• Alaska's Dairy Industry: The Relationship Of History and Statistics

      Lewis, Carol E.; Pearson, Roger W. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 1988-03)
      The Alaska Crop and Livestock Reporting Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has provided an annual publication detailing the quantity and value of agricultural products in Alaska since 1960. Although the statistics are an excellent source of information, they do not provide a historical insight into events which might have effected rises and falls in product quantities and values. To quote: What statistics cannot always show us is why such trends have occurred (and) what factors have influenced their progress. These are a matter o f interpretation. (Weaver, Alaska Crop and Livestock Reporting Service 1987a). Indeed, one of the challenges of agricultural statistical interpretation is to reflect economic, political, and social events locally, nationally, and internationally.
    • Alternative Grain and Oilseed Crops for Interior Alaska

      Knight, C.W. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1994-02)
      Barley is the principal grain crop in Interior Alaska. Oats are second in importance but are often harvested for hay rather than grain. Due to the short growing season (83–100 frost-free days), options for alternative crops are limited and producers have little opportunity to rotate crops for weed and disease control or to switch crops as prices fluctuate. Wheat, triticale, buckwheat, canola, flax, sunflowers, meadowfoam, faba beans, and field peas have all been grown on a small scale in Alaska. However, little information is available on the climatic, nutrient, or cultural requirements, the probability of a successful harvest, the quality of the harvested product, or the potential markets for these crops. This study was initiated in 1993 to evaluate several niche crops for Interior Alaska.
    • CANOLA QUALITY IN ALASKA (2001 HARVEST)

      Geier, Hans (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2004-01)
      In 2001, approximately eight acres of canola (Brassica campestris/rapa) was planted on the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s Delta Field Research Site. Three Polish varieties were planted, mainly Reward and Colt, with a small amount of Horizon. Approximately ten 1500-pound bags of canola were harvested, totalling a yield of 15,000 pounds, nearly a ton per acre. In July of 2003 a small oil press was set up at the AFES Farm and about 25 gallons of oil was pressed. The oil yield was about 25–30% of the weight of the seed. The products, oil and meal, along with five samples of the canola seed were sent to SunWest Food Laboratory in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for analysis. This report contains quality data from tests of the canola seed, oil, and meal from the 2001 canola grown on the Delta farm.
    • Canola Quality in Alaska, 2004 and 2005 Harvests

      Geier, Hans (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2006-12)
      About one acre of Polish canola (Brassica rapa) was planted on the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES) Delta Junction research site in 2004 and 2005. Reward, a Polish canola variety, was planted. The Reward seeds were from a local grower who bought it in Alberta. Approximately four 100-pound bags of canola were harvested in 2004, totaling a yield of 400 pounds per acre. The 2005 canola crop on the AFES farm yielded about 850 pounds per acre. Oil press equipment was set up at the AFES farm in University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in June 2005, and seeds from the 2004 crop were pressed for oil. In previous years, the oil yield was about 25-30% of the seed weight. Shortly after harvest, two samples of oil (2004) and three samples of canola seeds (two from 2004, one from 2005) were sent to SunWest Food Laboratory in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan, Canada) for analysis. This report contains data on seed quality and oil test results from canola harvested in 2004 from AFES and from one cooperating grower in Delta. The 2005 canola was not pressed, but a seed sample from the UAF farm was sent to the SunWest Lab for analysis.
    • Chemical Control of Weeds in Potatoes in Southcentral and Interior Alaska

