North Dakota State University * Dickinson Research Extension Center
1133 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601 Voice: (701) 483-2348 FAX: (701) 483-2005


NEW SPRING GRAZING TRIAL

The pastures in the new spring grazing trial were grazed for the second consecutive year in the 1965 season. There are eight 6-acre pastures in this trial. Two of these pastures are straight crested wheatgrass, two are crested wheatgrass-alfalfa mixtures, two are fertilized with 25 pounds nitrogen per acre, and two are fertilized with 50 pounds N per acre. Fertilizer applications are made in the spring. In the 1965 season the pastures were grazed by yearling steers from May 8 to July 16, a period of 70 days. Forage production, forage utilization, and animal weights and gains are given in tables 15, 16, and 17.

The excellent moisture conditions that prevailed in the 1965 season resulted in unusually good production on all pastures. Table 15 shows the actual production as measured by clipping from movable steel cages. The average yield on the straight crested wheatgrass pastures was 2432 pounds per acre, on the crested-alfalfa pastures 4581 pounds per acre, on the 25-pounds-N pastures 2925 pounds per acre, and on the 50-pounds-N pastures 4342 pounds per acre. All forage weights are oven-dry. The crested-alfalfa pastures actually outyielded the 50-pounds-N pastures by a slight margin. As would be expected, the crested-alfalfa and the two fertilized pastures substantially outyielded the straight crested wheatgrass pastures.

The heavy production on the pastures could not be properly utilized by the grazing steers, and the crested wheatgrass became mature and stemmy long before it would have if the necessary heavy utilization had been possible. The relatively poor utilization of the grass is shown by the data in table 16, and, of course, is reflected in the animal performance data given in table 17. The average daily gains on the pastures were very low after the middle of June, even though well over 1000 pounds of forage per acre was available on each pasture. The daily gains on the grass-alfalfa pastures held up well throughout the grazing period, probably because the alfalfa in the pastures did not mature as rapidly as the crested wheatgrass, and there was plenty of alfalfa in the mixtures to meet all forage needs of the grazing animals.

For the period of the trial utilization on the straight crested wheatgrass pastures averaged 52.5 percent, on the crested-alfalfa pastures 38.6 percent, on the 25-pound-N pastures 58.8 percent, and on the 50-pound-N pastures 60.5 percent. On most pastures more plant material remained at the termination of the trial than is produced in many years by crested wheatgrass stands in this area. The results of the trial serve to emphasize the difficulty of stocking crested wheatgrass pastures to obtain proper utilization of the heavy early growth that this grass makes. It does appear, however, as though the stocking rate should be further increased on all pastures.

The daily gains per head and the average gains per acre are fairly good, as shown in table 17, despite the relatively poor overall utilization of the forage crop produced on the trials. In previous crested wheatgrass pasture trials daily gains per head have averaged over 2 pounds, as contrasted to 1.73 on straight crested pastures, 2.05 on crested-alfalfa, 1.70 on 25-pound-N and 1.89 on 50-pound-N crested pastures. The results obtained in the 1965 season are thus generally not as good as the average of a previous long-time trial but substantially better than the results obtained in the 1964 season, as shown in table 18.

The results obtained in the 1964 and 1965 seasons clearly do not represent the grazing potential of any of the pastures. Unusual circumstances in each of the two seasons that this trial has been underway have prevented achieving maximum animal performance on the pastures.

Table 15. Forage Produced on New Spring Grazing Trial Pastures - 1965 Season.
Pasture No. Pasture Treatment Forage Produced - Lbs./Acre*
1st Period
5/8 - 6/6
2nd Period
6/7 - 6/28
3rd Period
6/29 - 7/16
Total For Season
3 Check 1094 1104 497 2695
5 Check 1256 640 273 2169
Average   1175 872 385 2432
2 With Alfalfa 1910 2372 514 4796
7 With Alfalfa 2104 1952 311 4367
Average   2007 2162 412 4581
1 25 Pounds N 1647 1075 41 2763
6 25 Pounds N 1674 1251 162 3087
Average   1660 1163 102 2925
4 50 Pounds N 2257 1719 205 4181
8 50 Pounds N 2060 1690 753 4503
Average   2158 1705 479 4342
*Oven-Dry Weight.

