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INTEGRATED ANNUAL-PERENNIAL FORAGE SYSTEMS FOR LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION IN SOUTHWESTERN NORTH DAKOTA

Jim Nelson
Lee Manske

SUMMARY

Based on results of this trial to date (two years), it appears producers can expect to get about 67 days of grazing using annual pastures with calf gains averaging from 23.5, 57.5 and 93.1 pounds per acre on Winter Rye, Siberian Millet or Oats and Peas. Oats and Peas appear to offer the most grazing to date.

Pearl Millet has yet to prove its merit due to its difficulty in stand establishment.

OBJECTIVE

This trial was designed to study and document the use of annual forage pastures as a supplement and/or a replacement for native range. The goal of this trial was to graze a mixture of oats and peas in June; Pearl Millet in July; Siberian Millet in August; Pearl Miller in September and Winter Rye in October.

METHODS

In 1993, the oat and pea pastures were grazed for 14 days in July. The Siberian Millet pastures were grazed from September 1 to the 15th, and again from October 8 to the 14th. The Pearl Millet did not develop adequately to graze and this fall seeded Winter Rye was severely injured by grasshoppers.

In 1994, the Winter Rye seeded in 1993 had overwintered and was ready to graze by June 16. There were two sets of replicated pastures so the cows grazed on Winter Rye - Rep. 1 from June 16 to June 30. On June 30, they were transferred to Rep. 2 and grazed there until July 13.

The cows and calves were weighed off the rye pastures and moved to the oat and pea pastures on July 13. They grazed on oats and peas from July 13 until August 8, a period of 26 days. Gains were good for both cows and calves.

Since the Pearl Millet failed to make adequate growth, it was decided to put the cows and calves on native range pastures until the Siberian Millet pastures were ready to graze.

On August 23, the herd was moved to fields of Siberian Millet, where they grazed until September 6, a period of 14 days.

There was no rye pasture available to graze on September 6, so the herd was moved to native pasture.

Due to the dry weather conditions, much of the Siberian Millet was pulled out of the ground and either stepped on or grazed, roots and all. The rye that was grazed in June and July was too mature and coarse to support adequate cow or calf gains. In fact, the cows lost considerable weight while grazing the rye pasture.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

Tables 1-4 summarize the cattle performance on annual pastures in 1994. Table 5 shows the estimated increase in calf value based upon actual calf gains and a sliding market value based on calf weight. Estimated increase in calf value varied from $95.84 to $124.00 per calf based on the figures used.

Table 6 summarizes the returns per acre based on calf value and gain for the three annual pastures grazed in 1994. The best gain and return per acre were obtained by grazing a mixture of oats and peas. The lowest return was gained on Winter Rye pastures grazed in June. The Siberian Millet pastures were intermediate.

Table 7 shows the two year results from 1993 and 1994 for oats and peas and for Siberian Millet pastures.

Cow gain shows an advantage for grazing oats and peas while average calf are almost identical for the two pasture types.

CONCLUSION:

So far, we have had difficulty in getting a good stand of Pearl Millet. It appears that for the best use of Winter Rye pastures they need to be grazed earlier than they were in 1994. Weather conditions in 1993 and 1994 have not been conducive for the annual pastures selected for this trial, being either to cold or to dry.

Table 1. Cattle performance grazing Winter Rye Pastures
Period Grazed Rep Initial Weight Final Weight Total Gain/hd Days Grazed Avg. Daily Gain
June 16-30  
COWS 1 1193 1105.7 -87.3 14 -6.24
  2 1205.1 1052 -153 14 -10.90
June 16-30  
CALVES 1 231.5 248.92 17.42 14 1.20
  2 260.9 271.67 10.76 14 0.77
June 30-July 13  
Cows 1 1105.7 1105.2 -0.53 13 -0.04
  2 1052 1045.2 -6.83 13 -0.57
Calves 1 248.92 281.75 32.83 13 2.53
  2 271.67 275 4.16 13 0.32
June 16-July13  
Cows 1 1193 1105.2 -87.8 27 -3.25
  2 1205 1045.2 -156.2 27 -5.78
  Avg 1197.2 1075.2 -122.0 27 -4.52
Calves 1 231.5 281.75 50.25 27 1.86
  2 260.9 275.83 14.92 27 0.55
  Avg 246.2 278.79 32.58 27 1.22

