Characterization of season and sampling method effects on measurement of forage quality in fescue-based pastures

T. M. Dubbs, E. S. Vanzant, S. E. Kitts, R. F. Bapst, B. G. Fieser, C. M. Howlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Information on seasonal changes and effects of sampling methods on the measurement of forage quality is limited for fescue-based pastures. Eight continuously grazed, 0.76-ha, fescue-based pastures were used to compare forage type, method of collection, and seasonal effects on forage quality in a repeated-measures, split-plot design. Four pastures were interseeded with red clover in March 2000. Masticate (M; from four ruminally cannulated steers) and hand-clipped (C) samples were collected every 28 d from April to October 2000. Interseeding red clover did not affect (P > 0.10) OM, CP, NDF, and ADF concentrations or CP degradability. Sampling method and season interacted (P < 0.03) for OM, CP, NDF, and ADF concentrations. Concentrations of OM averaged 5 percentage units more (P < 0.01) in C than in M in all months and were more variable with M than with C. Samples clipped between April and September averaged 5.5 percentage units greater NDF (P < 0.01), 3.0 percentage units greater ADF (P < 0.01), and 4.5 percentage units less CP (P < 0.01) than masticate samples obtained during the same time period. Fiber and CP concentrations did not differ (P > 0.10) between C and M samples obtained in October. Differences in CP degradability estimates (using Streptomyces griseus protease) between the two sample types were greater in late-season samples than in samples obtained from April to June. When S. griseus protein degradability estimates were compared with in situ estimates for masticate samples, no differences (P > 0.10) were detected early in the season (April to June). However, the S. griseus procedure overestimated in situ values (P < 0.01) by an average of 3 percentage units in samples obtained between July and October. Differences in composition of C and M samples were substantial until late season, when opportunities for selective grazing were minimal. Small differences between S. griseus and in situ estimates of CP degradability indicate that the S. griseus procedure can yield useful CP degradability estimates for fescue-based pasture samples. Although it might be possible to apply correction values to clipped samples to estimate CP and fiber concentrations of diets selected by grazing cattle, inconsistent relationships preclude this approach for estimates of CP degradability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1315
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Beef Cattle
  • Diet
  • Festuca arundinacea
  • Nutrient Content
  • Protein Degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of season and sampling method effects on measurement of forage quality in fescue-based pastures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this