Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Experiment farm expands reindeer pasture

From left, Hans Fritz of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, George Aguiar (Reindeer Research Program) and Jacob Yule of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point work on fencing for new pastures at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm.
The reindeer at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm are getting more pasture to call home.

“This will allow for adequate sample size to do our research,” said George Aguiar, Reindeer Research Program research professional. “We’ve slowly been expanding our pasture so we can practice rotational grazing more effectively.”

This summer, Aguiar is leading a project that will add 10 acres of fenced pasture to the 17 acres already established. With the help of two students from Wisconsin, the expansion is proceeding on schedule.

The new area will feature a double paddock system with shared feeding areas. “It will make it more efficient and minimize stress,” Aguiar said. Also, the new acreage will allow the program to let fields lie fallow as needed, improving productivity in the long run.

Kentucky bluegrass will be planted next spring. After experimenting with several types of grasses, this one proved to contain higher protein. The grass is mowed and raked to keep it at optimal height.

“We’re doing everything we can to get our pastures in better health,” Aguiar said. In the past the area had been used as farm fields but it had reverted to natural vegetation in recent years. “This will help us use our range in the most efficient way possible.

“It’s going to be a good size to get sound scientific results,” Aguiar said. The farm is home to 80 reindeer. RRP researchers conduct nutrition and meat science studies on the animals.
The Fairbanks Experiment Farm is home to a research herd of 80 reindeer.

No comments: