Beef production using tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus subsp. palmensis) and natural pastures in Arauco province Chile.

Germán Klee G.1, Alejandro Fraga S.1 y Juan Carlos Canobbi V.2

The variation of the liveweight of calves grazed on Tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus subsp. palmensis) during fall-winter was studied for the first time in Chile. Sixteen Holstein x Aberdeen Angus or Hereford bull calves, 7.5 months old and 197 kg liveweight, were pastured on 4.6 hectares of 3 year-old tagasaste planted on natural pasture. The following treatments were studied during fall-winter season: a) Tagasaste grazing (T), and b) Tagasaste grazing plus 2 kg of oats calf/day (TA). In the spring and summer, all yearling steers grazed 6 ha of natural damp pasture consisting of berry clover (Trifolium fragiferum) and grass. The evaluation included availability and chemical composition of forage, variation of liveweight and carcass weight. The winter liveweight gains of the bull calves grazing on tagasaste reached 0.38 kg/bull calf/day. This value increased to 0.72 kg/ bull calf/day with the addition of oats. In the animals grazing spring and summer damp natural pasture, the daily liveweight gains were 0.9 and 1.1 kg/yearling steer for T and TA, respectively. The steers finished with 428 and 444 kg of liveweight at 17 months age and the liveweight production per ha reached 348.6 and 371.3 kg in T and TA, respectively. The carcass parameters did not differ significantly (P>0.05), however, the difference in carcass fat was significant at P<0.1, which is an important economic consideration. It is concluded that tagasaste is an acceptable resource for autumn and winter grazing.

Keywords: tagasaste, winter grazing, weight gain, steers.
1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional de Investigación Quilamapu, Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile. E-mail: gklee@inia.cl
2 Esmeralda 019, Cañete, Chillán, Chile.