The University of Arizona

Cattle preference for 4 wheatgrass taxa.

T.A. Jones, M.H. Ralphs, D.C. Nielson

Abstract


We compared the preference of cattle for 12 entries, 2 of crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fischer ex Link) Schultes], 5 of thickspike wheatgrass [Elymus lanceolatus (Scribner & J.G. Smith) Gould ssp. lanceolatus], 3 of Snake River wheatgrass (proposed name E. lanceolatus spp. wawawaiensis), and 2 of bluebunch wheatgrass [Pseudoroegneria spicata (Pursh) A. Love] in May 1989 and 1990 at Logan, Utah. Spaced plants were randomly arranged in 4 paddocks which were grazed once by 2 animals in late spring each year. Number of bites and number of visits were recorded for each entry in each paddock for the 2 animals individually. Cattle preferred Hycrest and Nordan crested wheatgrasses both years. Number of bites per plant for crested, thickspike, Snake River, and bluebunch wheatgrasses averaged 9.1, 4.3, 3.1, and 4.1, respectively, in 1989 and 6.7, 3.3, 3.5, and 3.6, respectively, in 1990. Number of visits was highly correlated with number of bites across entries. Grazing preference among entries was more highly correlated with biomass score and canopy height than basal area or maturity. Cattle preferred crested wheatgrass over the native wheatgrasses tested here during the spring grazing season.

Keywords


maturity;heading date;Elymus lanceolatus;Pseudoroegneria spicata;agronomic traits;Agropyron desertorum;palatability;cultivars;grazing behavior;Utah;grazing;beef cattle;feeding preferences

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