      Carling, Don E.; Conn, Jeff S. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990-05)
      Weeds cause serious problems for commercial potato growers in Southcentral and Interior Alaska. Reductions in potato yields of 20 to 70 percent due to weeds have been observed in previous studies (Carling, unpublished data). Competition by weeds generally is so intense that profitable yields cannot be produced unless weed growth is controlled. Mechanical methods alone, including cultivation and hilling, have not provided acceptable levels of control. For many years, commercial potato growers relied on the chemical herbicide Premerge® (dinoseb) to control weeds. Premerge killed weeds by contact and was very effective in controlling the most troublesome broad leaf weeds when applied just prior to emergence of the potato plants. In addition, Premerge left no chemical residues in the soil to damage vegetable or other crops grown in succeeding years. Unfortunately, several years ago Premerge was found to be a hazard to human health and now may not be used as an herbicide. Commercial growers have been trying other chemicals as they search for alternatives to Premerge. Several of these chemicals are promising but, unlike Premerge, all leave chemical residues in the soil that could be toxic to crops that potato growers plant in rotation. In 1988, a field study was initiated to evaluate the efficacy and carryover of several herbicides. Five chemicals including: Treflan® (trifluralin), Enide® (diphenamide), Eptam® (ETPC), Sencor® (metribuzin) and Lorox® (linuron) were evaluated at Fairbanks and Palmer. Eptam, Sencor and Lorox controlled weeds most effectively of the five and were selected for reevaluation in 1989. Summarized in this report are data on potato yields and weed control from the study in 1989. Information on phytotoxic residues associated with some of these chemicals will be presented in later publications.
    • Cultivar Trials on Field-Grown Tomatoes

      Matheke, Grant E.M.; Holloway, Patricia S.; Hanscom, Janice T. (Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2006-03)
      The purpose of this research was to evaluate new commercial cultivars and compare them against one of our standards in an attempt to expand the choices of outdoor-grown tomatoes for interior Alaska.
    • Effect of Different Herbicides on Various Legume Crops in Interior Alaska

      Sparrow, Stephen D.; Conn, Jeffrey S. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1992-09)
      One of the major problems in the production of successful forage/green manure legume crops in Alaska is weed control. Many species of legumes are slow to establish from seeds as their seedlings are relatively noncompetitive with weeds such as chickweed, common lambsquarters, and mustards. These weeds, if not controlled, can cause total failure of new legume crop stands. Many of the herbicides that are very effective in controlling the common Alaskan weeds in barley cannot be used in legume crops since they will also kill or severely damage legumes. Only a few herbicides are available for controlling broadleaf weeds in legumes. Of these, several are labeled for “established” plants only. Very little work has been done in Alaska on the effect of herbicides on legumes. The spectrum of weeds to be controlled is different from those in most temperate agricultural areas where these herbicides were developed and tested. Also, root systems of established plants in cold subarctic soils are closer to the surface than is normally true in temperate regions, thus they may be more susceptible to herbicide injury. Therefore, we decided to do a preliminary study to determine the effects of several different herbicides on selected legumes, some non-legume crops, and weeds at two sites in interior Alaska.
    • The Effect of Hilling on Yield and Quality of Potatoes

      Carling, Don E.; Walworth, James L. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990-06)
      Traditionally, commercially grown potatoes are hilled in the production cycle between emergence and closure of the canopy. Hilling is usually accomplished with disks, sweep shovels, or similar tools that lift soil from between rows and deposit it beside and on top of the row. Reasons for hilling may include: improved weed control, improved drainage, minimization of greening of tubers, and raising of soil temperatures. Proper management of each of these factors may result in an increase in quality and quantity of tuber yield. Negative aspects of hilling have also been noted. Saffigna et al. (1976) reported that water distribution was uneven under potato hills, resulting in uneven availability of water to plants and increased loss of fertilizer due to leaching. Hilling operations may also damage potato plants, and significant reductions in yield are known to result from hilling and other types of cultivation (Nelson and Giles, 1986). Many commercial growers wait until vines are 12 or more inches tall before hilling. This scheduling is preferred because at this time the danger of covering plants is minimal. However, the vines of larger plants may sustain greater damage from hilling than smaller plants. Also, the possibility of damaging roots and stolons increases as the plants increase in size, so there may be advantages to hilling when plants are younger and smaller. Four different treatments including variations in time of hilling and height of hill were compared with no-hilling on four varieties of potato in the 1988 and 1989 growing seasons. This report contains a preliminary summary of data collected from these studies.
    • The Effect of Nitrogen Fertilization Rates on Head Lettuce Yields: A Preliminary Report

