Effects of fescue type and sampling date on the ruminal disappearance!Kinetics of autumn-stockpiled tall fescue

R. Flores, W. K. Coblentz, R. K. Ogden, K. P. Coffey, M. L. Looper, C. P. West, C. F. Rosenkrans

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Abstract

Two tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) forages, one an experimental host plant/endophyte association containing a novel endophyte (HM4) that produces low or nil concentrations of ergot alkaloids, and the other a typical association of Kentucky 31 tall fescue and the wild-type endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum; E+), were autumn-stockpiled following late-summer clipping and fertilization with 56 kg/ha of N to assess the nutritive value and ruminal disappearance kinetics of autumn-stockpiled tall fescue forages. Beginning on December 4, 2003, sixteen 361 ±56.4-kg replacement dairy heifers were stratified by weight and breeding and assigned to one of four 1.6-ha pastures (2 each of E+ and HM4) that were strip-grazed throughout the winter. Pastures were sampled before grazing was initiated (December 4), each time heifers were allowed access to a fresh strip (December 26, January 15, and February 4), and when the study was terminated (February 26). For fiber components, there were no interactions between fescue type and sampling date for either pregrazed or postgrazed forages. Over sampling dates, neutral detergent fiber (NDF; 56.5 to 67.8%), acid detergent fiber (27.7 to 34.9%), hemicellulose (28.8 to 34.0%), cellulose (25.0 to 28.1%), and lignin (3.61 to 10.05%) varied with sampling date, but patterns were almost exclusively curvilinear with time. Ruminal disappearance rate of dry matter (DM) was not affected by any treatment factor (overall mean for both pregrazed and postgrazed forages = 0.050 h-1); similar responses were observed for NDF disappearance (overall mean = 0.048 h_1). Interactions of fescue type and sampling date were observed for both pregrazed and postgrazed forages with respect to effective ruminal disappearance of DM; however, estimates were relatively high for all forages (overall mean = 64.0%). Effective disappearance of NDF was relatively extensive for all forages (overall mean = 55.4% of NDF). Based on the results of this trial, the endophyte status of stockpiled tall fescue forages had little practical effect on forage nutritive value and kinetics of ruminal DM or NDF disappearance. Overall, autumn-stockpiled tall fescue forages would appear to be a legitimate and lower cost alternative to harvested forages, and appear to possess suitable nutritional characteristics for developing dairy heifers in the Ozark Highlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2883-2896
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume90
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Keywords

  • Disappearance kinetics
  • Grazing
  • Replacement heifer
  • Tall fescue

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