Forage Utilization

Evaluation of Hay-Type and Grazing Tolerant Alfalfa Hybrids in Season-Long or Complementary Rotational Stocking Systems for Beef Cows

Authors
  • Mary L. Hermann (Iowa State University)
  • James R. Russell (Iowa State University)
  • Stephen K. Barnhart (Iowa State University)
  • Rod Berryman (Iowa State University)

Abstract

Pastures containing hay-type and grazing tolerant alfalfa hybrids were grazed in a season-long or complimentary rotational stocking system with Nfertilized smooth bromegrass. The pastures were stocked at a seasonal density of .8 cow-calf pairs per acre for 120 days. Pastures were intensively managed by daily strip-stocking with the assumptions that 50% of live forage was available and daily live dry matter consumption of each cow-calf pair was 3.5% of the cow’s body weight. First-cutting forage was harvested as hay from 40% of pasture acres to remove excess forage growth early in the grazing season. Forage was grazed from the remaining 60% of each pasture for the first 44 days of the experiment and then from the entire pasture thereafter. Live forage yields, estimated by monthly clippings, were greater in May and September on the season-long alfalfa pastures compared with the complementary pastures and on the alfalfa pastures compared with the N-fertilized smooth bromegrass pastures. The proportions of legumes in the live dry matter in pastures with grazing tolerant and hay-type alfalfas in the season-long grazing systems declined by 70% and 50%, respectively, in the 120 day trial. The proportions of legumes in the live dry matter in pastures with grazing tolerant and the hay-type alfalfas in the complementary grazing system declined 60% and 42%, respectively, in the 120 day trial. Cows grazing either alfalfa hybrid by either management system had greater weight gains during the breeding and grazing seasons and greater increases in body condition score prebreeding and during the breeding season than the cows that grazed N-fertilized smooth bromegrass for the entire season. Also, cows grazing either alfalfa in the season-long system had greater breeding season increases in body condition score than cows grazing alfalfa in the complementary system with N-fertilized smooth bromegrass. Daily gains and seasonal gains of calves from cows grazing the alfalfa pastures tended to be greater than those grazing N-fertilized smooth bromegrass. Within alfalfa treatments, calves of cows grazing alfalfa pastures in the season-long system tended to produce more pounds per acre than those of cows grazing alfalfa in the complementary systems.

Keywords: ASL R1639

How to Cite:

Hermann, M. L., Russell, J. R., Barnhart, S. K. & Berryman, R., (2000) “Evaluation of Hay-Type and Grazing Tolerant Alfalfa Hybrids in Season-Long or Complementary Rotational Stocking Systems for Beef Cows”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2000
Peer Reviewed