Effect of Wheat Morphological Stage at Grazing Termination on Economic Return
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The economic impact of timing of grazing termination in the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain-stocker cattle (Bos sp.) enterprise has not been elucidated. A 4-yr study used the first hollow stem stage of growth in ungrazed wheat as a grazing termination indicator and the subsequent effect on net return. First hollow stem is the stage at which hollow stem can first be identified above the crown; it occurs prior to the growing point reaching the soil surface. Net return was maximized when grazing was terminated at first hollow stem. Grain yield decreased (P < 0.05) 83 kg ha-1 d-1 as cattle grazed past first hollow stem. Increased weight gain by cattle was not sufficient to offset grain yield losses. Since hollow stem formation was delayed in grazed wheat, producers who use semidwarf wheat as a dual-purpose crop should monitor the morphological stage in ungrazed areas of the field to determine the optimum time to terminate grazing.