Seasonal Patterns of Forage Quality of Weeping Lovegrass Cultivars1
- E. C. Holt and
- R. L. Dalrymple2
Weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees) is used for grazing in both the growing season and the dormant season, yet little information is available on seasonal patterns of forage digestibility, particularly in the dormant season. A study was conducted to determine the influence of N on dry matter digestibility of forage in the growing season and stockpiled forage in the dormant season. Four cultivars with known differences in forage palatibility were fertilized at three N levels and harvested at intervals during the growing and dormant seasons. In vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) was determined during a 3-year period. ‘Morpa’ and ‘Kenner,’ both selected for palability, tended to be higher in IVDDM than ‘Ermelo’ and ‘Common’ weeping lovegrass. The initial spring growth ranged from 60 to 67% IVDDM. Digestibility declined 10 to 20 units from April to August or September, increased in August or September in some years, and then declined to lows of 28 to 48% in January and February. Kenner and Morpa showed more August–September recovery in IVDDM than Ermelo and Common. Neither the amount nor time of N fertilization had any influence on forage digestibility. Seasonal differences in digestibility were greater than cultivar differences. Forage digestibility in both midsummer and midwinter may reach low enough levels to limit animal performance if not supplemented.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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