Pearl millet pastures allow for longer cattle grazing

After frost, sorghum forages produce levels of prussic acid that are potentially toxic to cattle. Researchers at New MexicoState UniversityAgricultural Experiment Station introduced grazing of pearl millet pastures during two frost-prone autumns. For comparison, grazing began on Aug.13 and Sept.10 and grazing of the sorghum-sudangrass pastures ended on Oct.22 and Nov.11 due to anticipated hard freeze or frost. Grazing of pearl millet pastures ended on Nov.5 and Dec.4 because they anticipated that forage would soon become limited. Pearl millet pastures allowed grazing for an additional 14 days and 24 days compared to sorghum-sudangrass during the two frost-prone autumn periods. After frost, cows grazing pearl millet accumulated another average of 85 pounds per acre. Growing cattle grazing pearl millet also had greater average daily weight gains when the two forages were at the same stage of maturity. Grazing growing cattle on pearl millet pastures rather than sorghum-sudangrass in late summer through autumn can increase returns from warm-season annual forage crops each year.It also allows ranchers more time to accumulate forages for winter through spring grazing and reduce hay purchases for feed.

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