2002 Annual Report

Beef Section

Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue
Dickinson, ND 58601

Grazing potential of barley or oat forage for yearling
beef heifers in the Northern Great Plains

W.W. Poland, P.M. Carr and L.J. Tisor
Dickinson R/E Center
North Dakota State University

In difference to previous work, cattle performance when grazing barley or oat forage did not differ. Furthermore, forage production and quality were not affected by forage type. These data suggest that cattle can be grazed successfully on pastures annually seeded to small grain forage without regard to forage type during the summer in the Northern Great Plains.

Abstract

Barley (Hordeum vulgare) forage has been shown to be higher in quality compared to oat (Avena sativa) forage in many agronomic experiments. Conversely, oat often produces more biomass. An experiment was designed to compare the grazing potential of barley and oat forage for yearling beef heifers. Forages were evaluated on the basis of animal performance and forage production and quality. In 2000, six 1-ha paddocks were blocked into two groups (3 paddocks per group) based upon previous cropping history and randomly allotted within group to be seeded to either barley or oat. Twenty-four bred yearling beef heifers (418.2 2.69 kg; 6.8 .23 body condition score) were then stratified by weight and randomly assigned to paddock within weight stratum (4 heifers/paddock). Heifers were turned out to graze paddocks in early June (approximately 47 d post-seeding) and grazed for 28 d. There were no differences in final BW (P=.15) or condition score (P=.53), ADG (P=.87) or total gain (P=.87). Heifers gained .87 .07 kg/d and produced 95.9 7.6 kg/ha of BW gain over the grazing period. There were no differences in cereal (P=.48), weed (P=.46) or overall (P=.29) forage available for grazing between forage types. The percentage of cereal (P=.58) contribution to overall forage mass also did not differ between forage types. On average, there was 4338 154 kg/ha of forage available for grazing of which 78.2 2.5 % was cereal. Crude protein (P=.20), ADF (P=.85), NDF (P=.30), and TDN (P=.40) concentrations did not differ with forage type. Average concentrations were 139 6.4, 363 5.1, 579 8.6 and 556 3.8 g/kg for CP, ADF, NDF and TDN, respectively. In difference to previous work, cattle performance when grazing barley or oat forage did not differ. Furthermore, forage production and quality were not affected by forage type. These data suggest that cattle can be grazed successfully on pastures annually seeded to small grain forage without regard to forage type during the summer in the Northern Great Plains.

Introduction

Oat (Avena sativa L.) is the most popular, cool-season cereal forage grown in the Northern Great Plains. However, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) forage yield (Cherney and Martin, 1982; Chapko et al., 1991) and quality (Cherney and Martin, 1982) in sub-humid regions of the US has been shown to be superior to oat forage.

Barley forage yield has been inconsistent compared to oat in the more arid regions of the Northern Great Plains.Oat cultivars produced more forage yield than barley cultivars in some studies (Carr et al., 1998); while forage yield was not different between oat and barley cultivars in other studies (unpublished data, Carr et al., 1996). In a more comprehensive cultivar comparison (Carr et al., 2000, 2001) involving multiple oat and barley cultivars selected primarily for either grain or forage production, oat and forage-type cultivars produced more forage yield than barley or grain-type cultivars, respectively. In this same study, barley forage had higher crude protein (CP) concentrations than oat forage.

Anecdotal evidence (Poland et al., 1997, 1999) suggests that beef cattle grazing pastures seeded to barley have fewer grazing days, higher daily animal performance and similar overall animal gains when compared to pastures seeded to oat.

Objectives

To compare the grazing potential (animal performance and forage production and quality) of barley and oat forage for yearling beef heifers.

Materials and Methods

Conclusions

Animal performance (table 1):

Botanical composition (table 2):

Nutritional composition (table 3):

Discussion

Cereal type did not affect grazing animal performance or botanical or nutritional composition of available forage. These data contradict earlier observations where oat forage yielded more dry matter and grazing days and barley forage supported higher animal performance. In retrospect, specific cultivar selection may have inadvertently compared grain-type oat (Dumont) and forage-type barley (Haybet) cultivars. This selection may have minimized the expected differences in forage production and animal performance. The numerically higher CP concentration in barley forage suggests higher forage quality. However, similar animal performance suggests that some nutrient other than CP (e.g. energy or TDN) was first-limiting.

Implications

In difference to previous work, cattle performance when grazing barley or oat forage did not differ. Furthermore, forage production and quality were not affected by forage type. These data suggest that cattle can be grazed successfully on pastures annually seeded to small grain forage without regard to forage type during the summer in the Northern Great Plains.

References

Carr, P.M, G.B. Martin, J.S. Caton and W.W. Poland, 1998. Forage and nitrogen yield of barley-pea and oat-pea intercrops. Agron. J. 90:79-84.

