Relationships of Forage Nutritive Value to Cool-Season Grass Canopy Characteristics
- Renata La Guardia Nave *a,
- R. Mark Sulca and
- David J. Barkera
In-field assessment of forage nutritive value could help producers manage forage harvesting or grazing based on potential feed value to ruminants. The objective of this research was to evaluate the relationship of forage nutritive value to canopy characteristics of mixed cool-season grass forage to identify potential indicators of forage nutritive value that can be assessed in real time. The research was conducted at Columbus, OH, from April to October 2009 and 2010 in a mixed cool-season grass forage stand. Growth periods were initiated in April, May, June, July, and August and allowed to continue unharvested for the remainder of the growing season, with weekly sampling for nutritive value and morphological composition. The proportions of dead material and lamina, age (days of growth), and herbage mass had the highest correlations with forage neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD) and were higher than the correlations of the canopy characteristics with neutral detergent fiber (NDF). A linear model was fit to predict NDFD (g kg−1) from herbage mass (kg dry matter [DM] ha−1), in which NDFD = (−0.05 × herbage mass) + 746 (root mean square error = 44.1, r2 = 0.81, P < 0.001). The relationship between herbage mass and NDFD was consistent over the growing season and across both years.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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