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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314263

Research Project: Optimizing the Biology of the Animal-Plant Interface for Improved Sustainability of Forage-Based Animal Enterprises

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Title: Forage yield and nutritive value of turf bermudagrasses managed to simulate a horse pasture management scheme in the U.S. Upper Transition Zone

Author
item Aiken, Glen
item WILLIAMS, DAVID - University Of Kentucky

Submitted to: Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2015
Publication Date: 10/23/2015
Citation: Aiken, G.E., Williams, D.W. 2015. Forage yield and nutritive value of turf bermudagrasses managed to simulate a horse pasture management scheme in the U.S. Upper Transition Zone. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. doi: 10.2134/cftm2015.0139.

Interpretive Summary: Seeded bermudagrasses have been developed with improved cold tolerance that have potential use for grazing in U.S. upper south region. Further, turf-types of these cold tolerant bermudagrasses could have potential use in horse pastures for reducing the effects of heavy trampling and close grazing. A three-year small plot experiment was conducted with monocultures of two turf-type bermudagrasses (‘Yukon’ and ‘Riviera’), one forage-type (‘Wrangler’), and four mixtures of the three (Wrangler x Yukon, Wrangler x Riviera, Yukon x Rivera, and Wrangler x Yukon x Riviera). Although forage yield was greater for Wrangler than for the two turf types, yields were similar between Wrangler monoculture and all mixtures between Wrangler and Yukon. Crude protein, in vitro dry matter digestibility, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber were similar between Wrangler and the two turf types, indicating the two turf-types produced forage of the same quality as the turf type. This research will benefit horse and cattle producers in the upper south that are interested in utilizing a warm-season perennial grass as an option to overcome the summer slump of cool-season perennial grasses.

Technical Abstract: Turf-type bermudagrasses [Cynodon dactylon (Pers.) L.] with improved cold tolerance could have potential use in horse pastures of the U.S. upper south for minimizing the damage to grass stands in these pastures from heavy trampling; however, the nutritive values of these bermudagrasses are not known. A small-plot experiment was conducted for three growing seasons with monocultures of two turf-type bermudagrasses (‘Yukon’ and ‘Riviera’), one forage-type (‘Wrangler’), and four mixtures of the three (Wrangler x Yukon, Wrangler x Riviera, Yukon x Rivera, and Wrangler x Yukon x Riviera) to evaluate and compare dry matter (DM) yield, crude protein (CP), in vitro true digestibility (IVTD), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Although DM yield, averaged across seasons, for Wrangler was 31 and 40% greater than Yukon and Riviera, yields were similar between Wrangler and Wrangler x Yukon mixture, and the three mixtures provided greater DM yields than either turf type alone. Crude protein, averaged over across seasons, was similar between the turf types, and both had greater CP than Wrangler and the mixtures. Across treatments, IVTD, NDF, and ADF were similar among bermudagrass treatments. Results of the experiment indicated that Yukon and Riviera bermudagrasses have acceptable nutritive value for horse pastures, but the Wrangler x Yukon mixture could serve as an option for heavier stocked horse pastures.