      Carling, D.E.; Michaelson, G.J.; Ping, C.L. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 1987-06)
      Quantities of nitrogen (N) traditionally applied to lettuce fields by commercial growers range from lows of 80 to 120 lbs N/A (commonly 800 to 1200 lbs of 8-32-16 or 10-20-20) to rates as high as 250 lbs N/A. The higher rates are attained by supplementing the principal application of N-P-K with ammonium nitrate. Fertilization response research conducted elsewhere suggests that the higher rates are well beyond quantities of N required for maximum yields; however grower experience indicates that the additional N indeed does increase head size and yields, especially in late season plantings when cooler soil temperatures may reduce N uptake. Optimal rates of N to be applied can differ depending upon application rate during the previous year and carryover of N in the soil. Questions remain as to what soil N concentration is required for optimal yield under Alaskan conditions. The field experiment reported here was conducted to assess the effects of increasing rates of N fertilization on lettuce yields and soil N concentrations. Although preliminary, these data may be helpful to growers deciding N application rates.
    • Effect of Reed Canarygrass and Red Clover Mixtures on Forage Yield and Mineral Content in Southcentral Alaska

      Gavlak, Raymond G.; Hall, Beth A. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2002-06)
      Early perennial forage performance research was done in Alaska at a number of locations near the turn of the twentieth century, including Copper Center, Kenai, Sitka, and Rampart (Georgeson, 1899; Georgeson, 1901-1904). Resulting yields for native and introduced cool season perennial grasses were fairly positive, however, all sites were rain fed and some seedings were unsuccessful due to dry conditions. Timothy (Phleum pratense L.), smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and orchard grass (Dactyls glomerata L.) dominated the early test plantings.
    • The Effects of Banding and Broadcasting The Complete Nutrient Requirement for Barley

      Lewis, C.E.; Knight, C.W.; Pierson, B.J.; Cullum, R.F. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 1987-07)
      The fertilizer application method used for producing small grains in interior Alaska is not always a matter of choice but of necessity. Farmers must fertilize, till, and seed a large acreage in a short time to complete the seeding operation no later than the last week in May. In most years, this allows time for the crop to mature before being damaged by autumn frosts. A typical fertilizer application for barley is 380 pounds per acre dry, blended material consisting of 100 pounds urea as the primary nitrogen (N) source, 100 pounds monoammonium phosphate, 100 pounds ammonium sulfate, and 80 pounds potassium chloride. This combination provides an application ratio of 77-51-48-24 pounds per acre N, P20 5, K20 , and sulfur (S). This means a farmer planting 1000 acres of barley must handle 190 tons of fertilizer material. The most expedient method is to use a 10- to 20-ton capacity, trailer-type, broadcast spreader which minimizes refilling time. If fields are tilled after fertilization, the material is mixed into the soil; otherwise the fertilizer remains on the soil surface. There are several reasons to investigate other methods of fertilizer application even though this system has worked reasonably well. Most barley produced in interior Alaska is seeded on lands which have been cleared of native vegetation in the last ten years (Lewis and Thomas 1982). Soils are naturally infertile and are cool throughout the growing season (Siddoway et al. 1984), and most have been cropped for only three or four years. Delucchi (1983) reported higher yield response when phosphorus (P) was banded with the seed than when equal applications were broadcast. This is not atypical for P-deficient soils (Cooke 1982). Some farmers in Alaska’s interior have begun to band a starter or “ pop-up” fertilizer in the row with the seed at the time of planting. Monoammonium phosphate (11 pounds N and 51 pounds P20 5 per acre) is typically used. Starter fertilizers banded with the seed render nutrients readily available to the seedlings and may boost plant growth early in the season helping seedlings overcome stress due to cold soil temperatures at planting and during early growth (Veseth 1986, Paul 1987). Yields could potentially be increased and/or fertilizer requirements reduced. A general rule has been to band no more than 140 pounds per acre total fertilizer containing no more than 15 to 20 pounds N per acre with the seed (Loynachan et al. 1979). Particular caution is urged when urea is used as an N source (Cooke 1982, Robertson 1982). There is a possibility of seedling injury from excessive salts or the release of toxic quantities of ammonia near the seed. Several farmers in the interior of Alaska have banded the total nutrient requirement for barley with the seed using urea as the major N source. Good yield results have been reported for several years with no evidence of crop injury at rates of up to 450 pounds of total material per acre. Delucchi (1983) speculated that in wetter soils, typical of newly cleared lands, salts may tend to dissolve and diffuse away from the seed thereby lessening the potential for seedling damage. Banding the full nutrient requirement for barley with the seed may increase yields over those found when the equal amount is broadcast, thus increasing returns. Elimination of the broadcast operation will reduce costs slightly. Urea is available locally at a lesser cost than other N sources which must be shipped into the state and may be more cost effective than other formulations.
    • Effects of Potassium Source and Secondary Nutrients on Potato Yield and Quality in Southcentral Alaska.

