Incorporating a perennial warm- season grass (WSG) into tall fescue (Lolium arundina-ceum [Schreb.] Darbysh.) forage systems in the fescue belt can help avoid the effects of fescue toxicosis on beef cattle (Bos taurus) reproduction and animal performance and provide forage during summer when fescue production is low. However, little information is available on the economics of incorporating WSG into fescue-based forage systems. We developed a simulation model to compare profitability of three forage systems—100% tall fescue, 70% tall fescue/30% bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), and 70% tall fescue/ 30% switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)—while also comparing spring- and fall-calving sea-sons on model beef cattle cow-calf operations in the fescue belt. Incorporating switch-grass increased profitability of tall fescue forage systems in both spring- and fall- calving herds, while adding bermudagrass increased profitability in spring-calving herds but not fall-calving herds. Spring-calving herds benefited the most from incorporating WSG, with profitability increases of $877 and $372 per hectare for switchgrass and bermudagrass, respectively, over the 100% tall fescue system. The order of profitability of forage systems did not change with randomly simulated decreases in rainfall and associated increased hay- feeding days, but with annual rainfall >88% of the long- term average, fall- calving 100% tall fescue was more profitable than fall- calving 70% tall fescue/30% bermuda grass. Of the scenarios modeled, the results of the simulation suggest that a profit-maximizing producer would utilize a 70% tall fescue/30% switchgrass forage system.
Brazil, Kyle A.; Keyser, Patrick D.; Griffith, Andrew P.; Boyer, Christopher N.; and Mulliniks, J. Travis
"Perennial Warm-Season Grass Forages Impact on Cow-Calf Profitability in the Fescue Belt,"
Journal of Applied Farm Economics: Vol. 5
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jafe/vol5/iss1/2