 

Table 2. Cattle performance grazing Oats and Peas
Period Grazed Rep Initial Weight Final Weight Total Gain/hd Days Grazed Avg. Daily Gain
July 13- Aug 8  
COWS 1 1105.2 1161.9 56.75 26 2.18
  2 1045.2 1123.5 78.33 26 3.01
Ave 1075.2 1142.71 67.54 26 2.60
CALVES 1 281.5 345.75 64.25 26 2.47
  2 275.8 340.42 64.58 26 2.48
Ave 278.7 343.08 64.41 26 2.48

 

Table 3. Cattle performance grazing Native Pasture
Period Grazed Rep Initial Weight Final Weight Total Gain/hd Days Grazed Avg. Daily Gain
Aug 8-Aug 23  
COWS 1 1161.92 1211.42 49.5 15 3.30
  2 1123.50 1168.3 44.8 15 2.99
Avg 1142.71 1189.90 47.20 15 3.15
CALVES 1 345.75 379.0 33.2 15 2.22
  2 340.42 380.0 39.6 15 2.64
Avg 343.08 379.5 36.4 15 2.43

 

Table 4. Cattle performance grazing Siberian Millet
Period Grazed Rep Initial Weight Final Weight Total Gain/hd Days Grazed Avg. Daily Gain
Aug 23-Sep 6  
COWS 1 1211.4 1224.17 12.7 14 0.91
  2 1168.3 1187.0 18.7 14 1.34
Ave 1189.9 1205.6 15.7 14 1.12
CALVES 1 379.0 418.9 39.9 14 2.85
  2 380.0 419.7 39.7 14 2.83
Ave 379.5 419.3 39.8 14 2.84

 

Table 5. Economics of Grazing Annual Pastures based on calf gains and calf value.
Pasture type Rep Initial wt Price per pound* Calf Value Final Weight Price per pound* Calf value
Winter Rye Pasture
June16-30 1 231.5 1.00 231.50 248.9 1.00 248.90
2 260.9 1.00 260.9 271.7 1.00 271.70
June 30-July 13 1 248.9 1.00 248.90 281.9 1.00 281.90
2 271.7 1.00 271.70 275.8 1.00 275.80
Oats and Peas Pasture
July 13- Aug 8 1 281.9 1.00 281.90 345.8 0.95 328.51
2 275.8 1.00 275.80 340.42 0.95 323.40
Native Pasture
Aug 8 - Aug 23 1 345.8 0.95 328.51 379.0 0.88 333.52
2 340.42 0.95 323.40 380.0 0.88 334.40
Siberian Millet
Aug 23- Sept 6 1 379.0 0.88 333.52 418.7 0.85 355.90
2 380.0 0.88 334.40 419.7 0.85 356.74
Total increase in Calf value 1   124.40
2 95.84
* Price per pound estimated for comparison only.

 

Table 6 - Gain per acre and expected dollar returns per acre based on calf performance.

  Winter Rye Pastures Oats and Peas Pasture Siberian Millet Pastures
Number of calves 24 24 24
Acres grazed 33.2 16.6 16.6
Weight gain per calf 32.58 64.4 39.8
Total gain per pasture 781.9 1545.8 955.2
Average gain per acre 23.55 93.1 57.5
Increase in calf value per pasture $783.60 $1130.52 $536.64
Average return per acre based on increased calf value $23.60 $68.10 $32.33

 

Table 7. Two year Cattle Performance Grazing Annual Seeded Pastures.

Pasture Type Year Gain Per Head Avg. Daily Gain Gain Per Acre
Oats and Peas Mixture  
Cows 1993 28.0 2.07 59.3
  1994 67.5 2.60 97.6
Avg. 47.8 2.33 78.4
Calves 1993 43.0 3.07 88.1
  1994 64.4 2.48 93.1
Avg. 53.7 2.78 90.6
Siberian Millet Pasture  
Cow data 1993 46.0 2.31 94.8
  1994 15.7 1.12 22.7
Avg. 30.8 1.72 58.8

Calves

1993 61.0 3.07 125.6
  1994 39.8 2.84 57.5
Avg. 50.4 2.96 91.6

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