Carr, P.M., W.W. Poland, and L.J. Tisor. 2001. Comparison of barley and oat cultivars for forage yield and quality. [CD-ROM computer file]. ASA, Madison, WI.

Carr, P.M. W.W. Poland, and L.J. Tisor. 2000. Barley versus oat: which makes the superior forage crop. 2001 Annual Report. Dickinson Research Extension Center. (http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/dickinso/research/2000/agron00b.htm).

Chapko, L.B., M.A. Brinkman, and K.A. Albrecht. 1991. Oat, oat-pea, barley, and barley-pea for forage yield, forage quality, and alfalfa establishment. J. Prod. Agric. 4:486-491.

Cherney, J.H., and G.C. Marten. 1982a. Small grain crop forage potential: I. Biological and chemical determinants of quality, and yield. Crop Sci. 22:227-231.

Poland, W., P. Carr and L. Manske. 1997. Grazing annual forages in the northern Great Plains. J. Anim. Sci. 75(Suppl. 1):204.

Poland, W.W., P.M. Carr and L.J. Tisor. 1999. Grazing annual forages - preliminary observations. 49th Annual Research Roundup. Dickinson Research Extension Center. (http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/dickinso/research/1998/range98n.htm).

 

Table 1. Effects of cereal type (Trt) on animal performance.

Trt Probability Level
Item Oat Barley SEM Rep Trt
Initial
Weight, kg
416.4
420.0
1.60
.26
.22
Body condition score
6.8
6.8
.14
.78
.78
Final
Weight, kg
440.9
443.9
1.08
.40
.15
Body condition score
6.6
6.4
.24
.53
.53
Total grazing days, d
28.0
28.0

--

--
--
Daily gain, kg/d
.88
.86
.068
.59
.87
Condition score change
-.14
-.45
.328
.56
.56
Total gain, kg/ha
96.7
94.8
7.62
.60
.87
a Rep and Trt refer to effects of replication and treatment (cereal type), respectively.


Table 2. Effects of cereal type (Trt) on dry matter yields and the percentage of cereal in total yield.

Day of Grazing Probability Levela
Item 0 14 28 SEM Rep Trt Error A Day Rep*Day Trt*Day
Cereal yield, kg/ha  
Oat 2910 4165 3176 176   .03 .48 .29 <.01 .28 .51
  Barley 2885 3764 3161  
Total 2897.x 3965.y 3168.x 122    
Weed yield, kg/ha  
Oat 1007 1129 881 171   .20 .46 .38 .36 .82 .99
  Barley 871 1008 740  
Total 940 1068 811 119    
Total yield, kg/ha  
Oat 3917 5295 4058 156   .15 .29 .13 <.01 .10 .46
  Barley 3756 4772 3902  
Total 3836.x 5034.y 3979.x 108    
Cereal yield, %Total  
Oat 74.3 78.4 77.4 3.6   .10 .58 .32 .59 .80 .92
  Barley 77.0 78.9 80.9  
Total 75.6 78.6 79.1 2.5    
a Rep, Trt and Day refer to effects of replication, treatment (cereal type) and day of grazing, respectively. Error A represents the interaction of Rep and Trt and was used as error term for testing main effects of Rep and Trt.

x,y Means within a row with differing superscripts differ (P<.05).


Table 3. Effects of cereal type (Trt) on nutritional composition of available forage.

Day of Grazing Probability Levela
Item 0 14 28 SEM Rep Trt Error A Day Rep*Day Trt*Day
Crude Protein (CP), %DM  
Oat 17.5 12.5 9.3 .49   .05 .20 .05 <.01 .05 .26
  Barley 19.5 12.9 11.3  
Total 18.5z 12.7y 10.3x .34    
Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), %DM  
Oat 29.5 38.8 40.4 .50   .02 .85 .11 <.01 .74 .06
  Barley 31.5 38.0 39.6  
Total 30.5x 38.4y 40.0z .35    
Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), %DM  
Oat 49.7 60.5 61.4 1.47   .02 .30 .46 <.01 .62 .68
  Barley 50.9 60.9 64.4  
Total 50.3x 60.7y 62.9y 1.01    
Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), %DM  
Oat 65.3 51.3 49.3 .77   <.01 .40 .58 <.01 .62 .29
  Barley 64.3 53.0 50.2  
Total 64.8z 52.2y 49.8x .53    
Relative Feed Value (RFV)  
Oat 125 90 87 2.8   .01 .33 .36 <.01 .13 .46
  Barley 118 91 84  
Total 122.y 91.x 86.x 1.9    
a Rep, Trt and Day refer to effects of replication, treatment (cereal type) and day of grazing, respectively. Error A represents the interaction of Rep and Trt and was used as error term for testing main effects of Rep and Trt.

 

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