lespadeeza hay

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Anita Martin, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    Hello everyone and merry christmas!
    I know this has been discussed before but I see that lately there are a lot of new folks on this forum that are not new to farming/goats that might have some input. One of my local hay growers has told me that he plans to plant Lespadeeza hay in Feb. I have only used this hay once I think and it was cut late and just not good hay. I am wondering though, if it were cut and grown correctly, would it be as good as alfalfa hay as far as protein and available calcium? I like feeding alfalfa hay, but dislike the waste. Yes, I do use pellets also, but really like to feed a lot of excellent hay as the main portion of the diet. I've seen good Les. hay and it looks as if there would be less waste with feeding it, and also the cost is somewhat lower.
    I'm just wondering if any of you have experience with feeding this hay and your results. My goats are milking/show goats that I DO NOT want to get too thin.
    Thanks so much.
    Anita
     
  2. Haglerfarm

    Haglerfarm New Member

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    I love lespedeza hay. but, no one plants it locally any longer as you only get one cutting.
    It is in the same family as alfalfa. My goats prefer it to alfalfa, or did. Can't get alfalfa either anymore. Alfalfa doesn't do well here anyhow.
    When I can get it I prefer Serecia hay. It is also in that same family. Around here we call it poor man's alfalfa. It grows on poor ground. It is hard to cure properly so that it does not shatter the leaves. And it needs to be cut when small as it gets stemmy it let get to big. But, you can get lots of cuttings from it.
    The best part is it is a natural wormer. They have done lots of studies on it at the university in Knoxville, TN.
    The former Bell-Haven nubian herd that bred for milk production and won lots of awards fed Serecia exclusively. they put up their own and it was beautiful hay.
    About all the hay you can get here is fescue or orchardgrass sometimes. Most of the farmers are planting Bermuda now for horses. My goats will eat it though as they are used to a grass type hay. But it is to pricey most of the time. My goats make it fine on our junk hay I call it. The fields have all sorts of weeds, fescue, blackberry brambles, jap (what we call lespedeza here), serecia, young tree saplings, etc in it. My goats love it, although I doubt the protein it that high, especially these last couple of years with the drought. So I do add alfalfa pellets to their feed.
    Les
     

  3. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    I wish I could get lezpedeza here. I am thinking of growing it myself though, just in the goat run for good forage, in a mix. From what I have read, the protein is slightly lower than alfalfa and it will have the same calcium benfits. I would get it if I could.
     
  4. stoneyheightsfarm

    stoneyheightsfarm New Member

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    Hmmm... as I was reading a while ago, my understanding is that serecia is a species in the genus lespedeza. Is this correct? I think there are several species of lespedeza. I also read that if it isn't cut while young, the leaves gather high tannins (think very dry wine or strong unsweetened tea) and that's unpalatable to goats. (Unpalatable to me, too :) ) I've never had the hay, but we do have some in our field, and I can attest to the fact that the goats do enjoy munching it when it is young. I don't know how this translates into hay palatability, since my goats love alfalfa hay but won't touch it fresh.
     
  5. coso

    coso Guest

    You want the Korean or Kobe lespedeza, is was prized as horse hay around here for a long time. The serecia was brought in to control erosion on road ways and pond banks. It does not have the palatability nor the nutrition that the old type lespedeza has.
     
  6. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone,
    I had no idea there were various types of Lespedeeza. I really don't much about it. Hopefully my grower will cut it young. Around here we mostly have orchard grass and fescue. I've fed a lot of imported hay over the years from Canada, New York, Penn. etc that was much higher quality than we usually get around here, but I do worry about the pesticide and fertilizer usage on it. Course we have that locally too, and the dreaded biosolids. I'm looking forward to trying the les. hay this spring.
    Thanks
    Anita
     
  7. Haglerfarm

    Haglerfarm New Member

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    The tannins in the serecia is what contributes to it being a natural wormer. I have fed it being cut early and cut late, when it was very tall and stemmy. The goats love it at all stages. At least mine do.
    Yes, Kobe or Korean lespedeza is what we call jap. It is all very good hay..
    I was lucky to buy 100 bales of serecia/grass hay this fall. It is not the best considering the drought we have had, but it is not bad. I am saving it for later to feed. I also have 140 bales of orchardgrass that is nice soft hay. The rest is our rough hay I call it, but the goats like it.
    Les
     
  8. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    I was able to find a little more information on lespedeza hay on the internet today. It was from some studies done in Missouri I think. They compared the protein content to alfalfa. It's more drought resistant than alfalfa in the seedling stage. It will withstand heavy trampling and grows best in early summer which is why it is sometimes interplanted with early spring grasses/grains that have early heavy growth and then die out, which is when the lespedeza starts growing well. It produces less forage per acre than alfalfa but can be maintained with lower production costs. It's fine stemmed with a high percentage of leaves and does not cause bloat.

    It declined in the 1950's as a feed grass with the increased use of fertilizers which brought about higher production of small grains grown with the lespedeza, which increased competition and severely reduced lespedeza production. (that figures)

    About the only thing bad I could find out about it so far is that in some tests, if cut after flowering, it reduced milk yields in dairy cows. They said it should be grazed or cut for hay before flowering for dairy use. Young dairy cows and beef cows were reported to have excellent gains on lespedeza, despite the stage it was cut.

    I bought some hay today that contains a large percentage of lespedeza, at least according to the grower. It's a mixed grass hay, and the goats went crazy over it, even though it contains fescue and was purchased for the horses.

    Anita
     
  9. Bethel

    Bethel New Member

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    Hi Anita , Hope you had a Mary Christmas . I was just wounding how costly it is , and is any more available ??
     
  10. I got some lespedeeza this year too. The goats love it!
     
  11. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    Becky, congrats on all those does! Jerome, the hay I got was from a neighbor in Charolotte county. I paid $5 a bale for it. I pm'd you with more information. It does have fescue in it, but I bought it for the horses, none of which are pregnant. I didn't realize the goats would like it so much.
    Anita