Q. My life is getting busy and my New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier. How can I eat healthy when I’m always eating out?
A. ChooseMyPlate.gov is a great resource for tools and advice to help you successfully eat healthy with a busy life. Some tips they give: skip soda and choose water or other unsweetened drinks; pass on the buffet and instead order from the menu; split an entrée with a friend or take half of your dish home for later’ or don’t eat everything on your plate.
Q. Legume plants are said to be beneficial in garden rotations because they fix nitrogen. What does this mean?
A. Nitrogen persists in many forms in the soil and air. Not all forms of nitrogen are readily available for plants to uptake and use. Nitrogen fixation refers to the conversion of nitrogen from unusable (N2) to usable (NH3) forms for plants. Legumes contain beneficial bacteria (rhizobia) on nodules upon their roots that fix nitrogen. Legumes therefore leave nitrogen in the soil in usable forms after they are grown. If the rhizobia are not present, or if there is excessive nitrogen in the soil, this process does not occur.
Q. Is it possible to estimate how much a cow will eat in a day?
A. Yes. Typically, feed intake is expressed on a pounds of dry matter (DM) on a percentage of body weight (BW) basis. It is important to note that the amount of feed that a cow will eat varies by the quality of the feed. For example, a dry/pregnant cow might eat about 1.5 percent of her body weight of a low quality hay. The same cow might eat around 2.5 percent of body weight for a good quality silage. So if the cow weighs 1,250 pounds, she will eat about 18.8 pounds of dry matter. To convert to a pound of hay on an as-fed basis, assuming the hay is about 90 percent DM (10 percent moisture): 18.8 pounds of DM/0.90 (DM in hay) equals about 21 pounds of hay per day. For the silage, the same cow would eat about 31.3 pounds of DM. Assuming that the silage is about 35 percent DM, you can make the same calculation, but notice that they will consume much more weight on an as-fed basis because the high moisture content of the silage. For high moisture feeds, sometimes the amount the cow can eat in DM is limited by the amount of fill in the rumen so mixing a dry feed with the silage may be advisable.
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