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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Steer Performance on AP-2 Phalaris and ‘Kentucky 31’ Tall Fescue Pasture1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 2, p. 375-377

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  1. C. S. Hoveland,
  2. R. L. Haaland,
  3. C. C. King Jr.,
  4. W. B. Anthony,
  5. J. A. McGuire,
  6. L. A. Smith,
  7. H. W. Grimes and
  8. J. L. Holliman2



Steer performance on tall fescue (Festuca arundinaca Schreb.) pasture without supplemental feeding has generally been poor. The new Auburn Univ. experimental phalaris (Phalaris aquatica L.) cultivar, ‘AP-2,’ appeared promising in preliminary clipping tests but no information was available on animal performance. The objective of this study was to determine steer performance on pastures of ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue and AP-2 phalaris. The two grass species were grown in west central Alabama on replicated 1.2 ha paddocks containing two calcareous soils, Sumter clay (Rendolic Eutrochrept, fine silty, carbonatic, thermic) and Houston clay (Typic Chromudert, very fine montmorillonitic, thermic). They were fertilized annually with 224 kg N/ha and grazed with yearling steers from 17 October to 26 December and 7 March to 19 June for 3 consecutive years. Tall fescue furnished 602 animal days/ha, produced 488 kg gain/ha, and an average daily gain (ADG) of 0.81 kg. Phalaris furnished 499 animal days/ha, 389 kg gain/ha, and ADG of 0.78 kg. Carrying capacity was higher on tall fescue than on phalaris, 3.53 and 3.15 steers/ha respectively. Steers had excellent appearance from the standpoint of hair coat and degree of finish at end of each grazing season. Dry matter digestibility of both grasses averaged 59% for the season. Calcium content of tall fescue herbage was higher than for phalaris, 0.72% and 0.58% respectively. The ADG of steers on both tall fescue and phalaris was similar to that on small grain pastures and much higher than usually obtained on tall fescue in other experiments. These results suggest that tall fescue has the potential for excellent animal performance which is not now being generally realized in the southeastern U.S. Phalaris furnished relatively high ADG but had a lower carrying capacity and was less persistent under grazing than tall fescue.

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