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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 51 No. 4, p. 1840-1849
    Received: Oct 1, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): joe_burns@ncsu.edu
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Maturity and Regrowth Influences on Quality of Caucasian Bluestem Hay

  1. J.C. Burns *
  1. USDA-ARS and Dep. Crop Science and Dep. Animal Science, North Carolina State Univ. Raleigh, NC 27695. Cooperative investigation of the USDA-ARS and the North Carolina ARS, Raleigh, NC 27695-7643. The use of trade names does not imply endorsements by USDA-ARS or by the North Carolina ARS of the products named or criticism of similar ones not mentioned


Caucasian bluestem [CBS; Bothriochloa caucasica (Trin.) C.E. Hubbard ‘Caucasian’] appears adapted to the mid-Atlantic region. Three experiments, one with sheep and two with steers, were conducted to assess hay quality. In Experiment (Exp.) 1, initial growth was cut at early boot, anthesis, and postanthesis and regrowth cut at early boot and anthesis (five treatments) and evaluated by wether sheep. All treatments, except regrowth anthesis were also evaluated in a preliminary experiment with steers. In Exp. 2, regrowth was cut at the same three initial growth stages as in Exp. 1 and evaluated by steers. Sheep readily ate CBS hay, consuming 1.88 kg 100 kg−1 body weight (BW) when the hay was cut at early boot, with apparent dry matter digestion (DMD) of 647 g kg−1. Intake decreased linearly by postanthesis to 1.45 kg 100 kg−1 BW with DMD of 548 g kg−1. Steers also readily ate early-boot CBS hay, averaging 2.49 kg 100 kg−1 BW with DMD of 661 g kg−1. Intake decreased linearly by postanthesis to 1.48 kg 100 kg−1 BW with a DMD of 589 g kg−1. Sheep and steer intake was well correlated (r = 0.951; P = 0.05) as was DMD (r = 0.939; P = 0.06). In Exp. 2, steers readily consumed regrowth hay, averaging 2.73 kg 100 kg−1 BW for the early-boot cut with a DMD of 670 g kg−1. Intake declined linearly by postanthesis to 1.57 kg 100 kg−1 BW with a DMD of 517 g kg−1. Hays of CBS can provide desirable quality for animal production systems if it is cut by the early-boot stage in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

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