them. Colby mentions putting dolomite on her pastures to help minerals absorption but in some areas of the us our soils is actually high in dolomite properties anyway, so to do that would probably not be a very good idea. It's not clear that her advice can really be used here.
     
  4. prairiegirl01

    prairiegirl01 New Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts--I figured someone would have already thought through this.

    I did have my soil tested recently and have yet to get the results back. I'm also not sure how much forage my goats are getting from our pastures--they are reluctant to go outside in the heat and humidity--I don't feed them hay until evening after milking, but I think they're grazing in the morning and then sometimes mid day and then again in the evening when it's getting cooler. Anything I can do to encourage them further? There isn't any shade out there so I might be already doing all that I can.

    They are grazing mostly tall-grass prairie--lots of big blue stem, birds foot trefoil, golden rod, and box elder leaves/twigs. I keep hoping that since the root systems for these grasses/forbs are so deep, more of the available minerals in the soil will be brought up by the plants and will then be available to the animals.

    Jo, where in Minnesota are you? Are you close by?

    Thanks, Vicki and Jo.

    Chris
     
  5. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

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    That grazing pattern is normal. Back on our old property we ran a herd of alpine on pasture and that is what they would do also. They eat, rest & ruminate and then go out again. They would avoid the early morning and they preferred dry grass to dew damp grass. Check out the book "Weeds and What they tell you" in the acres usa catalog. Some folks think that some weeds prefer one type of soil over another and this can give you an indication if you have problems. If you had a lot of mullein, thistle, wild garlic ect on your land then I would look into soil testing for sure.

    I would switch to feeding half the hay in the morning so they have dry forage in their rumen before they go out and graze. This will help protect them against bloat.

    Your forage sounds good however.

    We are in Elk River. There ar several other members in MN, too.