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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347094

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Short-term winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cover crop grazing influence on calf growth, grain yield, and soil properties

item NETTHISINGHE, ANNESLY - Western Kentucky University
item GALLOWAY, HUNTER - Western Kentucky University
item DEGRAVES, FRED - Western Kentucky University
item Sistani, Karamat

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/23/2017
Publication Date: 10/24/2017
Citation: Netthisinghe, A., Galloway, H., Degraves, F., Sistani, K.R. 2017. Short-term winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cover crop grazing influence on calf growth, grain yield, and soil properties. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Poster No. 1005.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Winter cover cropping has many agronomic benefits and can provide forages base for spring livestock grazing. Winter cover crop grazing has shown immediate economic benefits through increased animal production. Winter wheat pasture grazing is common in beef cow-calf production and stocker operations. Grazing on winter wheat cultivars until joint stage has benefits of increased grain yield as compared to non-grazed winter wheat production. The short-term grazing window of winter wheat crop allows agriculture producers to integrate livestock production with crop production systems. Here, we present preliminary data of a five-year research project looking on sustainability of short-term livestock integration with crop production. We compared animal weight gains and resulted in soil properties of a 3.6 ha winter wheat crop field grazed by eight steer/heifer calves for three weeks with a similar set of pre weaned steers/heifers grazed on a tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.)] winter pasture field similar in extent. Results showed that winter wheat forage quality was superior to grazed tall fescue in terms of DCP (29 3.4 vs. 12.6 0.9), ADF (27.2 1.7 vs. 42.9 1.7), NDF (36.6 1.7 vs. 64.6 1.4), and TDN (60.2 1.8 vs. 51.8 2.2). After three weeks, steers/heifers grazed on winter wheat cover crop reported 1212 g d-1 body weight gain as compared to 857 g d-1 on tall fescue pasture. The soil properties and wheat grain yield induced by short-term livestock grazing will be presented.