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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2375954, 9 pages
Research Article

Winter Grazing in a Grass-Fed System: Effect of Stocking Density and Sequential Use of Autumn-Stockpiled Grassland on Performance of Yearling Steers

West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Domingo J. Mata-Padrino

Received 27 September 2016; Revised 15 December 2016; Accepted 22 January 2017; Published 19 February 2017

Academic Editor: David Clay

Copyright © 2017 Domingo J. Mata-Padrino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Winter grazing can help reduce the need for purchased feeds in livestock production systems, when finishing cattle on pasture. Our objective was to evaluate the influence of stocking density and grazing stockpiled forage on performance of yearling steers during winter. Three grasslands were winter grazed for two years: I, naturalized pastureland, and II and III, sown and managed for hay production during the growing season but grazed in winter. Two stocking densities were used: low 7.41 and high 12.35 steers ha−1. Herbage mass was estimated before and after each grazing event, and disappearance (consumption, weathering, and trampling) was the difference between both. Forage mass and residual differed by stocking density (SD), year (YR), and grazing interval (GI), and disappearance differed by YR and GI. Grass and dead constituents of botanical composition differed by YR and GI. No differences were found for legumes and forbs. CP differed by YR and GI, and NDF and ADF differed only by YR. Steer average daily gain was 0.15 kg d−1 in 2011 and 0.68 kg d−1 in 2012 and varied by YR and GI. Acceptable gains in 2012 may be a product of environmental conditions that influenced herbage mass and nutritive value during stockpile and animal behavior during winter.