Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2000
Publication Date: 12/1/2000
Citation: Phillips, W.A., Brown, M.A., Appeddu, L.A. 2000. Changes in body weight of stocker cattle during the adaptation period on winter wheat pastures. Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands. p. 375.
Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only.
Technical Abstract: Each year millions of stocker calves are transported from across the U.S. to the southern Great Plains to graze winter wheat forage. Wheat forage is a novel diet to which these stockers are not accustomed. Although the dry matter digestibility and protein content of wheat forage exceeds the requirements for good stocker performance, stockers appear to need a period dto adjust to a wheat forage diet. The impact of this adaptation period on stocker performance and the length of the adaptation period are not known. The objective of these experiments were to determine body weight (BW) changes that occur in stocker calves as they adjust to winter wheat pasture when introduced to it for the first time in the fall or in the spring. Crossbred spring born calves were blocked by sex, breed and weight. Within each block, calves were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Calves in one group were moved to winter wheat pastures, while the calves in the other group were left in dry lot without a change in diet. Overall, calves placed on wheat pasture lost weight initially and they gained weight at a slower rate than the calves in drylot during the first 14 to 21 days of grazing. From these data we conclude that calves placed on wheat pasture for the first time need 14 to 21 days to adapt to the unique components found in wheat forage.