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Performance by heifers grazing sod-seeded winter annuals seeded on different dates using two tillage intensities

Coffey, Kenneth P., Montgomery, Thomas Greg, Coblentz, Wayne, Francies, Paul Brewer, Whitworth, Whitney A., Bryant, Kelly Jay
Forage and grazinglands 2013
Angus, Cynodon dactylon, Gelbvieh, Lolium multiflorum, Triticum aestivum, animal growth, annuals, discing, forage grasses, grazing, hay, heifers, pastures, sowing date, weight gain, wheat
A total of 120 Gelbvieh x Angus crossbred heifers (5522.5 lb initial BW) grazed pastures of common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] overseeded with wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) for a 3-year study to compare the effect of seeding dates and tillage intensities on heifer growth performance. Half of the pastures were seeded in early September (Early) and half in mid-October (Late). Within seeding date, half of the pastures were disked once (1x) and half were disked twice (2x) before seeding. Grazing began when forage mass reached approximately 2000 lb/acre and continued through May 11, 2002 (year 1), April 25, 2003 (year 2), and May 10, 2004 (year 3). Forage mass was greater (P < 0.05) from Early than from Late seeded pastures for 2 of the first 3 months of grazing resulting in 17 d earlier grazing initiation (P < 0.05) and approximately 165 lb less (P < 0.05) hay fed per heifer. Total body weight gain, or gain while grazing winter annuals, did not differ (P ≥ 0.50) between seeding dates or tillage intensities. Therefore, producers with bermudagrass pastures may have considerable flexibility in their decisions as to when to seed annual forages and to what level they till their sod depending upon how soon they need available forage.