Effects of Stocking Rate and Corn Gluten Feed Supplementation on Performance of Two-year Cows Grazing Stockpiled Forage during Winter

Russell, James
Driskill, Ronda
Lawrence, John
Morrical, Daniel
Strohbehn, Daryl
Barnhart, Stephen
Lawrence, John
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For two years, four 6.25 and 8.75-acre pastures containing endophyte-free tall fescue-red clover pastures were stocked with pregnant two-year old cows at rates of .34 (low) or .48 (high) cows/acre to strip-graze from October to March. Eight similar cows were allotted to two dry lots and fed tall fescue-red clover hay. Corn gluten feed was supplemented to cows in two pastures at each stocking rate and in the dry lots to maintain a condition score of 5 on a 9-point scale. Cows in the remaining pastures were supplemented with corn gluten feed when snow and ice limited grazing. At the end of the winter feeding period, body condition scores of cows maintained in the dry lot were greater than those grazing stockpiled forage in year 1, but did not differ in year 2. Post-winter body condition scores of grazing cows supplemented with corn gluten feed at the high level were greater than those supplemented at the lower level at the high stocking rate in year 2. Cows maintained in dry lots required an average of 5195 lb hay DM/cow and 69 lb corn gluten feed DM/cow to maintain body condition. Cows supplemented at the high and low levels of corn gluten feed were 241 and 19 lb corn gluten feed DM/cow. As a result, average winter production costs for cows grazing stockpiled forage at the high and low stocking rates were $0.90 and $1.22/cow/day compared to $1.35/cow/day for cows maintained in a dry lot. Grazing of stockpiled forage is an effective management system to lower winter production costs of young pregnant cows compared to hay feeding even in winters with above average snowfall. The production costs for winter grazing of stockpiled forage can be reduced by increasing the stocking rate and supplementing corn gluten feed.