Effect of recovery period of mixture pasture on cattle behaviour, pasture biomass production and pasture nutritional value

F. C. Pereira, L. C. P. Machado Filho*, D. C. S. Kazama, R. Guimarães Júnior, L. G. R. Pereira, D. Enríquez-Hidalgo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Pasture management that considers pasture growth dynamics remains an open question. Conceptually, such management must allow for grazing only after the recuperation of the pasture between two separate timely grazing periods when pasture reaches optimum recovery, as per the first law of Voisin’s rational grazing system. The optimum recovery period not only implies a pasture with better nutritional value and higher biomass yield but one that also reduces the production of enteric methane (CH4) to improve the grazing efficiency of cattle. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate three different recovery periods (RP) of mixed grasses on the grazing behaviour of heifers, as well as herbage selectivity, herbage yield and nutritional value, in vitro degradability and CH4 production. Based on these criteria, three pasture RPs of 24 (RP24), 35 (RP3) and 46 (RP46) days were evaluated in six blocks using a randomized block design. At each predetermined RP, samples of the pasture were taken before the animals were allowed to graze. Right after collecting the pasture samples, heifers accessed the pasture during 4 h consecutively for grazing simulation and behavioural observations. We also measured the bite rate of each animal. The pasture growing for 24 days had the highest biomass production, best nutritional value, best efficiency of in vitro CH4 relative emission (ml) per DM degraded (g) and bite rate of the three RPs. Heifers all selected their herbage, irrespective of RP, but with different nutritional value and higher in vitro degradability. However, this did not change the production of in vitro CH4. Considering the growth conditions of the area where the study was performed, we recommend the shorter RP24 as the most suitable during the summer season. The study’s findings support the idea of management intervention to increase the quality of grazing systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1961-1968
Number of pages8
Journalanimal
Volume14
Issue number9
Early online date15 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020

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