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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Livestock Performance on Improved Cool-Season Forages

Authors
item Haferkamp, Marshall
item Heitschmidt, Rodney
item Grings, Elaine

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Pastures seeded to cool-season grasses may be used to reduce grazing pressure on native ranges. They may also provide high quality forage for livestock in selected seasons. Many cultivars have been seeded and evaluated for forage production and quality, and persistence. As a result, some are recommended for use in the Northern Great Plains. However, few have been evaluated for livestock performance before being released. Grazing trials are needed before release of cultivars for commercial use. Currently we are evaluating livestock production on twice replicated 7.4-acre pastures seeded to Rosana western wheatgrass, Luna pubescent wheatgrass, and Hycrest crested wheatgrass. Forages will be evaluated for productivity, quality, stand survival, and animal performance. Yearling cattle will graze the pastures from mid-April to mid-June. They will be weighed and standing crop clipped monthly. Diet samples will be obtained and analyzed for species composition and quality. Forage samples will be dried, weighed, and analyzed for quality. Environmental variables will be monitored on site. This work is in cooperation with the Forage & Range Research Laboratory in Logan, UT. Pastures were grazed with eight yearling steers from May 9 to June 12, 1997. The spring was relatively dry resulting in poor plant growth and reduced weight gains. Standing crops were 350 to 450 lb/acre of Luna, 425 to 650 lb/acre of Rosana, and 725 to 900 lb/acre of Hycrest. The steers gained only 0.3 lb/day. The Luna stands also died out on ridge tops probably due to lack of moisture the previous summer and fall. These studies will be repeated in 1998 and 1999. Additional species will be seeded in other locations on the station for future evaluation.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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