Forage Management


Correctly managed forage is critical to agricultural success and sustainability. Learn to better manage forage resources for both livestock and other animals

Course CodeBAG226
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


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Learn to manage forage resources

  • on farms or in natural landscapes
  • for both livestock and other animals
  • to maintain sustainability of landscapes

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Forage Resources
    • Introduction
    • Terminology
    • Types of Forage
    • Types of Forage Lands
    • What different Animals Eat - Avian, Monogastric, Ruminants, Pseudo Ruminant
    • Managing Forage Ecosystems
    • Over grazing
    • Continuous vs Rotational Grazing
    • Ecosystem Health
    • Weed Types
    • Weed Populations
  2. Grassland Species and Ecosystems
    • Different Ways to Feed Animals
    • Different Fodder Systems
    • Different Fodder Plants - grasses, legumes, roots, wildflowers, forbs
  3. Fodder Trees & Shrubs
    • Definitions
    • Advantages & Disadvantages of Fodder Trees
    • Using Fodder Trees
    • Harvesting Foliage - pollarding, coppicing, browse blocks, leaf fall, silvopasture systems
    • Criteria for plant selection
    • Financial considerations
    • Considering Tree Species - Acacias, Bamboos, Beech, Black locust, Carob, Honey Locust, Pome Fruits and many more
  4. Forage Establishment
    • Natural area Grazing
    • Seeding
    • Soil - soil biome, rhizosphere, autotoxicity
    • Weed Management
    • Biodiversity -riparian zone, birds
  5. Forage Management
    • Regenerative Grazing Management
    • Improving Soil Quality
    • Strategies for Soil Improvement - crop rotation, tillage, zero tillage, fertility testing, soil compaction, soil cover
    • Fertiliser Management
    • NPK
    • Using Legumes
    • Irrigation Management
    • Animal Management
    • Animal Access Management - hedges, wire, barbed wire, electric fence, stone walls, banks/rises, gates, digital fencing tech
    • Controlled Burning
    • Pest and Disease Management
  6. Forage Quality and Use
    • Understanding Quality -palatability. intake, digestibility. nutrients, anti quality forage, animal performance
    • Composition and Analysis- moisture content, crude protein, fibre, energy, minerals, relative feed value etc
    • Cutting
  7. Forage (animal) related disorders
    • Recognising ill health
    • Seasonal and Conditional Disorders -bloat, acidosis, nitrate poisoning, prussic acid, grass tetany, phytoestrogens, etc
    • Overgrazing
    • Parasites
    • Worms
    • Species Related Disorders - fescue taxicosis, endophyte toxins, ryegrass staggers, antiquality components, phenolic compounds
    • Seasonal and Conditional Disorders -plant poisoning
    • Disorders Associated with Stored Forages
  8. Preserving Forage as Hay & Silage
    • Making Hay - curing, weather factors, etc
    • Mowing
    • Conditioning
    • Swathe Manipulation to Speed Drying
    • Hay Storage and Preservation
    • Phases in Silage Fermentation
    • Silage Storage
    • Silage Management

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the nature and scope of forage plants eaten by animals, both in captivity and in the wild.
  • Identify the comparative characteristics of grasses and other low growing fodder plants from different natural and created habitats, including grasses, legumes and forbs.
  • Identify the comparative characteristics of grasses and other low growing fodder plants from different natural and created habitats including a range of trees and shrubs.
  • Explain how forage plants may be established effectively in a managed pasture.
  • Explain how to manage a landscape to optimise forage production in a way that is sustainable, both economically and environmentally.
  • Explore factors that impact the quantity and quality of forage produced by a landscape and the effect on productivity of forage production.
  • Identify common problems that can arise in livestock and other animals as a result or the forage/fodder they eat.
  • Harvest and store forage plants for feeding animals after a period of storage.


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