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Environmental And Management Conditions Affecting The Mineral Concentration Of Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum Clandestinum)

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Item Summary

Title: Environmental And Management Conditions Affecting The Mineral Concentration Of Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum Clandestinum)
Authors: Humphreys, Vanessa
Issue Date: Aug 2005
Abstract: "Grazing lands" are areas capable of growing grasses and other forages. They are usually lands which cannot be used for other types of agricultural practices due to factors like insufficient rainfall, temperature and (or) soil quality (Buckley et al., 1996). In the State of Hawai'i, more than one million acres of land fit into this category, and Hawai'i's cattle industry represents the largest single business use of these grazing lands (Buckley et al., 1996). In 1982 there were about 230,000 head of cattle in the State of Hawai'i and annual revenue from beef and milk totaled approximately $49 million (Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, 1983). Ten years later, in 1992, total cattle numbers in the state declined to 200,000 head, but annual revenue from beef and milk was higher than 1982, at approximately $61 million (Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, 1993). Current statistics indicate that total cattle numbers and revenue are lower than the past. There are about 156,000 head of cattle in the State of Hawai'i and at the farm level, the annual revenue from beef and milk sales is approximately $41 million (Hawai'i Agricultural Statistics Service, 2004). Although there has been a slight decline in cash revenues, current values show that the number of cattle on Hawai'i's ranches are up 3% from 2003 (Hawai'i Agricultural Statistics Service, 2004). Based on the statistics presented above, there is potential to increase and create a more profitable and viable grazing animal industry in Hawai'i. This potential is further emphasized by the fact that lands available for cattle production are expected to increase due to the decline in the sugarcane and pineapple industries and the potential economic environmental need to move dairies off the island of Oahu (Mathews and Carpenter, 2003). However, as in many tropical regions, the nutritional value of Hawai'i's pasture grasses and grass-derived processed feeds varies greatly, and are often imbalanced or below the desired levels (Carpenter et al., 1997; Mathews and Carpenter, 2003). As seen in other tropical regions (McDowell, 1997), inadequate concentrations of nutrients in Hawai'i's grasses or grass-derived feedstuffs may result in less than optimal animal growth, reproduction and performance. The current literature related to the nutritional value of forages in the State of Hawai'i is limited. However, the lack of adequate nutrients in tropical soils and (or) variations in forage types is often recognized as the reason for lower quality forages, which can reduce animal production and health (McDowell, 1997). Along with deficiencies in energy and protein, forages grown in tropical regions are often deficient in a number of the macro- and micro-minerals needed by the animal (McDowell, 1997). Nutritional supplements, including minerals, are often given to grazing animals. However, supplements are an added expense to the producer and may provide less than optimal animal responses. The opportunity to improve and understand the soil-plant-animal relationship, the efficiency of grass conversion to animal products, and supplementation strategies in tropical regions, especially Hawai'i, is immense (Mathews and Carpenter, 2003). Furthermore, adjusting grazing and supplementation regimes for factors like pasture (geographical) location, forage species and maturity, management practices and climate is necessary to further enhance grazing animal performance in tropical regions.
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Appears in Collections:M.S. - Animal Sciences

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