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Performance by Heifers Grazing Sod-Seeded Cool-Season Annuals Seeded on Different Dates Using Two Tillage Intensities

Kenneth P. Coffey, Thomas Greg Montgomery, Wayne Coblentz, Paul Brewer Francis, Whitney A. Whitworth, Kelly Jay Bryant
Forage and grazinglands 2013 v.11 no.1 pp. 0
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 × Angus crossbred heifers (552± 2.5 lb initial BW) grazed pastures of common bermudagrass [ (L.) Pers.] overseeded with wheat (aestivum L.) and annual ryegrass (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 (1×) and half were disked twice (2×) before seeding. Grazing began when forage mass reached approximately 2000 lb/acre and continued through 11 May 2002 (year 1), 25 April 2003 (year 2), and 10 May 2004 (year 3). Forage mass was greater from Early than from Late seeded pastures for 2 of the first 3 months of grazing resulting in 17-day earlier grazing initiation and approximately 165 lb less hay fed per heifer. Total body weight gain, or gain while grazing cool-season annuals did not differ between seeding dates or tillage intensities. Producers in the Mid South region with bermudagrass pastures may have considerable flexibility in their decisions as to when to seed annual forages and to what intensity they till their sod depending upon how soon they need available forage.