Managed forage grasses and legumes provide grazing, cover crops, conserved feed, and a wider range of services to the environment and society at large. Agro-ecological, genetic, and managerial considerations will be integrated toward addressing questions of ruminant and equine production and environmental management. Forage species will be distinguished morphologically and physiologically, focusing on adaptation to climatic, edaphic, and managerial constraints. Topics will include: sward lifespan, establishment and maintenance practices, forage quality indices, integration of harvest management for pastures and stored feed, and environmental implications for plant and animal biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and water quality.
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This course offers a systems approach to the study of grass and legume forages with a main focus on production and a contextual understanding of implications for soils, cropping systems and ruminant and equine livestock.
Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
Have knowledge of the most common perennial forage species used in Ontario.
Know the biology, characteristics, lifespan, and limitations for production of the principal forage species in Ontario.
Be able to identify the perennial forage species via seed and plant parts.
Have knowledge of the hazards of specific forage species in livestock production and methods to mitigate these problems.
Know and be able to describe the effects of various factors including seedbed, seeding rate, timing, and competition, on the establishment of forage species.
Understand factors affecting forage quality.
Be able to define forage quality and be aware of the primary laboratory assays used to estimate forage quality.
Have knowledge of crop management and environmental effects on forage quality.
Be able to describe the effects of forage species, mixture composition, stage of development, and stand age on forage quality and crop and livestock production.
Have knowledge of the effects of animal grazing preference and grazing stress on species composition, and the effects of forage species on animal production and performance.
Be aware of the various harvest and on-farm utilization systems of forage crops.
Be able to describe how forages can be integrated and their use optimized in annual cropping systems.
Understand nitrogen fixation of forage legumes and nitrogen transfer and use by companion grasses or subsequent crops.
Be able to describe how hay, silage, and haylage are preserved and techniques that can be used to enhance their quality, utilization, and economic use.
Be able to define management intensive grazing and the terms stocking rate, stocking density, period of stay, rest periods, recovery period, forage allowance and number of paddocks required for effective rotational grazing systems.
Have knowledge of current scientific advances that relate to forage crop production and utilization.
- Be familiar with the key current scientific literature related to advances in forage crop research and use.
Demonstrate the ability to investigate these advances further, to describe the scientific basis of these advances, and to assess the impact to existing production practices or new opportunities.
Be able to present ideas in written or oral formats about forage management and research that have the potential to improve on-farm forage use.
Be able to evaluate the contributions of other students with critical and appreciative comments.
Topics to be covered in lectures include:
- Introduction to managed grassland in Ontario, role of managed grassland in sustainable agriculture
- Structure and morphology of grasses and legume forages, forage legume species identification and characteristics
- Forage grass species identification and characteristics including establishment and persistence of forage crops
- Forage quality
- Pasture ecology and productivity, grazing management for ruminants
- Pasture management for horses, weeds including noxious species
- Other grazing operations, winter pasture management
- Fencing and watering systems
- Optimizing management for stored forages
- Reintegration of crop livestock systems including grazing cover crops
- Role of grazing management in regenerative agriculture including carbon sequestration
- Managed grasslands and biodiversity
Lab topics include:
- Library sessions on research and referencing
- Forage legume species ID
- Quiz on forage legume species, forage grass species
- Quiz on forage grass species, annual forages
- Forage Quality
- Group presentations
Course Assignments and Tests:
|Assignment or Test||Contribution to Final Grade|
|Plant species assignment||5%|
|Review Paper or Presentation||25%|
Plant species assignment (5%)
Lab Assignments (25%)
The labs will consist of practical activities helping to reinforce concepts learned in class. Students should read the lab outline before attending the virtual lab session. Two quizzes on forage legume and grass species identification will be held in lab period.
Midterm Assignment (12.5%)
Review Paper or Presentation on a Scientific Issue Relevant to Forages (25%)
Sharpe, Paul. 2019. Horse Pasture Management. Elsevier Inc. pp. 442. (Available Online through the University of Guelph library). Please contact the instructor if you would like to order one directly from the publisher.
Additional required readings of refereed papers or book chapters will be posted on CourseLink prior to each relevant class or lab.
(Available on reserve in the library):
Collins, M., Nelson, C.J., Moore, K.J. and Barnes, R.F.(Eds). 2017. Forages: An Introduction to Grasslands Agriculture. 432 pages. Wiley-Blackwell
Flack, S. 2016. The Art and Science of Grazing. Chelsea Green Publishing
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Publication 19. Pasture Production.
Government Documents Book Stacks (CA2ON AF5 P019).
Will be provided through CourseLink.
CourseLink will be used to relay information associated with the course including lab manuals, and copies of slides used in lecture presentation..
Course Technologies and Technical Support (Equipment)
System and Software Requirements
· CourseLink (main classroom)
· Teams (if needed for private meetings)
To help ensure you have the best learning experience possible, please review the list of system and software requirements.
CourseLink System Requirements
Monday thru Friday: 8:30 am–8:30 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm–6:00 pm
*Please ensure you have the latest version of Zoom by updating your Zoom client after January 1st 2020. Please use your @uoguelph.ca email address or you may not be able to access the lectures.
Teams (via Office 365)
- Manage files and folders on your computer (e.g., save, name, copy, backup, rename, delete, and check properties);
- Install software, security, and virus protection;
- Use office applications (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or similar) to create documents;
- Be comfortable uploading and downloading saved files;
- Communicate using email (e.g., create, receive, reply, print, send, download, and open attachments);
- Navigate the CourseLink learning environment and use the essential tools, such as Dropbox, Quizzes, Discussions, and Grades (the instructions for this are given in your course);
- Access, navigate, and search the Internet using a web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer); and
- Perform online research using various search engines (e.g., Google) and library databases.
Course Assignments and Tests grading policies are available on CourseLink.
Other Course Information:
CourseLink will be used to relay information associated with the course.
When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:
- For Graduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/graduate/2018-2019/genreg/sec_d0e2182.shtml
- For Undergraduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-ac.shtml
- For Diploma Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/diploma/current/c08/c08-ac.shtml
The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.
University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.
The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:
- For Graduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/graduate/2018-2019/genreg/sec_d0e2632.shtml
- For Undergraduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-amisconduct.shtml
- For Diploma Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/diploma/current/c08/c08-amisconduct.shtml
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Course Evaluation Information
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