Tropical Grasslands (1989) Volume 23, 129–134

BEEF PRODUCTION FROM NITROGEN-FERTILISED MOTT DWARF ELEPHANTGRASS AND PENSACOLA BAHIAGRASS PASTURES

L.E. SOLLENBERGER and C.S. JONES Jr

University of Florida, Department of Agronomy, 0681-IFAS, Gainesville, Florida, USA 32611-0681.

Abstract

Beef production was compared on pastures of two N-fertilised grasses, a recently released dwarf elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Mott) and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum cv. Pensacola), the predominant pasture grass in Florida. This study was carried out over 3 years during the summer growing season. Average daily liveweight gain (ADG) over the 3 seasons was 0.97 kg for Mott and 0.38 kg for Pensacola. Average stocking rate (SR) on both grasses was approximately 4 yearling steers/ha, and total beef production/ha averaged 483 kg for Mott and 318 kg for Pensacola.
Differences in ADG between grasses was primarily due to higher digestibility and protein in Mott herbage than in Pensacola. Differences in ADG and nutritive value between grasses were particularly pronounced during the late summer to early autumn period, a time when ADG on Pensacola was very low. Estimated dry matter accumulation on Mott and Pensacola pastures averaged 8.2 and 7.1 t/ha/yr over the 3 years.
Mott persists well under good grazing management. The principal limitation to its adoption is the need to propagate it vegetatively. We conclude that Mott has great potential to improve animal production in areas of the tropics and sub-tropics where elephantgrasses are adapted and labour costs are low.

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