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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364325

Title: Dairy heifers grazing meadow fescue or orchardgrass

item HRIBAR, CHELSEA - University Of Wisconsin
item AKINS, MATTHEW - University Of Wisconsin
item Brink, Geoffrey
item Coblentz, Wayne
item Bleier, Jonathan
item Ogden, Robin

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2019
Publication Date: 5/11/2019
Citation: Hribar, C., Akins, M., Brink, G.E., Coblentz, W.K., Bleier, J.S., Ogden, R.K. 2019. Dairy heifers grazing meadow fescue or orchardgrass. Midwest Forage Focus. May 2019, p. 10.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Dairy heifers typically are managed in confinement and offered diets consisting of harvested and stored forages. However, there has been increased interest in rearing heifers using grazing management techniques, in part to control costs and utilize more perennial forages. A recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station compared the growth performance of 5 to 6-month-old Holstein dairy heifers grazing orchardgrass or meadow fescue forages during summer months between 2016 and 2018. Across the 3-year trial, average daily weight gains were similar between the two forages, but a numerical advantage of approximately 0.1 lbs/day was observed for meadow fescue (1.72 vs 1.63 lbs/day). Heifers were supplemented only with mineral, but not with concentrate feeds during the trial. Grazing is a viable option for rearing heifers, and allows for reduced time in confinement on concrete.