Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2007
Publication Date: July 8, 2007
Citation: Soder, K.J., Sanderson, M.A. 2007. Effect of Morphological Traits on Intake Characteristics of Four Grass Species Found in Temperate Biodiverse Pasture Systems. Journal of Dairy Science 90 (Suppl. 1):495. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Four grass species (meadow fescue (MF), Festuca pratensis; orchard grass (ORG), Dactylis glomerata, L.; quack grass (QG), Agropyron repens; and reed canary grass (RCG), Phalaris arundinacea) were sown in micro-sward boxes (79 cm x 47 cm x 11.5 cm) to investigate intake characteristics of four grass species. Once established, micro-swards were defoliated at 21-d intervals before being offered to non-pregnant, non-lactating Holstein cows in short-term tests. Boxes were weighed (± 0.1 g) before and after each test during which cows were allowed to take approximately 50 bites. Bite mass, dry matter (DM) content, sward surface height (SSH), tiller length and density, and leaf width, length and area data were collected. Mean DM bite mass was greatest for QG and RCG. The SSH was greatest for RCG and lowest for MF. Tiller length was greatest for ORG. Tiller density was greatest for MF and QG. Leaf width was greatest for ORG and RCG. Leaf length was greatest for ORG and lowest for QG and RCG. Leaf area was greatest for ORG and RCG. The SSH was the best predictor of DM bite mass, which may lead to greater apparancy of that species, thus the grazing animal may consume more material from that species, potentially subjecting that species to greater grazing selection than others in the same sward. However, implications on long-term survival of that species would be dependent on residual and sward re-growth characteristics after repeated defoliation.