Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392884

Research Project: Strategies to Manage Feed Nutrients, Reduce Gas Emissions, and Promote Soil Health for Beef and Dairy Cattle Production Systems of the Southern Great Plains

Location: Livestock Nutrient Management Research

Title: Using annual forage crops to extend grazing: What are the benefits to production and livestock enterprise economics

item BECK, PAUL - Oklahoma State University
item Coblentz, Wayne
item JENNINGS, JOHN - University Of Arkansas
item Beck, Matthew - Matt

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/22/2022
Publication Date: 9/21/2022
Citation: Beck, P.A., Coblentz, W.K., Jennings, J.J., Beck, M.R. 2022. Using annual forage crops to extend grazing: What are the benefits to production and livestock enterprise economics [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science. 100:89.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Extending the grazing season, and thereby reducing reliance on harvested and stored forages, positively affects the economics of grazing livestock. In the Southern Great Plains and Southeastern regions of the U. S., grazing systems are dominated by warm season perennial grasses. The most famous example of using annual forages to extend the grazing season in the Southern Great Plains is the use of wheat (and other cool-season annuals) in crop fields as a forage resource during the winter and early spring in either dual purpose (grazing and grain production) or graze-out (grazing entire crop) uses. Even in foraging systems that utilize both warm-season perennials and cool-season annuals in the Southern Great Plains, a substantial forage shortfall occurs in late summer and early fall. In the Northern Great Plains, native and perennial introduced forage species are primarily cool-season species, but still have primary productivity during late spring and summer, with production shortfalls during early winter and spring. While in the Mid-West, predominantly cool-season perennial pastures have production shortfalls and reduced forage nutritive value in mid-summer, commonly known as ‘summer slump’. In any and all of these environments, annual forages can and have been used to fill gaps in forage production. Recent research has investigated using annual forages in novel ways to further extend grazing seasons. In the northern Midwest summer plantings of cool season annuals such as oats have been used to provide grazing resources during the fall and early winter. While in the southeast, late summer plantings of warm-season annuals have filled the fall forage gaps. Annual forages offer many advantages in designing systems to extend grazing seasons in all environments. Annual forages are generally higher in nutritive value than perennials and plantings can be timed to fill gaps in availability of the dominant perennial forages in the local environment.