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Using orchardgrass and endophyte-free fescue versus endophyte-infected fescue overseeded on bermudagrass for cow herds: II. Four-year summary of cow-calf performance

Coblentz, W. K.; Coffey, K. P.; Smith, T. F.; Hubbell, D. S., I.I.I.; Scarbrough, D. A.; Humphry, J. B.; McGinley, B. C.; Turner, J. E.; Jennings, J. A.; West, C. P.; Popp, M. P.; Hellwig, D. H.; Kreider, D. L.; Rosenkrans, C. L., J.

Crop Science 46(5): 1929-1938

2006


ISSN/ISBN: 0011-183X
DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2005.11-0443
Accession: 070588665

A 4-yr trial was initiated in January 2000 to evaluate cow-calf performance on mixed-species pasture systems consisting of (i) endophyte-infected tall fescue (E+; Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) diluted by approximately 50% with common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] and other forages; (ii) endophyte-free tall fescue (E-) overseeded into dormant common bermudagrass; and (iii) orchardgrass (OG; Dactylis glomerata L.) established under the same conditions as E-. The E- and OG pastures were grazed with either twice weekly (2W) or twice monthly (2M) rotation schedules, while pastures with E+ were grazed with 2M only. Actual weaning weights tended to be greater (P = 0.096), and age-adjusted 205-d weaning weights and average daily gain from birth to weaning were greater (P <= 0.035) for calves raised on low-toxicity (E- or OG) pastures compared to those raised on E+. Over 4 yr, calves raised on low-toxicity pastures exhibited 22- and 24-kg advantages in actual and 205-d adjusted weaning weights, respectively, compared to those raised on E+. Cows grazing OG and E- pastures exhibited greater (P <= 0.021) body weights and body condition scores (BCS) at calving than cows grazing E+ pastures. Furthermore, reductions in body weight and BCS between calving and weaning tended to be greater (P <= 0.088) for cows grazing E+ pastures. Calf performance was improved consistently by these low-toxicity pasture systems, but management requirements may limit adaptation by producers.

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