Forage systems for beef production from conception to slaughter: II. Stocker systems

J Anim Sci. 1992 Feb;70(2):588-96. doi: 10.2527/1992.702588x.


Fall weaned Angus calves grazed stockpiled 1) tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), 2) tall fescue-red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), or 3) tall fescue-alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) or were barn-fed, 4) tall fescue hay, 5) orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.)-alfalfa hay, or 6) tall fescue silage from late October to early April during each of 5 yr. Infection of the fescue with Acremonium coenophialum ranged from 0 to 55%. There were two replications each of steers and heifers for each forage system in a completely random design. Each replicate was grazed by three Angus stockers, except for System 1, which was grazed by six stockers, for a total of 420 stockers. Each pasture replicate contained .8 ha (except System 1, which was 1.6 ha), and the stocking rate was one stocker per .27 ha. Fescue hay and silage were harvested each spring for barn-fed systems from the area stockpiled for grazing by cattle in System 1. Nitrogen fertilizer (90 kg/ha) was applied in early spring and again in early August, before stockpiling; no N was applied to stockpiled fescue grown with legumes. Daily gains by calves grazing stockpiled fescue-alfalfa were greater (P less than .01) than by calves grazing stockpiled fescue-red clover or N-fertilized stockpiled fescue (.50, .33, and .34 kg/d, respectively), but fescue-alfalfa calves required more days (P less than .01) of supplemental hay feeding (105, 60, and 36, respectively). Calves fed fescue hay in the barn gained more (P less than .01) than those fed fescue silage.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animal Husbandry*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / growth & development*
  • Cattle / physiology
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Eating
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Poaceae*
  • Rain
  • Seasons
  • Temperature
  • Virginia
  • Weight Gain


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins