Outeniqua Research Farm

George, South Africa

Outeniqua Research Farm

George, South Africa
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Steyn L.,Stellenbosch University | Meeske R.,Stellenbosch University | Meeske R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Cruywagen C.W.,Stellenbosch University
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2017

Dried citrus pulp (DCP) is a high-fibre by-product of the citrus industry. In total mixed ration (TMR) systems it has been shown to maintain a more stable ruminal environment, improving overall production compared with maize. The aim of the study was to determine the effects of stepwise replacement of maize with DCP in a concentrate supplement on milk yield, milk composition and rumen health of Jersey cows grazing ryegrass pasture. Sixty-eight lactating Jersey cows (μ ± SD; 84.5 ± 43.8 days in milk, 20.4 ± 3.09 kg/day) were used in the trial. Cows were allocated to one of four treatments, with 17 cows per treatment, namely no DCP (NDCP): 0% replacement; low DCP (LDCP): 33% replacement; medium DCP (MDCP): 66% replacement; and high DCP (HDCP): 100% replacement. An additional six ruminally cannulated Jersey cows were randomly allocated to the NDCP and HDCP treatments in a two-period cross-over design. Milk yield decreased between 2.1 and 3.2 kg/day when maize was replaced with DCP. Milk fat content did not differ between treatments. However, treatment had a quadratic effect on milk protein and lactose content, with the LDCP and MDCP treatments having the highest values. No change in the diurnal ruminal pH curve and no differences in the rate and extent of pasture dry matter and neutral detergent fibre degradability between treatments were observed. In conclusion, replacing maize grain with DCP in a conventional concentrate diet led to a decrease in milk yield, while rumen health was maintained.


Swanepoel P.A.,Stellenbosch University | Swanepoel P.A.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | du Preez C.C.,University of the Free State | And 2 more authors.
African Journal of Range and Forage Science | Year: 2015

Loss of productive agricultural land due to soil degradation poses a serious threat to agricultural output and sustainability. Soil degradation of cultivated pastures manifests as a long-term decline in production potential. There are concerns that soils under pastures in certain regions of South Africa are degrading as a result of mismanagement, which include practising continuous tillage, improper grazing management, injudicious application of fertilisers and poor irrigation management. Soil quality indicators, which include physical, chemical and biological parameters in soil, are science-based methods to monitor sustainability and protect soil. Soil quality data informs the land manager in the decision-making process to address practices that degrade agro-ecological systems and mitigate any loss of function. The aim of this paper is to provide a synthesis of the challenges and opportunities in soil management of pastures. The value of assessing soil chemical, physical and biological indicators to monitor soil quality is stressed. © 2015, Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.


Swanepoel P.A.,Stellenbosch University | Swanepoel P.A.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Du Preez C.C.,University of the Free State | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | And 2 more authors.
Soil Research | Year: 2015

Soil quality of pastures changes through time because of management practices. Excessive soil disturbance usually leads to the decline in soil quality, and this has resulted in concerns about kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)-ryegrass (Lolium spp.) pasture systems in the southern Cape region of South Africa. This study aimed to understand the effects of tillage on soil quality. The soil management assessment framework (SMAF) and the locally developed soil quality index for pastures (SQIP) were used to assess five tillage systems and were evaluated at a scale inclusive of variation in topography, pedogenic characteristics and local anthropogenic influences. Along with assessment of overall soil quality, the quality of the physical, chemical and biological components of soil were considered individually. Soil physical quality was largely a function of inherent pedogenic characteristics but tillage affected physical quality adversely. Elevated levels of certain nutrients may be warning signs to soil chemical degradation; however, tillage practice did not affect soil chemical quality. Soil disturbance and the use of herbicides to establish annual pastures has lowered soil biological quality. The SQIP was a more suitable tool than SMAF for assessing soil quality of high-input, dairy-pasture systems. SQIP could facilitate adaptive management by land managers, environmentalists, extension officers and policy makers to assess soil quality and enhance understanding of processes affecting soil quality. © CSIRO 2015.


Nkosi B.D.,ARC LBD Animal Production Institute | Meeske R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Groenewald I.B.,University of the Free State
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2010

Experiment was conducted to study the effect of whey and molasses addition on potato hash at ensiling on silage quality and nutrient digestibility in sheep. Potato hash silage was produced by mixing 800 g/kg potato hash with 200 g/kg hay, and ensiled in 210 l drums for 90 days. Higher (P<0.05) concentrations of lactic acid and reduced pH, ammonia-N and butyric acid occurred in the whey and molasses treated silages compared to the control. Furthermore, feed intake and nutrient digestibility ere improved (P<0.05) with whey and molasses addition compared to the control. It was concluded that feeding the potato hash silage without supplementation may lead to poor animal performance due to low dry matter content of the silage.


