chiques chicks

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Sunn hemp, anyone use it as forage?
My reading says it has about a 60 day cycle time, high protien in the leaves (~30%), and doesn't seed in most of the United States due to its lack of cold hardiness. It also is said to be good at adding nitrogen the soil when mowed. Higher is said to be 4-6 get which would be ideal for goats.

I found a local dealer with an overstock, therefore some pretty good prices ($59/50# and he runs a truck this direction, so I don't have to pick it up or pay to get it shipped!)

It's very late in the year to plant it here, but I'm going to try a small test patch as deer plot at the edge of my field. I ordered more than I need so I can try it in the spring. I'm thinking rotational plots for my few goats.
 

Blue Sky

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Keep us posted. I am trying to educate myself about improving pasture with out herbicides.
 

chiques chicks

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I'm also looking in to tillage radishes, also called groundhog radish, bull radish, etc. Supposed to loosen soil and add nitrogen if planted in the fall so they don't go to seed.
 

Alexz7272

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I have heard of it but it would never survive here in Colorado. I have a friend that has planted them with soybean and uses it as forage down in Tennessee for goats & cattle (I think).
 

chiques chicks

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I'm counting on the sixty day cycle time. I dont really want it seeding. Not sure of the moisture needs, guess I'll find out.

Currently I don't have 60 days until first frost, so I'll only put a few in next week, if we get any moisture. Currently the soil here is bone dry and nothing is germinating. unusual for this time of year, but our late summer thunderstorms have been lacking, and the last tropical storm went out to sea and we didn't get any of the rain we normally get from the back side of it. Of course, if they move a little west, we can get severe flooding.
 

greybeard

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Higher is said to be 4-6 get which would be ideal for goats.
I'm not at all sure what that means...


I would be very much afraid at my latitude, (30.3413° N) the plant would set some seeds and everything I've heard about Crotalaria juncea says the seeds are alkaloid.
Dried for cattle feed, the stalks of Crotalaria juncea contain 14.4% moisture, 1.1% ether extract, 11.3% albuminoids, 35.8% carbohydrate, 27.4% woody fibre, and 6.4% soluble mineral matter. The hay is mildly toxic, mainly to horses, but cattle can eat it safely when it does not form more than 10% of the total feed intake.
Seeds contain 8.6% moisture, 34.6% crude protein, 4.3% fat, 41.1% starch, 8.1% fibre, and 3.3% ash. Seeds are reported to contain trypsin inhibitors, and are said to be poisonous to cattle. Seeds oil contains 46.8% linoleic acid, 4.6% linolenic acid, and 28.3% oleic acid, and, by difference, 20.3% saturated acids. The seeds contain the toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids trichodesmine, juncein, senecionine and seneciphylline and 25.6% of the polysaccharide galactomannan.


The green plant is also used as forage crop to some extent but it will never be important because of (a) seeds and other parts of the plant contain poisonous substance, (b) coarse fibrous stalks are unpalatable and of questionable food value and (c) early cuttings ensure good forage but contribute to low yields. In fibre producing states, plant tops are sometimes removed and fed to cattle.
As regards' toxicity, it varies from strains to strains and varieties in use and difference in plant maturity at harvest. High alkaloid concentration is the greatest feeding danger which lies in the seeds. Hence whole plant could be harvested prior to seed maturation and can be fed with less or no harm to livestock.

http://assamagribusiness.nic.in/Sunnhemp.pdf
 

farmerjan

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Doesn't sound like anything we would want to get established in our pastures. It would be our luck to have it go to seed and then who knows. I think there are alot more plants more suitable and more manageable but it will be very interesting to see what you get and how it does. I just can't imagine being able to incorporate it into our programs. We have enough to be careful of the sorghum/sudan grass toxicity if it is drought stressed or too short when harvested.
 

chiques chicks

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As I am up around 40° north, self seeding is unlikely. I don't have, nor plan to have cattle, either. I'm not a production farm, but rather a backyard enthusiast with slightly over 5 acres. My plan is to plant small plots and allow the goats access at around 45 days before the plants become fibrous. There is other varied forage available as well.

With the proliferation of highly toxic indices like hemlock in my area, the limited toxicity of Sunn hemp at late stages of little worry. I have no current plans to attempt to harvest and dry it for storage.
 

Baymule

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Research this further. While YOU may not have cattle, do any of your neighbors? What if this does go to seed and spread to other's property, who might not want it? There has to be better forages for your area than this. Look on the list of invasive plants for your state. I study something to death before I plant it. I read how great yarrow is for sheep and I ordered some seed. Further research revealed that cattle don't like it and it can get out of control when it is not grazed. There is no way I would unleash something like that on my neighbors, whether I know them or not. The seed went in the trash.
 

greybeard

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