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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING THE BIOLOGY OF THE ANIMAL-PLANT INTERFACE FOR IMPROVED SUSTAINABILITY OF FORAGE-BASED ANIMAL ENTERPRISES

Location: Forage-Animal Production Research

Title: Performance and Physiology of Yearling Steers Grazing Toxic Tall Fescue as Influenced by Feeding Soybean Hulls and Steroidal Implants

Authors
item Carter, Jessica -
item AIKEN, GLEN

Submitted to: Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2009
Publication Date: November 1, 2009
Citation: Carter, J., Aiken, G.E. 2009. Performance and Physiology of Yearling Steers Grazing Toxic Tall Fescue as Influenced by Feeding Soybean Hulls and Steroidal Implants. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting.

Technical Abstract: An endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum) that infests tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) produces ergot alkaloids that adversely affect performance and physiology of cattle to inflict a malady collectively termed ‘fescue toxicosis’. A two-yr grazing experiment was conducted with yearling steers grazed on toxic ‘Kentucky-31’ fescue to determine if feeding soybean hulls (SBH) can be combined with steroidal implantation to increase weight gain and mitigate the effects of toxicosis. Sixty-four steers were grazed from 7 May to 5 July in 2008 and sixty steers were grazed from 29 April to 24 June in 2009. Steers were assigned to six, 3.0-ha toxic fescue pastures. Treatments were assigned using a split-plot design, with the main plot treatment being with or without SBH, and the split-plot treatment being with or without ear implantation with steroid hormones (200 mg progesterone-20 mg estradiol), which were assigned to two subgroups within each pasture. Pelleted SBH were group-fed to provide daily consumption of 2.3 kg steer-1 (as fed). Unshrunk bodyweights were measured at initiation and termination of grazing, jugular blood was collected at day 56 and on the final day of grazing for assaying serum prolactin, and hair coats were rated on the final day as being rough, transitional, or sleek. Average daily gain was highest (P < 0.05) with the combining of SBH and implantation (1.23 kg d-1), and was higher for SBH (0.95 kg d-1) than for implantation (0.81 kg d-1). Although prolactin concentrations were not affected (P > 0.10) by implantation, concentrations were greater (P < 0.001) with than without SBH. There was lower frequency of rough hair coat ratings with (44%) than without (61%) SBH. Results indicated that combining SBH with steroid implants can substantially increase weight gain of calves grazed on toxic fescue, and that SBH can reduce the severity of toxicosis.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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