When a cow eats grass, it seems incredible that this feed is the basis of the diet of such a large representative of cattle. However, scientists proved that even mammoths were herbivorous animals, that is, vegetarians. Plants contain the vitamins and nutrients needed by the body for full development and existence. But this does not mean that you can eat them indiscriminately. Among them are poisonous. Our article will help you understand the herbal diversity and tell you how much and what exactly can be included in the green menu of Burenka.
What grows on pasture
The concept of "grass" is very multifaceted. This definition includes all plants that do not form a tree trunk. He is not needed, because cows eat only the stems and leaves during the growing season.
Herbs are perennial, when every year new greens grow from the same root. In the central and southern part of Russia, very often pastures consist of the following plants:
- meadow and red fescue;
- white clover;
- timothy grass;
This does not mean that each field is sown only with the specified herbs in its pure form. Usually, a mixture of different seeds is sown on pasture. So, rye grass makes up one third of the prepared volume, and one-fifth of the fescue and timothy beetles. The amount of white clover and bluegrass is calculated as a percentage, adding not more than 10% of each.
Perennial pastures in terms of keeping cows are most convenient. After all then then it is not necessary to be engaged every year in sowing.
They came from ancient times
During the grazing, it is impossible to determine exactly how much grass a cow eats; it can be 30 or 100 kg per day. The figure depends on the breed, age, weight of the animal and, of course, on the composition of the grass in the pasture. But when the stall fattening number is known. For one dairy cow of a dairy herd, 45 kg of freshly cut grass per day will suffice.
Alfalfa, as a fodder plant, people knew 6-7 thousand years ago. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates and mineral elements - calcium, potassium, fluorine. It is very common in the Caucasus, and all in Russia it sows almost 4 million hectares.
Even more ancient history at rape. This culture was known before our era, but there is no consensus about the place of its birth. Like a weed, it is found on all continents. It is believed that this species appeared as a result of crossing a plant called winter rape (or spring) with cabbage.
By the way, rapeseed belongs to the cabbage family. In Russia, it began to be actively grown in the 19th century, and not only for livestock feed, but also as an oilseed crop, from which biodiesel fuel was prepared. Nowadays, it remains a very useful herb for cows, no matter how many additives are present in the diet of cattle.
Vic: benefits and harm
Vika (or pea) is a perennial herb that belongs to the legume family. The nutrients contained in it have a very good effect on the quality of the milk produced by the cow. But 100 g of peas contain 80 g of water, which is why it is referred to as succulent feed, contributing to an increase in the amount of milk in the milk cow.
But the same 100 grams are very high in calories - almost 300 kcal. Therefore, as a herbivore, a cow, eating this plant, will receive proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and ashes along with the liquid. These substances contribute to building muscle, that is, they will be suitable components for the diet of beef cattle breeds.
An important warning: in no case should a pregnant cow be given to a wounded vetch. As a result of the reactions taking place, the elements contained in it will no longer be useful, but toxic, and may cause a miscarriage. Grass should only be freshly cut.
Variety of dishes
Cows can even be kept on one vetch, it is so complete in a nutritional sense. Grain milled and boiled with bran are also used; its straw is also very useful. However, the last product must be given with caution, as it is poorly digested and may cause constipation.
Among other legumes, we note a high protein content in soy - up to 50%. Also in its composition a lot of fat - 26%, which allows us to consider this herb as one of the dishes for cows in the meat direction. This plant is also known since ancient times. The stones, which have been found in China, are more than 5 thousand years old, and they have an image of soybean stalks.
A cow eats grass in a variety of dishes that a man has invented for her. Hay, silage, haylage, straw - all these are products for the manufacture of which they use either legumes or cereals.
The benefits of barley
Among annual grasses in the first place are cereals. They can be given to the cow throughout the year and in any form.
Take barley, in mature grains of which almost 16% of protein is contained, more than 75% of carbohydrates and vitamins of all the main groups - A, B, D, E. Barley straw is also useful to help the digestive system.
People learned about these irreplaceable qualities of barley 17 thousand years ago. And at the same time, they began to not only bake bread from it, which turned out to be somewhat heavy and tough, but also allowed it to be fed to cows and other cattle.
Palestinians were the first to grow barley, but it is believed that as a culture it developed in parallel on other continents. In our time, this grass takes up to 70% of the volume of all other feed. It can well replace the oats, which burn out in the southern regions - in Arabia, the Caucasus or in Central Asia.
Barley is used to make straw and chaff, which is given in scalded or steamed form to prevent colic in the cow.
Grass sent down
Oats - this annual grass first conquered Mongolia, and then the whole world. However, humanity met her a few millennia later than with wheat or barley.
And yet it is precisely about him that one can say that this grass for feed for cows is defined above. After all, it was no coincidence that they took him for a measure of nutritional value and called him the feed unit. 100 g of oats contain 10 g of proteins and 58 g of carbohydrates, 36 g of starch, 4.7 g of fat and 11 g of fiber. In addition, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorus - a dozen of useful minerals. As well as vitamins (mainly groups B), amino acids (arginine, histidine, leucine, threonine, valine and others), folic acid and vitamin E.
Oats are grown for green fodder, for hay and haylage. Oat straw contains up to 7% of proteins and up to 40% of carbohydrates. Often planting is done in a mixture with leguminous plants - vetch (peas) or chin.
To feed with seeds of such a grass as wheat is considered waste. But there are farms that can afford it.
The origin of the cereal is no less ancient than that of barley, but there is no consensus exactly where the wheat was cultivated. Some people call this territory Armenia, others - Turkey. But in any case, its birthplace is the southern warm lands.
Nowadays, there is hardly any farmer who will drive a cow into a wheat field so that she will eat fresh shoots. But after harvesting the stems with great popularity go for straw, silage or haylage intended for ruminants.
When they say that cereals are well eaten by calves, they mean not only their seeds, but also green mass. The norms of the daily ration of herbs of legumes and cereals per calf are shown in the table:
Grass products - silage, hay, straw, haylage
The best is hay, which is prepared from specially planted plant seeds. For example, it will be grass harvested from clover, alfalfa or wick fields. We must make sure that among the useful ones there are no poisonous plants, which we call below.
The quality depends on the time of harvesting - it is best to mow before the seeds ripen. And the second important point - the conditions of drying and storage. Here, too, it is necessary to observe the technological process, otherwise the hay may turn out to be over-dried or rotten.
Silage is canned green plants that are crushed and fermented without access to air. It can be stored for up to several years and replaces fresh grass for nutritional value.
Haylage is also made from fresh grass, wilting it until the humidity reaches 50%. For the production using sealed containers. Herbs of leguminous crops are usually used, the ensiling of which is difficult.
After threshing wheat, oats, barley, dry stems remain, from which straw is obtained. To store it pressed. In the cold season, it is also a valuable feed for cows.
The table indicates how much for a good nutrition can be given to a cow (weight 500 kg) of the above products:
Among the beneficial herbs are poisonous. For example, the godson often leads to the death of a cow, affecting its kidneys and liver. Dangerous ipomoea, buttercup, henbane and horsetail, which contain alkaloids and cause severe poisoning. Therefore, be vigilant and carefully monitor the herbs that fall "on the table" to your cow. Otherwise, you risk losing an animal for several days.
It is safe to say that cows do not eat oregano, hyssop, dill and strawberry, although they are not poisonous. And such flowers as dandelions are quite to their taste. However, the milk from this becomes bitter in taste, so it is best to avoid places where they grow in large quantities for grazing.
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