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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Grazing Management

Carrying Capacity, Utilization, and Weathering of Swathed Whole Plant Barley


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 3, p. 714-721
    Received: June 7, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): baronv@agr.gc.ca
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  1. V. S. Baron *a,
  2. A. C. Dicka,
  3. D. McCartneya,
  4. J. A. Basarabb and
  5. E. K. Okinec
  1. a Western Forage/Beef Group, Agric. and Agri-food Canada, Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
    b Western Forage/Beef Group, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
    c Dep. of Agriculture, Food, and Nutritional Sciences, Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2P5


Winter grazing of swathed whole-plant small grain crops can reduce costs for beef producers, but little is known about levels of carrying capacity, utilization and weathering losses of nutritive value and their year-to-year variability. The objective of the present study was to determine carrying capacity, utilization and weathering losses to nutritive value in relation to beef cow (Bos taurus) requirements during winter grazing of swathed whole-plant spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in a field-scale trial. Pregnant beef cows (685 kg wt.) limit-grazed swathed whole-plant barley (November–February, 1997–2001) at daily available forage levels approximating 2% of body weight at Lacombe, AB. Carrying capacity was affected by barley yield, utilization rate, and average daily dry matter consumption. Carrying capacities ranged from 481 to 879 cow-d ha−1, utilization from 75.5 to 92% and daily dry matter consumption rates ranged from 8.6 to 12.9 kg cow-d−1 Weathering losses of nutritive value, as indicated by the difference between that of the standing crop and the mean of grazing season swath, were slight compared to a much larger difference between grazing season swath and residue. Generally, the nutritive requirements for maintenance of beef cows (NRC, 1996) could be readily met by swathed barley.

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