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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Morphological Traits on Intake Characteristics of Four Grass Species Found in Temperate Biodiverse Pasture Systems

item Soder, Kathy
item Sanderson, Matt

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 11, 2007
Publication Date: June 25, 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. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings. p. 30-33.

Interpretive Summary: Not applicable.

Technical Abstract: Four grass species (meadow fescue (MF), Festuca elatior; orchard grass (ORG), Dactylis glomerata, L.; quack grass (QG), Elytrigia repens; and reed canarygrass (RCG), Phalaris arundinacea) were sown in micro-sward boxes (31 in. x 19 in. x 5 in.) 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, DM content, sward surface height, tiller length and density, and leaf width, length and area data were collected. Mean DM bite mass was greatest for QG and RCG. Sward surface height 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. Sward surface height was the best predictor of DM bite mass, which may lead to greater apparancy of that species, thus grazing animals 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.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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