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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SEMIARID RANGELAND ECOSYSTEMS: THE CONSERVATION-PRODUCTION INTERFACE Title: Livestock Responses to Complementary Forages in Shortgrass Steppe

item Derner, Justin
item Hart, Richard -

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 25, 2009
Publication Date: February 22, 2010
Citation: Derner, J.D., Hart, R.H. 2010. Livestock Responses to Complementary Forages in Shortgrass Steppe. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts P A-52.

Technical Abstract: Forage gaps for livestock producers exist in the spring and fall in shortgrass steppe because of dominance by the perennial warm-season grass blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis). Livestock gains of yearling Hereford heifers were evaluated during 1996-1999 on two complementary forage grasses [‘Bozoisky-Select’ Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski) or ‘Hycrest’ crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. ssp. desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) A. Love] stocked at either light or moderate rates. Average daily gains (kg/hd/day) were similar between light and moderate stocking rates for both Bozoisky and Hycrest, and gains trended higher for Hycrest (0.83 to 1.13) than Bozoisky (0.84-0.94) at light stocking rates. Total annual (spring + fall) beef production (kg/ha) was consistently greater for moderate (29-46%) than light stocking for both complementary forages. Spring gains represented 75% or greater of the total annual beef production across forages for each stocking rate. Average daily gains on these complementary forages were similar to those on native prairie for the summer grazing season, but total annual beef production was two to four times greater with the complementary forages, suggesting that both Hycrest and Bozoisky can fill the forage gaps in shortgrass steppe and provide significant contributions to beef production.

Last Modified: 8/26/2016
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