      Walworth, James L.; Gavlak, Raymond G.; Muniz, June E. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1990-12)
      Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) are required for the growth and development of all higher plants. They are commonly referred to as secondary nutrients because they are less often limiting to plant growth than the primary nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), although secondary nutrients are as critical for crop growth and development as the primary nutrients. There is limited information available concerning secondary nutrient requirements of potatoes grown in southcentral Alaska. Laughlin (1966) conducted studies between 1961 and 1963 comparing potassium chloride (KCl) and potassium sulfate (K2SO4) as potassium sources for Green Mountain potatoes, and determined the effects of varying rates of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and K2SO4 on Kennebec potatoes. Since these studies were conducted without irrigation and at production levels about one-half those obtained by top producers in the Matanuska Valley today, it was considered appropriate to expand upon the previous work using current production practices. Potassium was supplied as KCl and K2 SO4 to explore the need for additional S under local potato production conditions and to determine the effects of the chloride (Cl) and sulfate (SO4) anions on production and quality of potato tubers. In addition, Mg and Ca were added to determine whether the background levels of these nutrients were adequate for optimum production.
    • Effects of Residual Soil Nitrogen and Applied Nitrogen on Yields of Head Lettuce

      Carling, D.E.; Michaelson, G.J.; Ping, C.L.; Walworth, J.L. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990-02)
      Field studies previously conducted in the Matanuska Valley have determined that head lettuce production can be optimized by applying approximately 100 lbs per acre of nitrogen (N) as a fertilizer supplement when residual soil N levels are low (Carling et al., 1987 and 1988). However, conditions in grower's fields often are such that significant quantities of residual N fertilizer may remain in the soil from one growing season to the next. Maximizing the utilization of residual N makes sense both economically as this N has substantial value as a plant nutrient, and ecologically as N may contribute to groundwater contamination if permitted to leach from the soil profile. A field study was conducted during the 1988 growing season to examine the effects of residual soil N in combination with various levels of spring-applied N fertilizer on head lettuce yields. Residual soil N is defined as N present in the soil and detected by a soil test prior to the application of fertilizer in the spring. This study had two primary objectives: to promote maximum utilization of N through accurate interpretation of soil test results and to evaluate interactions between residual and spring-applied N. The results of the first year of this study were reported by Michaelson etal. (1989). The experiment was repeated during the 1989 growing season and the results of that study are contained in this report.
    • Effects of Seeding Rate on Dry Matter Yield of Two Forage Rape Varieties

