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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 2, p. 229-235
    Received: May 20, 1985

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Quality of Stockpiled Bigalta Limpograss Forage at Varying Fertility Levels1

  1. C. E. Davis,
  2. V. D. Jolley,
  3. G. D. Mooso,
  4. L. R. Robison and
  5. R. D. Horrocks2



Adequate quantity and quality of cool-season forage are limiting factors in cattle (Bos taurus) producing areas of the subtropics. ‘Bigalta’ limpograss {Hemarthria altissima (Poir.) Stapf et C.E. Hubb.] has been proposed as a forage with potential to help overcome both problems. A 2-yr study to determine the effect of increasing levels of fall-applied fertilizer on the quality of stockpiled Bigalta limpograss was conducted in central Florida. Eight fertilizer treatments were applied on 10 October each year: (1) 0-0-0, (ii) 34-4-13, (iii) 68-7-26, (iv) 100-11-40, (v) 135-15-54, (vi) 168-18-67, (vii) 200-22-80, and (viii) 400-45-160 kg ha−1 of N-P-K. Forage quality variables were measured in whole plant samples at monthly intervals from 5 December through S April, inclusive, and were compared to established National Research Council (NRC) requirements for beef cattle. Yield increases entering into the stockpile period (December) of 285 to 610% (relative to the control) resulted from rates of 68-7-26 kg ha−1 of N-P-K and higher, and these yield increases were maintained through April. Addition of greater than 68-7-26 kg ha−1 of N-P-K consistently increased in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) crude protein (CP), P, K, and Mn, whereas Zn concentration was decreased by fertilizer application. Acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and concentrations of Ca, Mg, Fe, and Cu were generally unaffected by fertilizer level. Crude protein, P, and K levels were raised into acceptable NRC ranges, while Zn dropped below the required range as a result of fertilization. Animals grazing stockpiled limpograss of this quality would require supplementation with Zn and Cu during the entire period, while supplementation with CP and P would be required only during February and April, respectively. Both Ca/P and K/(Ca+Mg) ratios were maintained at levels conducive to good beef cattle production throughout the stockpile period.

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