Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2002
Publication Date: 4/24/2002
Citation: Stuedemann, J.A., Franzluebbers, A.J., Seman, D.H. 2002. The salem road study: restoration of degraded land with pasture-experimental layout and animal responses. Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings. Interpretive Summary: .
Technical Abstract: The general goal of the following study was to identify sustainable cattle production systems that are highly productive, that minimize negative environmental impacts, and that improve soil quality in degraded landscapes. The experimental site was a 15-ha upland field near Farmington, GA that had previously been cropped for several decades prior to grassland establishment by sprigging of Coastal bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] in 1991. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with treatments in a split plot arrangement in each of three blocks, which were delineated by landscape feature (i.e., slight, moderate, and severe erosion classes). Main plots were pasture fertilization treatments (n = 3) and split plots were harvest methods (n = 4). Fertilizer treatments consisted of (a) inorganic only, (b) crimson clover cover crop plus supplemental inorganic fertilizer, and (c) broiler litter. This paper discusses only the two harvest methods that involved grazing, i.e., the high forage mass (low intensity grazing) and low forage mass (high intensity grazing) treatments. Yearling Angus steers (Bos taurus) were managed in a put-and-take grazing system with three Atester@ steers assigned to each paddock and Agrazer@ steers added or removed at 28-day intervals. Except on rare occasions, three tester steers grazed each of the paddocks. From 1994-1998, steers grazed the paddocks for a 140-day period from mid-May until early October each year. Steer average daily gain (ADG) during this five-year period was excellent, irrespective of treatment. Steers grazing the clover plus inorganic N treatment had higher (P<.05) ADG than cattle grazing either inorganic N or broiler littered pastures. The inorganic N treatment supported the highest (P<.05) number of steers per ha across the five-year period. Regardless of treatmet excellent steer ADG and gains per hectare were achieved.