CoolSeason annual legume effects on wheat forage nutritive value Academic Article uri icon


  • Hard red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. emend. Thell.) is an important cool-season winter forage used primarily for increasing weight gain on growing beef cattle in the southern Great Plains. 'Karl' hard red winter wheat grown alone or grown with either hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) or pea [(Pisum sativum L. subsp. arvense) var. 'Austrian winter'] was sampled for forage nutritive value. The interplanted legume forage was also sampled for forage nutritive value. Ruminally degradable nitrogen (RDN):ruminally degradable organic matter (RDOM) ratios were highest for legume forage and exceeded the National Research Council (NRC) recommendation of 26.13 g RDN:1 kg RDOM for peak ruminal microbial efficiency during March, April, and May sample periods over the 2-year study. Wheat grown alone met the NRC requirement only during March. Wheat grown with either hairy vetch or pea had higher (P<0.05) RDN:RDOM ratios and crude protein (CP) values when compared to wheat grown alone during May. There were no differences (P>0.05) in dry matter (DM) yield between wheat grown alone or grown with the legumes except when analyzed by individual date, and then only for 1 of 6 sample dates. Undegraded intake protein (UIP) was generally higher (P<0.05) for wheat compared to the legumes and higher (P<0.05) for wheat grown alone during May compared to wheat grown with the legumes during May. The decline of the RDN:RDOM values to 40% below the NRC recommendation of wheat grown alone during May indicates a possible need for protein supplementation for growing beef cattle grazing wheat during this period. These data also indicate that interplanting legumes with wheat may enhance animal performance by providing forage of higher nutritive value. More information regarding grazing tolerance of these selected cool-season annual legumes and subsequent animal performance is required.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Plant Nutrition

author list (cited authors)

  • Redmon, L. A., Horn, G. W., & Lunsford, C.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Redmon, Larry A||Horn, Gerald W||Lunsford, Carolyn

publication date

  • January 1998