Harvest frequency affects herbage accumulation and nutritive value of brachiaria grass hybrids in Florida

João M.B. Vendramini, Lynn E. Sollenberger, André B. Soares, Wilton L. da Silva, João M.D. Sanchez, Andre L. Valente, André D. Aguiar, Mary K. Mullenix

Abstract


Brachiaria ‘Mulato II’ is a hybrid brachiaria grass with superior nutritive value when compared with other warm-season grasses. The performance of 2 new brachiaria grass hybrids was compared with that of Mulato II in terms of herbage accumulation, nutritive value and ground cover in a series of experiments. In Experiment 1, Mulato II and lines BR02/1752 (now cv. Cayman) and BR02/1794 were harvested at 3- and 6-wk regrowth intervals in South Florida. Mulato II had greater herbage accumulation and ground cover than Cayman and BR02/1794, while Mulato II and Cayman had greater in vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM) concentration than BR02/1794. Regrowth interval did not affect herbage accumulation and ground cover but herbage harvested at 3-wk intervals had greater nutritive value than 6-wk regrowth. In Experiment 2, Mulato II had similar IVDOM and CP concentrations to but greater herbage accumulation, ground cover and plant density than Cayman in North-Central Florida. In Experiment 3, Mulato II and Cayman plots were grazed at 2-, 4- or 6-wk intervals, and herbage accumulation and nutritive value were similar for both cultivars. Herbage nutritive value decreased and ground cover increased linearly as regrowth interval increased from 2 to 6 wk, and Mulato II had greater ground cover than Cayman. The new hybrids displayed no production or nutritive value advantages over Mulato II; regrowth intervals of less than 3 wk should be avoided to maintain Brachiaria hybrid stands in this subtropical environment.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(2)197-206

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