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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 51 No. 4, p. 1850-1864
    Received: Oct 5, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): joe_burns@ncsu.edu
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Tall Fescue Forage Mass and Canopy Characteristics on Steer Ingestive Behavior and Performance

  1. J. C. Burns *a,
  2. D. S. Fisherb and
  3. K. R. Pond *c
  1. a USDA-ARS and Department of Crop Science, 1119 Williams Hall, Box 7620, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27659
    b USDA-ARS, J.P.C.S National Resource Conservation Center, 1420 Experiment Station Road, Watkinsville, GA 30677
    c Chair, Dep. Animal and Food Sciences, Animal and Food Sciences Bldg, Room 103, MS 2141, Box 42141, Lubbock, TX 79409-2141. Cooperative investigation of the USDA-ARS and the North Carolina ARS, Raleigh, NC 27695-7642. The use of trade names does not imply endorsement by USDA-ARS or by the North Carolina Agric. Res. Serv. of the products named or criticism of similar ones not mentioned


Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is a well-adapted perennial pasture species utilized across the north–south transition zone of the United States. This 3-yr trial evaluated the influence of three forage masses (FM) on steer and pasture responses for spring (April to July) and fall (October) growths. Spring FM averaged 1450 kg ha−1 (Short), 3032 kg ha−1 (Medium), and 3812 kg ha−1 (Tall) for the three treatments. Canopy in vitro true organic matter disappearance (ITOD) decreased linearly from Short (797 g kg−1) to Tall (771 g kg−1). Steer daily gains (0.88 kg) and gains per hectare (392 kg ha−1 yr−1) were not altered by FM, but the mean number of steers per hectare decreased linearly from Short (8.2 steers ha−1) to Tall (6.1 steers ha−1) as did effective feed units per hectare (2256 to 1712 kg ha−1 yr−1). Canopies were predominately leaf (53%) and averaged 847 g kg−1 ITOD with estimates similar among FM treatments. Diet ITOD declined linearly from Short (870 g kg−1) to Tall (839 g kg−1) as did crude protein (CP) (from 235 to 192 g kg−1). In the fall, FM averaged 1556, 3228, and 3494 kg ha−1 for the three FM treatments. Canopy ITOD averaged 774 g kg−1 and was not altered by FM. Canopy leaves averaged 60% with an ITOD of 864 g kg−1 and were similar among FM treatments. Diets selected averaged 834 g kg−1 ITOD and 233 g kg−1 CP and were not altered by FM. Tall fescue pasture free of toxic endophyte needs to be effectively utilized to enhance production and can be managed flexibly in grazing systems.

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