      Panciera, Michael T.; Gavlak, Raymond G. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1991-03)
      Husby and Krieg (1987) reported that average Alaskan forages were deficient in energy for beef cattle and protein levels were marginal for growing animals. Both the energy and protein of Alaskan forages are low for lactating dairy cows (Brundage and Herlugson, 1984). Energy and protein concentrates are imported to Alaska from elsewhere in the U.S. High transportation costs make these imported feedstuffs expensive for Alaskan livestock producers. Brassica crops, such as rape (Brassica riapus L.) and turnips (B. rapa L.) have been widely studied as forage crops because they have the potential to produce high yields of excellent quality forage. Jung et al. (1986) demonstrated this potential when they reported that Brassica spp. yielded 4-7 tons DM/A and the forage was highly digestible (80-90% in vitro dry matter digestibility). Crude protein was relatively low for turnip roots (8-12%), but top growth was high (up to 27%). Lambert et al. (1987) found that the quality of Brassica spp. was too high for optimum performance of growing lambs. They reported that it was necessary to include some coarse feed, such as grass hay, to increase the fiber content in the diets of these animals. The potential of Brassica crops has been investigated in Alaska (Mitchell and Krieg, 1985; Panciera et al., 1990). The yield and quality of these crops in Alaska were similar to the levels observed in the Lower 48 states. Basic agronomic information is needed in order to develop management recommendations for Brassicas in Alaska. Research is underway to define the nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer requirements (Panciera etal., 1990). This report summarizes the results of a two year study concerning the effects of seeding rates on dry matter yields of two Brassica hybrids.
    • Effects of Soil Fertility on Potato Plant Development in the Matanuska Valley

      Walworth, James L.; Gavlak, Raymond G.; Muniz, June E. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990-06)
      Nutrient uptake and physiological development in potato plants have been investigated in major potato growing regions, but comparable studies have not been conducted in high latitude areas such as the potato producing sections of southcentral Alaska. Knowledge of plant development and nutrient partitioning among various plant parts is important both in terms of general understanding of the growth habits of potatoes in a unique environment and for improved management of field production of this crop. Nutrient response data provide a basis for fertilizer application recommendations. A field study designed to define potato plant development under various fertility regimes was initiated in 1989. Potato plants were intensively sampled through the growing season to determine the effects of nutrient availability on growth processes, to measure growth rates of various plant parts, and to determine the fate of nutrients absorbed by the plant. The results of the effects of soil fertility on potato plant development are presented in this report. Nutrient uptake and partitioning data will be compiled in later publications when laboratory analyses are complete.
    • Evaluation of Forage Legume Potential at Fairbanks, Point Mackenzie, and Soldotna

      Panciera, Michael T.; Sparrow, Stephen D.; Gavlak, Raymond G.; Larson, Warren E. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990-06)
      Forage legumes have a high crude protein content and some residual nitrogen from these crops can be utilized by other species that follow legumes in crop rotations. Irwin (1945) compiled the results of early research covering a wide range of legumes, both annual and perennial, at several locations within Alaska, but neither the yields nor the persistence of these crops were comparable to native and introduced grasses. Recommended legumes included field peas and vetches in combination with cereal grains and either alsike or sweetclover in combination with bromegrass for silage (Sweetman et al., 1950). Perennial legume yields (0.5 to 1.9 tons per acre) were low when compared to perennial grasses at the Matanuska Research Farm in southcentral Alaska (Klebesadel, 1980,1983). These low yields were attributed to poor winterhardiness and consequent winterkill of most of the legumes. Formation of ice sheets, direct exposure to lethal temperatures (due to lack of snow cover), and desiccation reduce the ability of perennial legumes to survive winters in southcentral Alaska (Klebesadel, 1974). Yield potentials for perennial grasses may exceed 4.5 tons per acre (Mitchell, 1982), while forage legumes may produce from 0.5 to 2.4 tons per acre in research studies and demonstrations (Klebesadel, 1980; Mitchell, 1986). Husby and Krieg (1987) reported average crude protein contents for Alaska hays to be in the range of 8.3 to 11.8%. Changes in the production potential of Alaskan dairy cattle have effectively redefined the quality of forage that must be produced for the dairy industry. Current milk production potential for Alaska dairy cattle (14,800 lb/yr) requires high concentrations (>16%) of crude protein in the ration (Brown et al., 1989; NRC, 1988). On a dry matter yield basis legumes do not compare well with grasses, but high crude protein content and the cost of protein supplements in Alaska justify further research with both annual and perennial leguminous forage crops. Experiments were conducted to evaluate forage legumes for yield, quality, and persistence potential at three locations in Alaska. Preliminary results from these experiments are presented.
    • EVALUATION OF PLANT SPECIES AND GRASS SEED MIXES FOR MINED LAND REVEGETATION YEAR 2 (1990) RESULTS

