Submitted to: Society for Range Management Oklahoma Section Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: July 2, 2002
Publication Date: December 19, 2002
Citation: RAO, S.C., COLEMAN, S.W., MAYEUX JR, H.S. 2002. PIGEONPEA: NEW SOURCE OF FORAGE FOR THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS. SOCIETY FOR RANGE MANAGEMENT OKLAHOMA SECTION NEWSLETTER. Volume 11(1). p. 4-5. Technical Abstract: A universal goal of stocker calf production programs is to provide high quality grazing year-round to reduce the cost of harvested or purchased feed. The primary forage resource for livestock in the southern Great Plains is winter wheat from late fall through February or May, followed by warm-season perennial grasses. This grazing system leaves a void in available forage from late August until November. Pigeonpea is one of the major summer grain legumes of the tropics and subtropics. Because it has the potential to produce large quantities of high-quality forage, pigeonpea production and quality were evaluated as a summer forage grown during the fallow period in continuous wheat production. Three pigeonpea cultivars (ICP8151, long duration; ICPX910007, medium duration; and PBNA, dwarf height, long duration) were obtained from the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India. Pigeonpeas were planted in early June at the rate of 30 lb seed per acre in rows spaced 24 inches apart, and no irrigation was applied. Plots were fertilized with 60 lb of phosphorus but no nitrogen. Dry matter yields in October ranged from 9,470 lb/acre for the PBNA cultivar to 15,800 lb/acre for ICPX910007. Averaged over five harvest dates, from July through October, crude protein contents were 14 to 18% and dry matter digestibilities were 57 to 61%. PBNA protein content, leaf to stem ratio, and dry matter digestibility were higher than other cultivars. Digestibility of leaves and stems were similar in all cultivars. Pigeonpea provided abundant forage of a quality that approaches that of alfalfa and soybean. It appears to have potential for reducing supplemental feed costs.