Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #209879

Title: Stockpiled Prairie Grass For Fall-Grazing Lambs

item Cassida, Kimberly
item Neel, James - Jim
item Belesky, David

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2007
Publication Date: 6/24/2007
Citation: Cassida, K.A., Neel, J.P., Belesky, D.P. 2007. Stockpiled Prairie Grass For Fall-Grazing Lambs. In: Alison, W. editor. Proceedings of American Forage and Grassland Council, June 24-26, 2007, State College, PA. 16:82-84.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: New varieties of prairiegrass (Bromus catharticus Vahl. = B. willdenowii Kunth.) exhibit improved persistence over 'Matua' under USA growing conditions, but animal performance data is lacking. Therefore, we evaluated performance of lambs grazing fall-stockpiled 'Dixon' prairiegrass on a West Virginia hill pasture. A three-year-old stand of Dixon was cut for hay on July 31, fertilized with 50 lb/acre of N, and stockpiled for eight weeks. Three pasture replicates of stockpiled forage were then grazed by ewe lambs under a put-and-take grazing system for a total of 24 d (Sept. 25 to Oct. 19). Pasture management treatments were target forage utilization rates of 50 (U50) or 75 (U75) % of total available forage. Forage dry matter (DM) availability (4241, 4469 lb/acre for U50 and U75 respectively), final lamb weight (92, 90 lb), gain per lamb (14, 13 lb), and average daily gain (0.58, 0.53 lb/day) did not differ between treatments. Stocking density (14.6, 22.8 lambs/acre), total animal grazing days (349, 547 d), and gain per acre (203, 293 lb/acre) were greater for U75 than for U50. Good forage yields and excellent lamb gains on stockpiled prairiegrass indicate this grass deserves serious consideration for inclusion in small ruminant production systems.