51-13 Potential Warm Season Forages for Beef Production in the Southern Great Plains.
Monday, October 23, 2017: 2:00 PM
Tampa Convention Center, Room 19
Poor forage quality of available perennial grasses during mid to late summer is a limiting factor for stocker livestock production in the Southern Great Plains (SGP). Therefore, there has been a continued search for effective plant materials that can provide sufficient and high quality forage. There is a broad range of potential grass and legume species native to Africa, India, and South and Central Americas that are grown as grain crops may serve as high quality forages in the SGP. However, any plant selection should account for unpredictable summer rainfall patterns and frequent occurrence of prolonged drought periods. Further, it should not create water deficit for the following winter wheat, a primary forage crop in the SGP. Considering these factors, the selection of low water demanding warm season crops seems more appropriate for the SGP. Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba), tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius), and moth bean (Vigna aconitifolia) among the legumes and finger (Eleusine coracana) millet and teff (Eragrostis tef) among the grasses look promising due to their capability of producing biomass on low precipitation. During 2017 summer, we conducted plot trials at the USDA-ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory, near El Reno, OK to evaluate these species. The data collection includes plant height, forage yield, and forage quality parameters such as nitrate accumulation, crude protein, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and in vitro digestible dry matter. The results from this study will be presented and discussed the implications of the evaluated forages in enhancing the sustainability of forage-stocker systems in SGP.