Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 9:30 AM

Using Electronic Aids in Pasture Management Decisions.

Joseph L. Moyer, John O. Fritz, and Sarah L. Fogleman. Kansas State University, Southeast Agricultural Research Center, PO Box 316, Parsons, KS 67357

Management decisions for forage-beef cattle production are complex, but computer-based decision aids such as KansasGrazer© can be used in evaluating alternatives.  Establishment of a bermudagrass stand from seed or sprigs was compared for hay or grazing at two locations in eastern Kansas for which varietal data were available.  Using cost-return analysis, it was projected that for hay production at Columbus, the seeded variety, ‘Wrangler’, produced better return than ‘Midland 99’, the best sprigged variety, when hay sold for less than $85 per ton.  As hay price increased, however, returns from Midland 99 increased relative to those from Wrangler.  At Ottawa, ‘Ozark’, a sprigged variety, produced better return than Wrangler at hay prices above $74 per ton.  Stocker heifers grazing Midland 99 at Columbus carried a simulated average 3.24 heifers per acre, compared with 2.16 for Wrangler, resulting in a net loss of $3.62 per acre for Midland 99 and a positive return of $9.81 for Wrangler.  At Ottawa, 2.2 head per acre carried by Ozark compared to 1.34 for Wrangler resulted in a net loss of $12.97 per acre for Wrangler compared to a positive return of $3.07 for Ozark.  A combination of grazing and hay production could improve profitability of any of the bermudagrass varieties.