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Production and Economics of Grazing Rye–Annual Ryegrass and Tall Fescue Systems


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 103 No. 2, p. 558-564
    Received: July 23, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): tjbutler@noble.org
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  1. M. Anowarul Islama,
  2. Jon T. Biermacherb,
  3. Sindy M. Interranteb,
  4. Ryan R. Reuterb,
  5. Andrew A. Hopkinsb,
  6. Billy J. Cookb,
  7. Joseph H. Boutonb and
  8. Twain J. Butler *b
  1. a Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071
    b The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK 73401


Use of cool-season perennial grasses may decrease annual establishment cost and improve returns to stocker cattle producers. The objective of this 5-yr field study was to compare the performance of two stocker cattle grazing forage systems: cool-season annual (rye [Secale cereale L.]–annual ryegrass [Lolium multiflorum Lam.]) vs. cool-season perennial tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort; formerly Festuca arundinacea Schreb., ‘Texoma’], with a nontoxic endophyte (MaxQ II). Paddocks of four replicates consisted of a cereal rye and annual ryegrass mixture that was planted annually in early September 2005 through 2009, whereas tall fescue was planted once in late September 2005. Steers (273 ± 55 kg initial body weight) were weighed every 28 d of each grazing season, and stocking rates were adjusted with put-and-take steers based on forage mass. In each 28-d grazing period, forage mass, forage nutritive value, and stocker average daily gain (ADG) and total gain (TG) were measured. Animals performed well in both systems with ADG of 1.05 and 0.93 kg d−1, and TG of 491 and 349 kg ha−1 for rye–annual ryegrass and tall fescue, respectively. The 5-yr average annual production cost was less for the tall fescue system ($336 ha−1) than for the rye–annual ryegrass system ($455 ha−1). The assumed amortization of the tall fescue was especially influential on net return; with a 5-yr amortization, net return was greater for the rye–annual ryegrass ($279 ha−1) than for the tall fescue ($217 ha−1) system, but with 12-yr amortization, the net return of these two systems was identical.

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Copyright © 2011. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2011 by the American Society of Agronomy