Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Crop Science

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy D. Phillips

Abstract

Many factors control, contribute to, stimulate and limit forage selection. It is apparent that cattle prefer certain cultivars compared to others. This study sought to test if cattle displayed preferences for certain cultivars over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009. Determining the effect of endophyte status on preference was another objective. Previous research showed rapid increase in the selection of preferred cultivars, i.e., diet learning. We attempted to replicate those results. Forty cultivars (34 tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) cultivars), two festuloliums (Festuca pratensis x Lolium perenne), two meadow fescue (Lolium pratense) and one meadow brome (Bromus biebersteinii), and one orchard grass (Dactylis glomerta L.)) were used to determine preference and to investigate factors contributing to preference. From this two-year study, we observed that cattle preferred certain cultivars compared to others, e.g. KYFA9819 > Latar-OG > Barfest-FL and AU-Triumph < 97TF1-EF < Seine, the most and least preferred cultivars, respectively. During drought conditions, both novel and toxic endophyte cultivars were preferred significantly (P < 0.05) to endophyte free counterparts. The cattle showed rejection of unpalatable grasses but did not clearly show learning to increase selection of desired cultivars.

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