According to NASA, there are More Lawns Than Irrigated Corn, making the 35,000,000 million acres of potentially "harvestable" turfgrass, the #1 irrigated Crop in the United States, surpassing that of Irrigated Corn! So, will cattle eat grass clippings? Absolutely, grass clippings are packed full of digestible protein and its TDN is closest to that of corn. Cattle will eat freshly mowed grass clippings within 8 hours of mowing, much older than this and the clippings begin the composting process and cattle won't touch them. Starving cattle have been known to die because they broke into a composting site and started eating clippings from a new compost pile.
Prior to 2012, grass clippings were a unique forage possibility, but required a unique way to pull together the 35 million acres. It's not possible with fresh clippings because they would all rot and compost first, so we invented a way to preserve the clippings. Now it is possible to combine all the lawns in your neighborhood, in combination with all the neighborhoods of all our towns and cities to offer a new feed commodity to the American farmer....oh, and as of December 2016, the South African Farmers.
The BioPac'r packages freshly harvested grass clippings into a 1-ton poly-lined super sack. Once the bag is filled by the Pac'r and sealed off from the air, the biomass ferments or ensiles into livestock silage. Grass Clipping Silage™ made with the BioPac'r system has an unbelievably, High Protein content.
Livestock owners are paying for protein and energy sources when they look for suitable feeds or ration ingredients. We found a great Nevada Protein Table put out by the Extension Service there that compares the different feeds that contain protein, allowing farmers and ranchers to compare the cost of the protein available to them. For the sake of this article and convenience, we inserted a new row to their table for comparison purposes that reflect the feed values for Grass Clipping Silage (in Yellow). The only way farmers make a profit is to put on weight with the least cost. So the less a farmer has to pay for the protein, the more profitable they can be. Grass Clipping Silage can also make farmers more sustainable.
In the BLACK yet?
I'm hoping one of you Agricultural Extension Agents will write a bulletin that explores this emerging cattle feed and the economic benefits associated with Grass Clipping Silage. Since I'm not an Ag Economist, let's just say it takes 1250 pounds of protein (50 bushels of corn) to grow an animal to 1250 pounds.
- Grass Clipping Silage feeding cost = $325.00
- Dairy Quality Alfalfa feeding cost = $387.50
If this is the case, the total savings between .26 Grass Clipping Silage & .31 Dairy Quality Alfalfa over the animals life is $62.50. Now take this number times 1000, 5000 or 10,000 head. When you add in the extra benefits and savings one gets from Grass Clipping Silage on vitamins, the extra TDN and reclamation of irrigation water we may be looking at $75 - $100 extra per animal and in some years, this could be the difference between further cut backs or being in the BLACK and replacing a broken down tractor.
Highly maintained turf grass that is fertilized, mowed and irrigated as is the case with lawns, parks, golf courses, sod fields and athletic fields have an incredible feed value. The feed value of Grass Clipping Silage is even higher than most alfalfa or grass hay as you can see for yourself in the chart. The most important take away from this chart is that the crude protein of Grass Clipping Silage™ is the least expensive of all the protein sources in this table. For additional information, direct your local County Extension Agent to this article for their review and a recommendation on how you can incorporate this new feed into your program.
For turfgrass managers, contact us at Info@biopacr.com and we will assist you in selling your silage to one of the farmers already enrolled into our Grass Clipping Silage Network.
Until Next time.............. Click Here