Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2005
Publication Date: 2/7/2005
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A. 2005. Cattle performance and production when grazing rye and pearl millet cover crops in cropland. Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management, Fort Worth Texas, 5-11 February 2005.
Technical Abstract: Integration of crops and livestock could provide benefits to both crop and livestock production systems, as well as provide economic opportunities and environmental protection. We collected animal, crop, and soil data during the first two years of a multi year study to evaluate the impacts of tillage, cover crop management, and timing of grazing. Ungrazed cover crop biomass production tended to be greater under no tillage than under conventional tillage during most seasons and years, suggesting greater soil retention of water and nutrients under no tillage for subsequent utilization by plants. Cattle live weight gain averaged 256 lb/acre on rye in springtime and 374 lb/acre on pearl millet in summer. For both forages, average daily gain was 2.9 +/- 0.5 lb/day under conventional tillage and 3.4 +/- 0.7 lb/day under no tillage. Rotation of spring cereal with summer annual forage appears to be a viable crop and animal production system in the Southern Piedmont, especially under no tillage where the negative effects of animal trampling can be minimized by (1) protection of the soil surface with accumulated organic matter and (2) occurrence during a drier season of the year.