Nursing beef calves grazing bermudagrass pastures with their dams gained more weight when given access to a creep-grazed summer-annual legume in a Louisiana State University study.
Creep grazing was evaluated at four locations from midsummer to weaning. The legumes were alyceclover, aeschynomene, cowpeas and soybeans, with three locations having one or two of them and one site having all four.
Each legume was established on 10% of the available pasture, and all locations also had a control treatment with similar cattle, grass and stocking rate but no legume.
Creep grazing days ranged from 82 to 96, depending on location. Legume availability was highest early in the trial, declined in August and was insignificant in September.
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At three locations, creep-grazed calves gained 168 lbs/head vs. 157 lbs for calves without access to a legume. At the fourth site, bermudagrass dominated alyceclover in the creep-grazed area, which may have limited intake, say the researchers.
They figure earlier grazing of legumes and better legume availability in September would further increase calf weaning weights with creep grazing. But they point out that it required substantially more management than did the control treatment.
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