|Rhoden, Errol - GWC AGRIC EXP STATION|
|Smith, Ronald - GWC AGRIC EXP STATION|
|Mcintyre, Michael - GWC AGRIC EXP STATION|
Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2002
Publication Date: October 3, 2002
Citation: Rhoden, E.G., Ritchie, J.C., Smith, R.J., Krizek, D.T., McInyre, M. 2002. Quality of stockpiled eastern gamagrass forage at two southeast locations. Abstracts of the 3rd Eastern Native Grass Symposium, Chapel Hill, NC, p. 39. Technical Abstract: Adequate forage quantity and quality, especially during the cool-season, are limiting factors to cattle production in the southeastern United States. Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides L.) is being considered as a forage with potential to overcome some of these concerns. A two-year study to determine the quality of stockpiled eastern gamagrass forage was conducted at Beltsville, MD and Tuskegee, AL in 1999-2000. Eleven clippings, based on dormancy period, were taken at Beltsville, MD (11/19-4/29) and eight were collected at Tuskegee, AL (11/29-2/29). Eastern gamagrass plots at Tuskegee were fertilized with 25-25-25 kg/ha N-P-K and were unfertilized in Beltsville. Acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and crude protein (CP) content, as well as, concentrations of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and iron (Fe) were evaluated as quality factors. Acid detergent fiber content increased and NDF and CP decreased with the length of time eastern gamagrass was stockpiled. Calcium levels were highest for November/December and then declined at both locations (6.14 vs. 8.15 g/kg for Beltsville, and Tuskegee, respectively) as stockpiling period progressed. Iron levels in the stockpiled forage were highest at Beltsville in April (42.4 mg/kg) and in February for Tuskegee (45.9 mg/kg). The data also show that P, K and Fe were below the NRC ranges recommended for lactating beef cattle and, therefore, would require supplementation if fed forage from either locations. Ca:P and K:(Ca + Mg) ratios were maintained through the stockpiled period and the levels were conducive for beef cattle production.