Performance of Beef Cattle Creep Fed Concentrate or Creep Grazed on Warm-Season Legumes
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This study compared the animal performance of beef calves stocked on bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flgg) basal pastures (1.2 ha) without supplementation (Control) or with supplementation in the form of creep-grazed (0.12 ha) perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) or cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] or a creep-fed concentrate. Twenty-four cow-calf pairs were assigned to two blocks. Cows weighed 559 98 kg, averaged 5.5 0.6 body condition score, and were 5 3 yr old, and calves weighed 152 32 kg and were 139 27 d old. The first block had duplicate pastures for the control, cowpea creep grazing, and creep feed treatments whereas the second block had duplicate pastures for cowpea, perennial peanut, and the control treatments. Herbage mass of cowpea was greater than that of perennial peanut or bahiagrass in Weeks 2 to 4 in Year 1 and Week 4 in Year 2 and then declined. The neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations of cowpea and perennial peanut were less than that of bahiagrass, and crude protein and in vitro true digestibility of cowpea were consistently greater than that of perennial peanut and bahiagrass. In Year 1, weaned calf body weights of creep-grazed or creep-fed calves were greater than that of the control calves and creep grazing cowpea or creep feed resulted in similar increases in Year 2. Calf average daily gain (ADG) was greatest for creep feed but did not differ among other treatments. Calf performance was improved by creep feeding concentrate followed by creep grazing cowpea. Benefits of cowpea on ADG were constrained by reduction in cowpea herbage mass and nutritive value during the grazing period. Crop Science Society of America.