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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Performance and Economic Returns of Beef Cows and Calves Grazing Grass-Legume Herbage1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 4, p. 581-584
    Received: Mar 19, 1979

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  1. D. C. Petritz,
  2. V. L. Lechtenberg and
  3. W. H. Smith2



A 3-year gazing study was conducted to evaluate tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), orchardgrass (Dactylic glomerata L.), and a mixture of tall fescue and clover (Trifolium sp.) as beef cow pasture. The purpose of the study was to determine the relative animal performance and economic returns from the three pasture swards when grazed by beef cows and their calves. The experiment was conducted at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center on a site consisting of Zanesville silt loam (Typic Fragiudalf). The grass pastures were fertilized with 112 kg!ha N each year. All pastures were grazed from late April until early October.

Calf gains averaged 0.80, 0.54, and 0.83 @/day on orchardgrass, tall fescue, and tall fescue-legume pastures, respectively. Cow gains averaged 0.26, 0.01, 0.26 kg/day and conception percentage averaged 90, 71, and 92 on the orchardgrass, tall fescue, and tall fescue-legume pastures, respectively.

Economic benefits were assessed by calculating the differences in receipts and production costs associated with the various pastures. Tall fescue-legume pastures produced $106/ha greater net returns than tall fescue pastures, and $8/ha greater net returns than orchardgrass pastures. Most of the difference in net returns was due to poor calf gains and poor conception percentages when the animals were grazing tall fescue pastures.

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