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pumpkins as cattle feed

Discussion in 'Feed, Forages and Pastures/Rangeland - Cattle' started by john in wa, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Nov 7, 2009
    john in wa

    john in wa Ridin' The Range

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    I see people selling pumpkins as cattle feed. has anyone tried this? i have looked it up and it seems pumpkins have a low feed value. I have also been told pumpkins work as a natural wormer. i can get about 2 tons for a little of nothing. but am worried i will end up with 2 tons of pumpkins needing a trip to the dump. I have used pumpkins for hogs but have never used them for cattle. what do you think.

    thanks

    According to FOOD VALUES OF PORTIONS COMMONLY USED, a 100 g (3.5 oz.)
    portion of pumpkin (a fruit, by the way) contains 26 calories, 6.5g
    carbohydrate (6.5%), 1.0g protein, 0.1g fat and 1.1g fiber. Compare with
    100g corn which has 358 calories andd 72.2g carbohydrate (72.2 %) and 8.9g
    protein.
  2. Nov 7, 2009
    ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Alpaca Master

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    What about trying one or two pumpkins and see what they do with it?
  3. Nov 7, 2009
    john in wa

    john in wa Ridin' The Range

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    maybe ill do that. what i am worried about is the food value. looks like it would be more of a filler than anything.
  4. Nov 7, 2009
    freemotion

    freemotion Self Sufficient Queen

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    I feed them to my goats and chickens because I can get them for free. They tend to look fine one day and liquify the next, and they have to be introduced slowly. But it is worth it, because fresh foods, when the pasture is frozen and hay is all that is available, have value that cannot be measured in food value charts. Fresh foods contain vitamins and enzymes that are not in dried foods.

    I probably wouldn't be willing to pay too much for them though, because of the just-mentioned challenges. I also just have a handful of animals, so I can play around with stuff like this more easily.

    My lactating doe gives a bit more milk with any fresh produce chopped into her feed bin, pumpkin included.

    Feeding root veggies like beets, mangels, and rutabagas increases successful twinning in sheep, if fed to the rams and ewes some weeks before breeding season. I am hoping pumpkins do the same, as the local groundhog population should be twinning just fine on all my rutabaga and mangel plants....:/
  5. Nov 7, 2009
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Loving the herd life

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    If you can get them next to nothing and you have storage capabilities, why not? So they seem to be fillers, they still have some pretty good nutrients and the seeds do have the natural antihelminic properties, so what could be the downside?

    My calf loves squash, pumpkins and winter gourds and will actually try to follow me in the house to get some!

    I would view them as supplemental feed and get them. Good vitamins from a natural feed source? Heck yeah!
  6. Apr 23, 2010
    oxdrover14

    oxdrover14 Ridin' The Range

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    we grow pumpkins on our farm and we feed all the leftovers to the cows they love them!
  7. Oct 18, 2010
    purecountrycow

    purecountrycow Exploring the pasture

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    How bout sunflower seed? Is there anything beneficial for cows eatting them?
  8. Oct 18, 2010
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Loving the herd life

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    Great source of selenium!
  9. Oct 20, 2010
    rainplace

    rainplace Just born

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    If you live in a selenium deficient region, do the sunflowers still have selenium? Conversely, if you live in a selenium rich region, could the sunflowers be toxic to grazing animals?
  10. Nov 2, 2011
    pasofinofarm

    pasofinofarm Just born

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    I know that this is an old topic but 'tis the season of the pumpkin again and there is some misinformation about feeding pumpkins including their food value. Here is a nice article that may be helpful to some of you as pumpkin patches everywhere are looking to get rid of tons of free food.

    Since as a new member I am not allowed to post links, here is the entire article.

    Feed Value of Alternative Crops for Beef Cattle
    Beef cattle feeding options may include field peas, dry edible beans, pumpkins, and sugarbeets.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Karla H. Jenkins, Extension Cow/Calf, Range Management Specialist


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Field Peas
    Dry Edible Beans
    Pumpkins
    Chicory
    Whole Sugarbeet Roots, Tops, and Beet Pulp
    Summary
    Several unique crops are grown in western Nebraska primarily for human consumption. However, weather conditions, markets, or other factors may cause them to be unsuitable for human consumption, thus making them economically viable as a feed source for livestock. Because beef production accounts for approximately 50 percent of western Nebraskas economy, the value of these crops for cattle feeding becomes important.

    This publication lists the dry matter, crude protein, in vitro dry matter disappearance (similar to Total Digestable Nutrients or TDN), neutral detergent fiber (hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin content), and acid detergent fiber (cellulose and lignin content) of several selected crops. This information could be used to determine how to include products from these crops in beef cattle rations should the opportunity arise. Crops selected for analysis included field peas, dry edible beans, pumpkins, chicory, whole beets, and beet pulp.

    Field Peas
    Field peas are becoming increasingly popular in western Nebraska as an alternative to fallow in dryland wheat production rotations. As a legume, peas add nitrogen to the soil, and their early maturity date (July-August) complements fall wheat planting. Field peas can be fed whole or processed with an optimum inclusion level of 20 percent dietary dry matter (DM). They are highly digestible, high in crude protein, and low in fiber (Table I). Research studies have indicated that field peas are palatable, result in no reduction in animal performance, and enhance carcass tenderness.

    Dry Edible Beans
    Nebraska is one of the nations leading states of dry edible bean production. Specifically, the North Platte River Valley is known for its consistently high quality bean production, and is responsible for over 85 percent of the Great Northern beans produced in the U.S. Not all beans produced are suitable for human consumption. Broken or discolored beans, as well as frost damaged, diseased, or high moisture beans are available for livestock consumption. Typically, cull beans are used as a binder and protein source in range supplements for grazing cattle. Previous research has shown cull beans can be fed without adversely affecting performance up to 2 percent of diet DM. The adverse effects associated with feeding cull beans is thought to be due to proteins called lectins that interfere with protein digestion and cause watery diarrhea.