      Helm, D.J. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1991-04)
      An important component of revegetation is the seed mix used for soil stabilization. Although some trials of single grass species have been performed in southcentral Alaska in the past, new grass varieties have become available. In addition, variations in composition of the seed mixes needed to be investigated for different objectives for post-mining land use. Study plots were established for the Wishbone Hill coal project to evaluate grass species and mixes to use for erosion control, suppression of undesirable species, and vegetation community diversification.
    • Evaluation of Plant Species and Grass Seed Mixes for Mined Land Revegetation Year 3 (1991) Results

      Helm, D.J. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1992-09)
      Careful selection of plant species in a seed mix is important for successful reclamation. The main purpose of grass seed mixes is to establish a living plant cover to stabilize soils at least in the short term. Grasses have a fibrous network of roots which is instrumental in stabilizing soils before outplanted woody species or local colonizers can establish additional roots. Sometimes the grass cover is the end product; other times grass cover is temporary until local species colonize and form a more diverse, natural community. Where moose browse is a desired goal, the grass cover should not compete with the woody plants. At other times, dense grass cover may be needed to suppress undesired native species, such as bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis). This same competitiveness may also suppress desired local species and reduce the diversity, thus being a negative factor. The grass species should be able to compete with each other to create a diverse mix. The pH and nutrient levels of soils may also limit the plant species that will grow well. Local species are plant species growing in the area, whether they are native or introduced (possibly by past disturbances in the area or the surrounding region). Native species are indigenous to Alaska but may not grow in the local area. The objectives of this study were to determine: 1. The grass cultivars that would grow on low pH soils (5.2) in the Wishbone Hill area. 2. A ratio of grass species within the seed mix that would improve the diversity of the resultant community. 3. A seeding rate that would allow establishment of local species and outplanted browse without jeopardizing the cover needed to stabilize the soils.
    • Fall Seeding: Will it Work in Interior Alaska?

      Masiak, Darleen; Sparrow, Stephen (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1990-12)
      Short growing seasons in interior Alaska, averaging 90 days in Fairbanks, are a major factor affecting crop production. In the past, volunteer germination of seed from previous years crops has been observed in the field. These volunteer plants tend to get a head start on spring seeded plants, indicating that the use of fall planting could have potential advantages. Spring planting is often delayed due to soil wetness following snow-melt. This problem could be avoided with fall seeding. Seedbed preparation causes rapid drying of the surface of silt loam soils, which are common in interior Alaska. This, combined with low rainfall during spring, often results in moisture levels which are too low for good germination and early growth of shallow planted seeds. Since the soil would not be disturbed in the spring, seeding in fall might allow crops to take advantage of moisture available from snow-melt. Also, fall seeding has the potential of reducing the workload during the short spring planting period.
    • Growth Performance of Holstein Dairy Calves Supplemented with a Probiotic

      Windschitl, Paul M.; Randall, Kirsten M.; Brainard, Donald J. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1991-04)
      Administration of antibiotics in both therapeutic and sub-therapeutic doses has been the standard practice for dealing with pathogenic bacteria problems in farm animals since the 1940s. Several types of antibiotics are currently used to promote weight gain and feed efficiency in domestic livestock. There is growing concern that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters may result in the development of resistant populations of pathogenic bacteria and, in turn, influence the therapeutic use of antibiotics. The indiscriminate and improper use of antibiotics in food-producing animals could result in the presence of residues in milk, meat, and other animal food products consumed by humans. One possible alternative to antibiotics is the use of probiotics. Probiotics can be defined as “live microbial feed supplements which beneficially affect the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance” (Fuller, 1989). Probiotics introduce beneficial microorganisms into the gut which act to maintain optimal conditions within the gastrointestinal tract and inhibit the growth of pathogenic or other undesirable bacteria.