Stockpiled tall fescue and livestock performance in an early stage midwest silvopasture system
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Using stockpiled forage can substantially reduce livestock feed costs over the winter. However, little is known about utilizing stockpiled forage in an early-stage silvopasture system. This study was conducted to determine if silvopasture production practices utilizing stockpiled forage influence stocker steer performance. The treatments were: (1) stockpiled forage in a non-forested pasture (OPEN) and (2) stockpiled forage in a silvopasture (TREE). Grazing began early December and ended in late February in each of 2 years. Each treatment was replicated three times in a completely randomized design. Forage nutritive value, production, and steer average daily gain (ADG) for the OPEN and TREE treatments were not significantly different as long as the areas occupied by trees was excluded from analyses. When the area occupied by trees was included, the OPEN treatment produced more (P < 0.01) forage than the TREE treatment, with the OPEN producing 3510 kg ha−1 and the TREE producing 2812 kg ha−1. Average daily gain (P = 0.21) was 0.41 kg for the steers in the OPEN treatment and 0.37 kg for steers in the TREE treatment. Gain per ha was significantly different (P < 0.01); the OPEN treatment produced 193 kg of animal gain and the TREE treatment produced 125 kg of animal gain. Exclusion of the area under the tree row from the analysis changed the total gain per ha for the TREE treatment to 148 kg, but was still less (P = 0.01) than the OPEN treatment.
KeywordsCattle Afforestation Silvopasture Stockpiled tall fescue Winter forages
Contribution of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry. This work was funded through the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry under cooperative agreements AG-02100251 with the ARS and C R 826704-01-0 with the US EPA. The results presented are the sole responsibility of the authors and/or the University of Missouri and may not represent the policies or positions of the ARS or EPA.
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