Monday, August 24, 2009

Yup, Leaves Are Good

I had written about this subject not too long ago. I found this to be very interesting, in that, many farmers still insist that animals will get sick eating the leaves of trees. More research is now proving that to be false. Thanks to Alan Nation for keeping us posted, he did it agian. Read on.

Willows Make Great Forage

Friday, 21 August 2009
Unwormed lambs with full season access to low-growing willow trees often had significantly fewer internal parasites than wormed lambs grazed solely on pasture in a New Zealand research study reported by Jerry Brunetti in the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance July newsletter. The New Zealanders also found that the willows eliminated maladies such as facial eczema and ryegrass staggers that are caused by soil zinc deficiencies. The willows were found to be extremely high in both macro and micro mineral elements. The anthelmintic effect of willow is thought to be based upon its high level of tannins. These tannins convert highly soluble protein from immature cool-season grasses into a by-pass form that is digested in the lower gut. This helps prevent the buildup of urea in the animals’ blood and fat that can cause severe health problems as well as off-flavored raw milk and grassfed meat. Brunetti said the willow trees in New Zealand are typically pollarded to create a low bushy top for the animals to graze upon. He said "fodder trees" of willow and poplar are common in the drought-prone areas of New Zealand for the summer supplementation of cattle, sheep and farmed deer. Brunetti said he has done forage analyses of woody plants in Pennsylvania and has been amazed at how nutrient-dense they were compared to pasture.

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