Pastures containing alfalfa-smooth bromegrass or smooth bromegrass were stocked with .6, .8, or 1.0 cow-calf units per acre to compare cow and calf production in rotational grazing systems managed for optimum forage quality. To remove excess forage early in the grazing season, yearling heifers grazed with the cows in each pasture at a stocking rate of .6 heifers per acre for the first 28 days of grazing. Live forage density and days of grazing per paddock were estimated by sward height. Cows, calves, and heifers were weighed and cows condition scored every 28 days. All cows grazed for 140 days except those grazing the smooth bromegrass pasture stocked at 1.0 cow-calf units per acre; these were removed after 119 days in 1994 and 129 days in 1995 because of lack of forage. Alfalfa-grass pastures tended to have a more consistent supply of forage over the grazing season than the bromegrass pastures. Cows grazing the alfalfa-cool season grass pastures had greater seasonal weight gains and body condition score increases and lower heifer weight gains than the smooth bromegrass pastures. Daily and total calf weight gains and total animal production also tended to be greater in alfalfa-cool season grass pastures. Increasing stocking rates resulted in significantly lower condition increases and heifer weight gains, while increasing the amounts of calf and total growing animal produced.
Iowa State University
Western, Jodi M.; Russell, James R.; and Berryman, Rod, "Cow-Calf Production from Alfalfa-grass or Smooth Bromegrass Pastures Rotationally Grazed at Different Stocking Rates" (1997). Beef Research Report, 1996. 27.