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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Adair Co, Oklahoma

    Default Buckwheat and livestock

    I was thinking of planting Buckwheat this year in small plots for my bees. I am concerned about my cattle and sheep grazing these plots as I rotate my pastures. Is there anything to be concerned about? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Olympia, Washington

    Default Re: Buckwheat and livestock

    I doubt it.. buckwheat makes good cattle forage, too:

    Excerpt from Cornell Univ Ag Science site article "Buckwheat for Forage" by Thomas Björkman and Larry Chase (Animal Science)
    (URL below)

    "If buckwheat is cut early in flowering (5-6 weeks after sowing), the amount of protein is respectable (15-20%) and the digestibility is high. Waiting longer to cut decreases quality and does not increase yield substantially. The value of buckwheat as forage can be comparable to the grain price if hay prices spike, so selling buckwheat as forage may be an option for buckwheat growers to consider in some years.

    In 2005, grower Jerry Price of Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, baled buckwheat that was in flower. The forage was 70% moisture and the buyer found that the cows ate it happily. The dry-basis analysis from AgriAnalysis was
    Protein 16.4%, ADF 32.9%, NDF 41.8%, K 1.93%, 0.68 NEL, RFV 141.

    We had some samples of buckwheat from 2000 analyzed by the Dairy One lab in Ithaca. The results indicate that buckwheat harvested as hay has protein content similar to corn silage, and fiber and in vitro total digestibility similar to good quality alfalfa hay."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA

    Default Re: Buckwheat and livestock

    I did some similar research (sorry, don't have links handy) thinking about planting a large section of my "hay/silage field" with buckwheat so I could balance the needs of my bees & my sheep. Everything I can find seems to say it'll be fine for both; though I'm still slightly worried by the stories of legumes causing reduced fertility in sheep (though I'm leaning more and more towards calling it a wives' tale as one of my ewes just dropped triplets, during a major clover growth in the pasture). For cattle/horses/goats/hogs I don't think I'd flinch about feeding them a high-buckwheat diet; as long as there's other forage available it'll prob. just improve their nutrition by adding a little variety (and some phosphorus).

    P.S. I think I remember finding something about super high amounts of buckwheat being detrimental to livestock prob. best not to feed it exclusively.


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