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Vetiver grass as a forage

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Some of you may know that Warren Sullivan, who has a farm on Trinity Bay, Texas , is interested in using vetiver as a forage to feed his cattle.  Here is an update from him"

"Just an update on how the test plot of Vetiver was received by the cattle and how it tested out for food nutrients by Kansas State University.

I planted approx. 150 Vetiver plants that had been cut back to about 4 inches above the crown on a small test plot of ground. This area was shut off from all grazing for one month. The grass was well watered with sprinklers to enhance growth. The length of the grass was easily 10 - 12 inches in length. Cattle were then turned in and they grazed the Vetiver to the ground.

When I returned to Kansas, I cut the tops off several Vetiver plants that I had brought back with me and took it to Douglas County Extension Agent who sent the Vetiver sample off to Kansas State University for Food nutrient testing. The results were that Vetiver had a 14.7% crude protein on 100% dry matter and the total digestible nutrients (TDN) came in a little less than 100. These results beat out Brome hay which had a crude protein content of around 10% and the TDN for brome came in less than Vetiver".

This feedback from Warren (thank you Warren!) confirms that when managed and fed at a young age vetiver provides quality forage.  It would be good if some extensive research trials could be carried out by a University to identify the optimum management practices that would provide maximum output of quality vetiver forage - fed as green forage, hay and silage.  

If the best practice could be identified vetiver might then be introduced as an important forage plant that is drought tolerant and resistant to most pests and disease.


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