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Effects of tillage method and seeding rate of wheat pasture on forage production and calf performance

      ABSTRACT

      Objectives

      Our objectives were to determine the effects of wheat (Triticum aestivumL.) establishment method [conventional tillage (CT) vs. no-till (NT)] and seeding rate on forage and animal production.

      Materials and Methods

      Pastures were planted in early September of each year with seeding rates (SR) of 67, 100, or 134 kg of wheat/ha. Steers (n = 144; BW = 235 ± 23.2 kg) were placed on wheat pasture for the fall and winter grazing season and were replaced by a new set of steers (n = 288, BW = 263 ± 19.1 kg) for spring grazeout. Forage was sampled monthly for forage production and nutritive quality determination.

      Results and Discussion

      Increasing SR resulted in increased (P ≤ 0.02) forage mass and forage allowance but tended (P ≤ 0.08) to decrease CP and ME of wheat forage in the fall and winter. No-till tended (P ≤ 0.09) to produce less forage mass during the fall and winter but tended (P = 0.08) to increase forage mass in April. Increasing SR tended (P = 0.09) to increase steer ADG during the fall and winter. Steer gains during the fall and winter were not affected (P = 0.95) by tillage system and were improved (P = 0.01) by NT in the spring.

      Implications and Applications

      Increasing SR increased fall forage production in both CT and NT and tended to increase steer gains in the fall, without increasing total gain per hectare during the fall. No-till establishment methods have production advantages that will likely improve farm net returns.

      Key words

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