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Reed canarygrass forage quality under two-cut management

Our objective was to evaluate nutritive value of reed canarygrass under two-harvest management and low availability of soil K. Reed canarygrass was established in 1992 and again in 1993 at two Ithaca sites. In 1995 and 1996, a two-cut management was initiated, with 3 rates of N fertilizer and 3 rates of K fertilizer. Crude protein averaged 16% for the spring harvest and 12% for the fall harvest at the high N fertilization rate in 1999. In vitro “true” digestibility (48-hour) declined with increased N fertilization, but remained above 70%. Neutral detergent fiber digestibility also declined with increased N fertilization, dropping to 62% in the spring and 50% in the fall at the high N fertilization rate. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) averaged 65% in the spring and 58% in the fall at the highest N fertilization rate.

Conclusions:

  • Nitrogen-fertilized reed canarygrass under a two-harvest management with no K fertilization produced forage with sufficiently high IVTD and NDF digestibility for non-lactating dairy cows.
  • Some CP supplementation in the diet may be required with mature grass forage.