Sunday, June 11, 2017

The rye grass problem.

Ryegrass (click here) is a highly palatable and protein-rich grass that is grown primarily for pasture and silage. It is valued for its high nutrient composition and digestibility. Due to its excellent nutritional quality it is commonly used as pasture for lactating dairy cows. Sprouted ryegrass fodder contains many of the same benefits of its more mature, pasture-grown counterpart and the feed value of ryegrass fodder is highly comparable to corn.

Ryegrass in some areas of the USA is considered an invasive species when used for grazing.

With the development of large-scale agriculture in the mid-20th century, farming became a big business for some companies. Farms became consolidated into large enterprises with many thousands of animals across large acreages.

Initially, grazing areas were filled with a variety of grasses and flowers that grew naturally, offering a diverse diet for cows and other ruminants. However, in order to improve the efficiency of feeding livestock, many of these pastures became reseeded with perennial ryegrass. With the aid of artificial fertilizers, perennial ryegrass grows quickly and in huge quantities. The downside is that it lacks the nutritious content of other grasses and prevents more nutritious plants from growing. One commentator called it the "fast food" of grasses....

...A study at the University of Bristol compared three types of naturally grown pastures to ryegrass pasture grown with chemical fertilizers. Lambs were fed on each type of pasture. The meat from lambs fed on natural pastures had less saturated fat, more omega-3 fatty acids, more vitamin E and higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a "good fat" that is believed to fight cancer. The meat from these lambs was considered very high quality and scored well in flavor tests....

I wanted to list the study from the University of Bristol, but, there is a department of scientists studying the well being of British farm animals and their studies are a cascade of information, with one study built on another. There really needs to be a symposium regarding these grasses and their effect on a food supply including the well being of the farm animals as well.