Intake of Dairy Heifers Fed Mixed Crownvetch-Tall Fescue Hays Harvested in May and July1
- J. C. Burns,
- R. D. Mochrie and
- W. A. Cope2
Dry matter yield per hectare has been increased, compured to a pure stand of crownvetch, by growing a cool season grass in mixture with crownvetch (Coronilla varia L,). The objective of this study was to determine if the presence of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) in several proportions relative to crownvetch would alter dry matter intake of Holstein heifers. Four hays were evaluated. Two were May-harvested hays and consisted of 87% crownvetch and 13% tall fescue (M-87) and 28% crownvetch and 72% tall fescue (M-28). The other two hays were harvested in July and consisted of 78% crownvetch and 22% tall fescue (J-78) and 80% crownvetch and 20% tall fescue (J-80). Although dry matter intake (kg/100 kg of body weight) differed significantly (P ≤0.05) among hays, no significant difference resulted from the predominance of tall fescue in the W-28 hay compared with the M-87 hay (2.68 vs. 2.59). Consumption of the M-87 hay was significantly higher than the mean of the J-78 and J-80 hays (2.59 vs. 2.32). Also, consumption of the M-28 hay was higher than the mean of the J-78 and J-80 hays (2.68 vs. 2.32). The differences in dry matter intake of the latter two comparisons were consistent with forage quality estimates. The practice of growing a cool season grass with crownvetch to enhance dry matter production was not detrimental to dry matter intake of May-harvested hay in this study. However, hay harvested in July was inferior to hay harvested in May even though the latter was predominantly crownvetch. Further consideration must be given to digestibility of such mixtures and their relationship to animal gain.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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