Plants 2014, 3(2), 266-283; doi:10.3390/plants3020266
Article

Nutritive Value Response of Native Warm-Season Forage Grasses to Harvest Intervals and Durations in Mixed Stands

Received: 22 December 2013; in revised form: 23 March 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 16 May 2014
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Interest in management of native warm-season grasses for multiple uses is growing in southeastern USA. Forage quality response of early-succession mixed stands of big bluestem (BB, Andropogon gerardii), indiangrass (IG, Sorghastrum nutans), and little bluestem (SG, Schizachyrium scoparium) to harvest intervals (30-, 40-, 60-, 90 or 120-d) and durations (one or two years) were assessed in crop-field buffers. Over three years, phased harvestings were initiated in May, on sets of randomized plots, ≥90 cm apart, in five replications (blocks) to produce one-, two-, and three-year-old stands, by the third year. Whole-plot regrowths were machine-harvested after collecting species (IG and LB) sample tillers for leafiness estimates. Species-specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf-to-stem ratio (LSR) were greater for early-season harvests and shorter intervals. In a similar pattern, whole-plot crude protein concentrations were greatest for the 30-d (74 g·kg−1 DM) and the least (40 g·kg−1 DM) for the 120-d interval. Corresponding neutral detergent fiber (NDF) values were the lowest (620 g·kg−1 DM) and highest (710 g·kg−1 DM), respectively. In vitro dry matter and NDF digestibility were greater for early-season harvests at shorter intervals (63 and 720 g·kg−1 DM). With strategic harvesting, similar stands may produce quality hay for beef cattle weight gain.
Keywords: native grass; warm-season; bluestem; digestibility; composition; crude protein; defoliation; forage quality; mixed stand; harvest interval
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MDPI and ACS Style

Temu, V.W.; Rude, B.J.; Baldwin, B.S. Nutritive Value Response of Native Warm-Season Forage Grasses to Harvest Intervals and Durations in Mixed Stands. Plants 2014, 3, 266-283.

AMA Style

Temu VW, Rude BJ, Baldwin BS. Nutritive Value Response of Native Warm-Season Forage Grasses to Harvest Intervals and Durations in Mixed Stands. Plants. 2014; 3(2):266-283.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Temu, Vitalis W.; Rude, Brian J.; Baldwin, Brian S. 2014. "Nutritive Value Response of Native Warm-Season Forage Grasses to Harvest Intervals and Durations in Mixed Stands." Plants 3, no. 2: 266-283.

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