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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #193997


item Phillips, William
item Northup, Brian
item Mayeux Jr, Herman

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2006
Publication Date: 12/11/2007
Citation: Phillips, W.A., Northup, B.K., Mayeux Jr, H.S. 2007. Management tools to increase the efficiency and productivity of winter wheat stocker enterprises. Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands. 498.

Interpretive Summary: ABSTRACT ONLY

Technical Abstract: Over 23 million acres of winter wheat are planted in the southern Great Plains each year, and serves as the major feed resource used by regional stocker cattle enterprises. To increase the efficiency and productivity of winter wheat-stocker enterprises, two constraints must be removed. First, length of the grazing season must be extended to increase the amount of BW gained/calf and secondly, the imbalance between dietary N and energy concentrations must be corrected to decrease wastage of wheat forage N. Studies were conducted to develop management options that would remove these constraints. In one study, nine (4.3 acre) pastures of Max-Q fescue were grazed at high stocking rates for short periods in the fall prior to grazing wheat pastures and in the spring after wheat pasture graze-out, to extend the stocker typical winter wheat grazing season. In the fall, plots were grazed for 40 d (Oct. 23 to Nov 27) at a stocking rate of 1130 lb of calf BW/acre. In the spring these plots were grazed for another 36 d (April 21 to May 26) at a stocking rate of 2312 lb BW/acre. One-third of the total annual forage production by fescue pasture occurred in the fall and 2/3 in the spring, resulting in more gain/acre in the spring than the fall (637 lb vs. 395 lb). Fescue can be used to fill both the fall and spring forage gaps, allowing stocker producers to start the grazing season earlier, to extend gazing into June, and to alter both the date calves are purchased and sold. In the second study, a combination of limit-grazing of wheat pasture and providing supplemental feed was used to more closely balance the N and energy consumed by stocker calves and reduce wastage of wheat forage N. Limit-grazed calves were alternated between 28-h periods of grazing wheat pasture and consuming a low protein-high energy feed in drylot. Average daily gains were not different between control and limit-fed groups, but limit grazing decreased the wastage of forage N and doubled the stocking rate. By applying these two management tools, the grazing season of stocker cattle on wheat is extended and wheat forage N is utilized more efficiently.