McCarty, M.1; Dr. Jimmy Henning2; Gene Olson3
1COUNTY EXTENSION AGENT FOR AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES/4-H, UK College of Agriculture Food and Enviroment, Frenchburg, KY, 40322
2UK Extension Professor and Reserach Specialist, UK College of Agriculture Food and Enviroment, Lexington, KY, 40546
3UK Ag Research Specialist Sr Coordinator for Forage Trials, UK College of Agriculture Food and Enviroment, Lexington, KY, 40546


Yak (Bos grunnien)s are native to the Tibetan Plateau and are a staple of the culture of Tibet, very valuable to Tibetan people still to this day. The climate in Tibet is much cooler than the climate of Kentucky, with significant precipitation differences. The landscapes of these two places vary in many other ways as well, including vegetation types. Zhi-ba Shing-ga Yak Farm in Menifee County, Kentucky has 80 yaks. By farm acreage, Zhi-ba Shing-ga Yak Farm is average. The livestock are fed primarily on grass pasture supplemented with hay in the winter. Menifee County is home to KY 31 fescue and native stands of fescue have been found to be highly infected with an endophyte making the grass toxic to livestock. The owner of Zhi-ba Shing-ga Yak Farm discovered, with the help of the County Agent and Forage Specialist, that Yaks do not consume the native KY 31. The fescue in the Yak pastures were found to be highly infected with the toxic endophyte of tall fescue. A grazing preference study was conducted on this farm to determine Yak preference among commonly grown and improved forages. The idea for this study originated from the County Agent. A plot study was established in the spring with nine variety of grasses replicated 4 times. Each plot was 8 feet by 20 feet. The following species were compared: orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, festulolium, and tall fescue (toxic, endophyte free and novel endophyte). The outside of the project was seeded with rye grass. Grades on each plot were taken with an average grade of C. Each study site was grazed twice during the 2018 summer. Summer results showed that the yaks preferred the Pay Day, Linn, and Rye grass. Results from collecting samples for endophyte sowed that they love to consume crabgrass. The results of the forage species study will help with future yak producer in the state of Kentucky by finishing their claves quicker and by reducing weed pressure.

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