Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2006
Publication Date: 3/10/2006
Citation: Looper, M.L., Flores, R., Aiken, G.E., Rosenkrans, Jr, C.F., Brauer, D.K. 2006. Comparison of forage availability and nutritive composition of bahiagrass and bermudagrass grazed by steers with or without steroid implants in west-central arkansas. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings. 15:92-96. Interpretive Summary: Bahiagrass is a warm-season perennial grown along the Gulf Coast but has had limited use in the upper south due to colder winter months. ARS scientists from Booneville, AR and Lexington, KY, and the University of Arkansas investigated forage availability, nutritive composition, and performance of steers grazing a more cold-tolerant bahiagrass variety, ‘Sand Mountain’. Forage availability of bahiagrass was lower than bermudagrass, crude protein was lower, and acid detergent fiber was higher in bahiagrass compared with bermudagrass. Average daily gain of steers was similar between forages. Results are important to livestock producers and extension personnel in making grazing management decisions that may include bahiagrass to meet nutrient requirements of grazing beef cattle.
Technical Abstract: Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is the predominate warm-season perennial grass used for cattle production in Arkansas and throughout a majority of the Southeastern U.S. Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum), also a warm-season perennial, is grown along the Gulf Coast but not utilized extensively in Arkansas because of colder winter temperatures. Objectives were to compare forage availability and nutritive composition of a more cold-tolerant bahiagrass variety, ‘Sand Mountain’ (n = 4 pastures) or ‘Common’ bermudagrass (n = 4 pastures) grown in west-central Arkansas, and to determine performance of cross-bred steers (n = 48) with or without steroid implants grazing bahiagrass and bermudagrass pastures for 97 d. Forage availability was evaluated every 2 wk, and forage samples were collected monthly to determine nutritive composition. Forage availability during the entire grazing experiment was lower (P < 0.001) for Sand Mountain bahiagrass (1043 lb DM/acre) than Common bermudagrass (2042 lb DM/acre), and forage availability declined (P < 0.001) for each forage during the experiment. A forage x date interaction affected (P < 0.05) acid detergent fiber (ADF) and crude protein (CP) and tended (P = 0.08) to influence neutral detergent fiber. Percentages of CP were lower and ADF was higher in bahiagrass compared with bermudagrass. Forage type, steroid implant, or the interaction did not influence (P > 0.10) average daily gain (mean = 1.8 lb/d per steer) during the grazing experiment. Sand Mountain bahiagrass may be suitable as a warm-season grass in northern portions of the Southeast; however, several years of data are needed to determine the persistence of Sand Mountain bahiagrass in west-central Arkansas.