Date of this Version
Seasonal patterns of dry matter partitioning and nutritive value of leaf and stem components of grass species is important for selecting species for planting, planning grazing strategies, and making management decisions. Our objective was to compare dry matter yield and crude protein (CP) yield of blade, sheath, and stem fractions of intermediate wheatgrass [Elytrigia intermedia (Host) Nevski] and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) during the growing season. Intermediate wheatgrass and smooth bromegrass were sampled on a weekly basis from 14 May to 25 June in 1997 and from 5 May to 23 June in 1998 at Lincoln, NE. Samples were separated into blade, sheath, stem, and inflorescence components and yield and concentration of CP were determined. Smooth bromegrass tended to have greater blade and stem yield than intermediate wheatgrass during the 1997 and 1998 sampling periods. Yield of sheath was similar between species. Crude protein yield of blade and stem was also greater for smooth bromegrass than intermediate wheatgrass in both years. Sheath CP yield was greater for intermediate wheatgrass in 1998. Both species followed a similar pattern of dry matter accumulation; however, intermediate wheatgrass dry matter accumulation, especially stem, tended to be 1 to 2 wk behind smooth bromegrass. Differences in dry matter partitioning, yield, and CP in these two species illustrates the advantages having a complement of forage species. Choosing a diversity of species with differing growth habits would be beneficial for improving the distribution of forage yield and quality to match the seasonal demand of grazing livestock.