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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Crop Economics, Production & Management

Pigeon Pea Potential for Summer Grazing in the Southern Great Plains


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 104 No. 1, p. 199-203
    Received: Aug 16, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): srinivas.rao@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Srinivas C. Rao *a and
  2. Brian K. Northupa
  1. a USDA-ARS, Grazinglands Research Lab., 7207 W. Cheyenne St., El Reno, OK 73036


Stocker cattle (Bos taurus) production in the southern Great Plains (SGP) faces a forage quality gap during July through September. A study was conducted in 2008 through 2010 to determine if pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] could fill this deficit period. Six 0.41-ha experimental paddocks were randomly assigned to two pigeon pea cultivars; Georgia-2 (GA-2) and Minnesota-8 (MN-8). The paddocks were sprayed with glyphosphate annually for pre-plant weed control, and received 26 kg ha−1 P before planting. Seeds were inoculated, planted (2-cm deep; 60-cm row spacing; 25 kg ha−1 seeding rate) in late May to early June, and fenced enclosures (9 m−2) were established to measure biomass accumulation and fractions, N concentrations, and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM). Crossbred stocker cattle assigned to paddocks were weighed at start of grazing, the time when cattle shifted to grazing pigeon pea (at flowering), and end of grazing periods. Average daily gains (ADG), and total gains ha−1 were developed to identify time of grazing season (pre- and postflowering of pigeon pea) responses. The only significant effects (P < 0.05) in animal responses were time of grazing season. An average of 140 kg ha−1 gain was recorded for 20(± 7)-day periods when pigeon pea was actively grazed, compared to 44 kg ha−1 for the 14(± 9)-d preflowering periods. Average daily gains were 0.1(± 0.2) and 1.0(± 1) kg in the pre- and postflower periods, respectively. Results indicate the need for early-maturing pigeon pea cultivars with higher leaf/stem ratio, to provide longer grazing season and higher stocking rates.

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