Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Bermudagrass is widely grown as a pasture forage in the southeastern U.S., but animal performance typically declines in the middle to late grazing season. An experiment was conducted with bermudagrass for two grazing seasons to determine the effect of increasing levels of supplemented ground corn (0, 1, 3, and 5 lbs./steer/day) on daily weight gains of yearling steers that were implanted with anabolic agents. An economic analysis was also done to determine the cost effectiveness of supplementation with corn for steers grazing bermudagrass. Average daily gain increased as corn supplementation increased from 0 to 3 lbs./day, but there was no improvement in ADG for the 5 lb. rate over the 3 lb. rate. Corn costs per lb. increase in ADG for the 1 and 3 lb. rates were below $.40 for a wide range of corn costs (70 to 220 dollars/ton). Small farmers can supplement stocker calves with ground corn at 1 to 3 lbs/day to cost-effectively boost weight gains on bermudagrass.
Technical Abstract: Animal performance from bermudagrass pastures generally declines in the middle to late grazing season. A two-year grazing experiment with bermudagrass evaluated the weight gain response of steers to increasing levels of supplemented ground corn (0, 1, 3, and 5 lbs./steer/day). There was a curvilinear increase in ADG as daily consumption of corn increased from 0 to 3 lbs./steer/day, but ADG was similar between the 3 and 5 lb. consumption rates. Furthermore, cost per incremental increase in ADG for the 1 lb. daily consumption rate was less than $.32 for corn costs less than 220 dollars per ton, and for the 3 lb. rate it less than $.40 for corn costs less than 190 dollars per ton. Results showed that supplementation with ground corn at rates of 1 to 3 lbs./head/day can cost-effectively enhance steer weight gains on bermudagrass.