The University of Arizona

Forage intake by beef steers grazing winter wheat with varied herbage allowances.

L.A. Redmon, F.T. III. McCollum, G.W. Horn, M.D. Cravey, S.A. Gunter, P.A. Beck, J.M. Mieres, R. Sa

Abstract


Two grazing trials were conducted in separate years on a 5.86 ha winter wheat (Triticum aestivum var. Chisholm) pasture divided into 10 experimental paddocks. Paddocks were differentially grazed with beef steers to produce an array of different herbage mass levels, expressed as kg dry matter (DM)/ha. Each experimental paddock was then continuously stocked with 3 beef steers during each 7-day forage intake trial. Daily forage intake, expressed as kg organic matter (OM)/100 kg body weight (BW), was estimated from fecal output (Cr2O3 dilution) of the beef steers and in vitro organic matter disappearance of esophageal masticate collected from each paddock. Estimated daily gain was calculated from forage intake and net energy values calculated from organic matter disappearance data. Forage intake, organic matter disappearance, and estimated daily gain were related to daily herbage allowance, expressed as kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1, and herbage mass utilizing a quadratic equation with a plateau function. As herbage allowance increased, organic matter disappearance improved (Y = 62.18 + 1.08 herbage allowance -.022 herbage allowance2; r2 = .64, MSE = 5.06) as did forage intake (Y = 1.3 + .12 herbage allowance -.003 herbage allowance2; r2 = .52, MSE = .07), and estimated daily gain (Y = -.059 + .12 herbage allowance -.003 herbage allowance2; r2 = 59, MSE = .07). Plateaus were achieved at herbage allowance between 20 to 24 kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1. Results of this study indicate forage intake and estimated daily gain declined severely as herbage allowance fell below 20 to 24 kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1. This data may provide a threshold herbage allowance for initiation of energy supplementation programs for growing cattle on wheat pasture.

Keywords


winter wheat;in vitro;liveweight gain;Oklahoma;steers;digestibility;grazing intensity;biomass;grazing;beef cattle;feed intake

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