    Research has indicated the heat required for pelleting is insufficient to denature these proteins. Previously reported crude protein values for beans have ranged from 22-24 percent (DM basis). In the analysis for this report they only ranged from 14.5-16 percent (Table I). Great Northern beans were lower in fiber than pinto beans or black beans while digestibility and crude protein were similar for all beans analyzed. Analysis also was conducted on whole bean plants after frost to determine the feeding value of the whole plant, were it to be harvested for hay. In the whole bean plant analysis, crude protein was much lower and fiber much higher (Table I), but the high percentage of raw beans still would warrant feeding with caution.

    Pumpkins
    Pumpkins are grown in western Nebraska for decorative purposes in the fall as well as for human consumption. Pumpkins with blemishes typically are discarded and many pumpkins are broken or damaged during harvest, making them unacceptable for market. Furthermore, after Oct. 31, the market for decorative pumpkins plummets and many pumpkins are just left in the fields. Some producers have grazed pumpkin fields in conjunction with cornstalk fields but little is known about the nutritive value of pumpkins for beef cattle. The analysis presented in Table I indicates DM digestibility and crude protein to be high (61-71 percent and 14.3 percent DM, respectively) and the fiber to be moderate (25-38 percent DM). Carving pumpkins tended to be lower in dry matter and acid detergent fiber, and have greater digestibility than pie pumpkins. The crude protein and neutral detergent fiber were similar for both types of pumpkins. These data suggest pumpkins are a good source of energy and adequate in protein for beef cattle.

    Chicory
    Chicory is grown primarily for its inulin content. Inulin is a fructose-based sweetener used as a flavoring for coffee or as a coffee substitute. Inulin also has been reported to improve intestinal health in humans. Additionally, the leaves can be added as greens in salads.

    Occasionally, chicory is available for livestock consumption. While chicory commonly is added to pet food diets, its use in livestock diets has been more limited. The ground chicory root has been included in growing diets as a replacement for silage at less than 30 percent (DM basis). Results were comparable to using beet pulp to replace silage but with lower intakes, probably due to the palatability of the chicory root. Average quality analysis for both roots and leaves of four varieties of chicory are presented in Table I. The chicory root is high in DM digestibility, but very low in crude protein and fiber. The leaves contain moderate DM digestibility, fiber, and adequate crude protein. Typically tops are destroyed and left in the field for organic matter at harvest and unavailable to feed to cattle. However, knowing the feed value of chicory tops is important because occasionally opportunities arise for grazing unharvested fields, so quality analysis of the tops would be meaningful. However, producers should be aware that there is a risk of cattle choking on small uprooted chicory roots.

    Whole Sugarbeet Roots, Tops, and Beet Pulp
    Nebraska is ranked sixth in U.S. sugarbeet production, and the industry makes a substantial contribution to the western Nebraska economy. At times, environmental conditions prevent harvesting the beets prior to the ground freezing. Questions arise concerning the feed value of grazing unharvested fields of sugarbeets. Beet pulp is a co-product of the sugar production industry, is readily available approximately five months out of the year, and can be stored for later use. It is consistently available whereas whole sugarbeets typically are not. Analyzed whole sugarbeet plants were similar in DM digestibility, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber compared to whole chicory (Table I). The neutral detergent fiber however, was higher in whole sugarbeets. Removal of the sugar increases crude protein and fiber content as compared to the whole root. Beet pulp has a high dry matter digestibility and moderate fiber content with a fairly low crude protein value (Table I). Therefore it is typically included in growing calf rations at less than 30 percent (DM basis). Additional research currently is being conducted on the use of beet pulp in gestating cow and feedlot finishing diets.

    Table I. Nutrient content of field peas, pumpkins, sugarbeets, beet pulp, dry beans, and chicory
    Itema DM IVDMD CP NDF ADF
    Field Peas 87.0 82.7 15.1 9.5 8.0
    Carving Pumpkin 11.9 71.4 14.3 36.8 25.6
    Pie Pumpkin 16.5 61.0 14.4 38.6 32.5
    Sugarbeet Pulp 26.1 76.1 6.6 45.4 27.4
    Whole Sugarbeet Root 23.8 86.8 3.3 15.4 6.7
    Whole Sugarbeet Leaves 36.7 65.2 10.9 50.8 24.0
    Black Beans 96.9 83.5 15.4 14.3 4.7
    Great Northern Beans 98.2 88.0 15.0 7.2 3.7
    Pinto Beans 98.3 84.6 14.5 12.0 5.9
    Total bean plant (black beans) after frost 90.4 66.3 9.0 38.6 32.4
    Chicory Roots 26.1 88.9 3.7 8.6 5.3
    Chicory Leaves 17.6 67.3 8.5 23.6 21.4
    aDM = dry matter; IVDMD = in vitro dry matter disappearance (values are similar to TDN (total digestible nutrients)); CP = crude protein; NDF = neutral detergent fiber; ADF = acid detergent fiber.




    Summary
    All crops analyzed in this study were highly digestible with low to moderate protein content and could be included in beef cattle diets if they were an economical feed source.


    This publication has been peer reviewed.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Visit the University of NebraskaLincoln Extension Publications Web site for more publications.
    Index: Beef
    Feeding and Nutrition
    Issued August 2010

    Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of NebraskaLincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture.

    University of NebraskaLincoln Extension educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of NebraskaLincoln and the United States Department of Agriculture.

    2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of NebraskaLincoln Extension. All rights reserved.

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