 

Table 16. Forage Utilized on New Spring Grazing Trial Pastures - 1965 Season.
Pasture No. Pasture Treatment Forage Utilized - Lbs. / Acre1
1st Period
5/8 - 6/6
2nd Period
6/7 - 6/28
3rd Period
6/29 - 7/16
Total For Season
3 Check 302 478 630 1410
5 Check 480 316 350 1146
Average   391 397 490 1278
2 With Alfalfa 861 960 223 2044
7 With Alfalfa 701 795 ---2 1496
Average   781 877 112 1770
1 25 Pounds N 699 722 163 1584
6 25 Pounds N 782 570 502 1854
Average   740 646 333 1719
4 50 Pounds N 830 956 280 2066
8 50 Pounds N 916 967 1304 3187
Average   873 961 792 2626
1Oven-Dry Weight

2Cage clippings indicate no utilization.

 

Table 17. Performance of Yearling Steers on New Spring Grazing Pastures During Period of May 8 - July 16, 1965. (Weights and Gains in Pounds)
Pasture No. Pasture Treatments No. Of Steers Acres Per Pasture Days On Pasture Average Initial Wt. Per Steer Average Final Wt. Per Steer Average Seasonal Gain Per Head Average Daily Gain Per Head Gain Per Acre
3 Check 5 6 70 483.0 592.0 109.6 1.56 90.8
5 Check 5 6 70 494.0 627.0 133.0 1.90 110.8
Average   5 6 70 488.5 609.5 121.0 1.73 100.8
2 Crested-Alfalfa 6 6 70 493.3 625.0 131.7 1.88 131.7
7 Crested-Alfalfa 6 6 70 494.2 649.2 155.0 2.21 155.0
Average   6 6 70 493.7 637.1 143.4 2.05 143.4
1 25 Pounds N 8 6 70 493.8 616.3 122.5 1.75 163.3
6 25 Pounds N 8 6 70 493.8 608.8 115.0 1.64 153.3
Average   8 6 70 493.8 612.5 118.7 1.70 158.3
4 50 Pounds N 9 6 70 493.9 633.6 139.7 2.00 209.6
8 50 Pounds N 9 6 70 493.3 617.8 124.5 1.78 186.8
Average   9 6 70 493.6 625.7 132.1 1.89 198.2

 

Table 18. Two-Year Summary of Forage Production, Forage Utilization, Seasonal Gains Per Head, Daily Gains Per Head, and Gains Per Acre on Spring Grazing Trial Pastures - 1964 - 1965.
Pastures Year Forage Production Lbs./Acre % Forage Utilization Average Seasonal Gain- Lbs. Per Hd. Average Daily Gain- Lbs. Per Hd. Gain Per Acre-Lbs.
Crested Wheatgrass 1964 8751 54.51 75.0 1.52 62.50
  1965 2432 52.5 121.0 1.73 100.8
  Average 1653 53.5 98.0 1.62 81.6
Crested-Alfalfa 1964 15391 70.81 82.5 1.68 82.5
  1965 4581 38.6 143.4 2.05 143.4
  Average 3060 54.7 112.9 1.86 112.9
Crested + 25 Lbs. N 1964 11791 76.81 49.1 1.00 65.4
  1965 2925 58.8 118.7 1.70 158.3
  Average 2052 67.8 83.9 1.35 111.8
Crested + 50 Lbs. N 1964 19931 86.21 44.8 0.91 67.1
  1965 4342 60.5 132.1 1.89 198.2
  Average 3167 73.3 88.4 1.40 132.6
1Forage Yield and utilization in 1964 season based only on period of actual trial. Later production not included.

Back to 1965 Research Reports Table of Contents
Back to Research Reports
Back to Dickinson Research Extension Center
(http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/dickinso/)
Email: drec@ndsuext.nodak.edu