Swanepoel P.A.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Preez C.C.D.,University of the Free State | Snyman H.A.,University of the Free State
Soil and Tillage Research | Year: 2013

Dairy production from planted pastures is one of the main farming systems in the southern Cape region of South Africa. Large tracts of natural rangeland were converted to planted pastures for increased fodder production. To sustain these agro-ecosystems, the physical condition of soil needs to be protected. The objective of this study was to assess the impact that conversion of natural rangeland to planted pastures had on the physical condition of a sandy soil after 19 years. An irrigated minimum-till kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)-ryegrass (Lolium spp.) pasture soil was compared with a virgin fynbos soil. Physical indicators of soil quality were measured at 0-100. mm, 100-200. mm and 200-300. mm depth intervals. The planted pasture was highly productive, in comparison to the natural vegetation. Clay content was similar (P≤. 0.01) between sites within the 0-100. mm and 100-200. mm depths and comparison of indicators between sites and interpretation thereof should be unbiased for those depths. Penetration resistance and to a lesser extent also bulk density of the planted pasture soil showed that conversion of virgin soil to minimum-till pastures adversely affected soil physical resistance by increased compaction. Aggregate stability (water stable aggregate percentage) was higher (P≤. 0.05) in the 0-100. mm and 100-200. mm layers of virgin soil and the soil microstructure was adversely affected with a lower water stable aggregate percentage in planted pasture soil compared to that of the virgin soil. Infiltration rate did not differ between sites. In comparison to fynbos vegetation, planted pasture increased water holding capacity of the 0-100. mm layer by 5.0% (P≤. 0.01), but did not affect (P>. 0.01) water holding capacity in the 100-200. mm and 200-300. mm layers. Conversion of virgin soil to minimum-till kikuyu-ryegrass pasture degraded the dynamic physical condition of a podzolic soil over 19 years in terms of physical resistance and soil microstructure strength, but enhanced water holding capacity and maintained infiltration rate. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Swanepoel P.A.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Habig J.,Plant Protection Research Institute | Du Preez C.C.,University of the Free State | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Snyman H.A.,University of the Free State
Soil Research | Year: 2014

Conversion of natural rangeland to minimum-tillage kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) based pastures for dairy production in the southern Cape of South Africa, may be beneficial to soil biological quality. The objective was to evaluate whether 19 years of minimum-till kikuyu-ryegrass pasture had altered the distribution and quality of biological properties formerly developed under natural rangeland. An irrigated minimum-till kikuyu-ryegrass pasture soil was compared to virgin soil with natural rangeland. Soil organic matter, soil organic C, active C, microbial biomass C, total N and enzymatic activities (β-glucosidase, urease and alkaline phosphatase) behaved similarly by having higher values in the surface layers of the cultivated pasture soil than in virgin soil, decreased with depth until they become similar at the 200-300mm depth. Acid phosphatase activity was similar (P>0.05) between soils. Vertical distribution of potentially mineralizable N was similar (P>0.05) at 0-100mm soil depth, but higher (P≤0.01) in the cultivated pasture soil than in the virgin soil. The microbial indicated along with stratification ratios for different biological indicators that the cultivated pasture soil's ecosystem functionality improved. Soil microbial functional diversity and carbon source utilisation patterns of the cultivated pasture soil and virgin soil was influenced by plant species present and root exudate composition. The soil microbial diversity, as shown by the Shannon-Weaver and Enrichment Indices, was significantly altered between cultivated pasture and the virgin soil, especially at different soil depths. A general appraisal of biological soil properties indicated that conversion of natural fynbos vegetation to irrigated minimum-till kikuyu-ryegrass pasture after 19 years of cultivation on a podzolic soil beneficial. © CSIRO 2014.


van der Colf J.,Outeniqua Research Farm | van der Colf J.,University of Pretoria | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Meeske R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Truter W.F.,University of Pretoria
African Journal of Range and Forage Science | Year: 2015

Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a highly productive pasture species that supports high stocking rates and milk production per hectare, but production per cow is low due to low nutritive value. The aim of this study was to determine the grazing capacity, milk production and milk composition of dairy cows grazing irrigated kikuyu over-sown with Italian (Lolium multiflorum var. italicum), Westerwolds (L. multiflorum var. westerwoldicum) or perennial ryegrass (L. perenne) during autumn. The grazing capacity of the kikuyu–ryegrass systems was lower during winter and autumn than during spring and summer, with the seasonal grazing capacity of the perennial ryegrass treatment more evenly distributed than that of the Italian and Westerwolds ryegrass treatments. The perennial ryegrass treatment had a lower butterfat and milk production per lactation than the Italian and Westerwolds ryegrass treatments, but had the highest milk solids and fat corrected milk production per hectare. The latter was a result of the higher annual grazing capacity achieved by the perennial ryegrass treatment. It was concluded that because kikuyu over-sown with perennial ryegrass supported a higher number of animals and had a more evenly distributed fodder-flow, it achieved higher animal production per hectare than kikuyu over-sown with annual ryegrass varieties. © 2015, Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.


Swanepoel P.A.,Outeniqua Research Farm | du Preez C.C.,University of the Free State | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Snyman H.A.,University of the Free State | Habig J.,Plant Protection Research Institute
Geoderma | Year: 2014

Development of a soil quality index for kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)-ryegrasss (Lolium spp.) pasture systems in the southern Cape of South Africa is important since there are certain warning signs that their sustainability is being threatened. A total of 142 pastures throughout the region were sampled and several soil physical, chemical and biological indicators were quantified. A minimum data set of the most sensitive indicators was chosen using principal component analyses. Linear scoring functions for these indicators were used to develop a soil quality index. The most sensitive indicators were: extractable P. >. gravel content. >. water holding capacity (WHC). >. exchangeable acidity (EA). >. soil organic matter (SOM). = penetration resistance (PR). >. exchangeable Mn. The soil quality index (SQI) was equated as: SQI. = 0.13 (PR). +. 0.16 (Gravel). +. 0.15 (WHC). +. 0.14 (EA). +. 0.17 (P). +. 0.12 (Mn). +. 0.13 (SOM). This soil quality index is appropriate for pasture systems in the southern Cape of South Africa, and may be useful for similar pasture systems in other areas. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Zulu L.B.,Outeniqua Research Farm | van der Colf J.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Swanepoel P.A.,Stellenbosch University
African Journal of Range and Forage Science | Year: 2015

Fodder flow planning is essential for dairy-pasture systems because its implementation allows fodder to be available throughout the year. Italian and Westerwolds ryegrass varieties (Lolium multiflorum var. italicum and westerwoldicum, respectively) are temperate annuals often planted in the southern Cape region of South Africa. The monthly production potential of these grasses could be manipulated by planting date. The aim of this study was to determine the pasture production potential of Italian and Westerwolds ryegrass planted at different planting dates. Four cultivars of each variety were evaluated by sowing each cultivar in a factorial arrangement in a randomised complete block design every 28 days for two years. Planting date influenced the production potential of both varieties. If the requirement of a fodder flow programme is to provide fodder from May until November, which includes the critical winter months, Italian ryegrass is a better option than Westerwolds ryegrass and should be planted during February or March. If the aim is to have high production in spring and early summer, Italian ryegrass should be planted during May or June. Regardless of the variety, annual ryegrass should not be planted later than June. © 2015, Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.


van der Colf J.,University of Pretoria | van der Colf J.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Botha P.R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Meeske R.,Outeniqua Research Farm | Truter W.F.,University of Pretoria
African Journal of Range and Forage Science | Year: 2015

The seasonal growth and low forage quality of kikuyu restrict milk production. The aim of this study was to determine the yield and nutritional value of irrigated kikuyu over-sown with perennial, Italian or Westerwolds ryegrass grazed by dairy cows. The three pasture systems reached optimum growth during different months and seasons. Lowest growth rates occurred during winter. Peak growth rates occurred during spring for the Italian ryegrass–kikuyu, summer for the Westerwolds ryegrass–kikuyu, and late spring and early summer for perennial ryegrass–kikuyu pasture. All three pasture systems had similar total annual dry matter yields (kilograms dry matter [DM] per hectare) during year 1, but the perennial ryegrass–kikuyu pasture achieved a higher annual DM yield during year 2. As kikuyu density increased in kikuyu–ryegrass pastures from winter to summer, the DM and neutral detergent fibre content increased, whereas the metabolisable energy content decreased. All three treatments were deficient in calcium during all seasons and in phosphorus during summer and autumn as a pasture for high-producing dairy cows. © 2015, Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.

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