The horizontal barrier effect of stems on the foraging behaviour of cattle grazing five tropical grasses

Benvenutti, Marcelo A., Gordon, Iain J., Popi, Dennis P., Crowther, Robert, Spinks, Warwick, and Moreno, Fabiana C. (2009) The horizontal barrier effect of stems on the foraging behaviour of cattle grazing five tropical grasses. Livestock Science, 126 (1-3). pp. 229-238.

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The rate of nutrient intake (RNI) is a primary determinant of animal performance in grazing cattle and depends on both diet quality and instantaneous intake rate (IIR). In turn, diet quality and IIR are a function of the foraging behaviour of the animal (selectivity, bite mass and bite rate) and the characteristics of the sward. In this study we evaluated the effect of the stem density and the tensile resistance of stems on the foraging behaviour of cattle grazing tropical pasture species. The methodology involved the use of small sown microswards offered to tethered cattle. The experiment consisted of a factorial combination of five tropical grasses [Bothriochloa pertusa (Bp), Chloris barbata (Cb), Chloris gayana (Cg), Cynodon dactylon (Cd) and Heteropogon contortus (Hc)] and three stem densities (0, 400 and 800 stems m−2). Bp and Cd had stems of significantly lower tensile resistance (19 and 15 N respectively) (Group 1) than those of Cb, Cg and Hc (110, 211 and 167 N respectively) (Group 2). The steers avoided stems of Group 2 and thus, reduced bite area, bite mass, IIR and RNI as stem density increased. However, the animals did not avoid stems of Group 1 and there was no effect of stem density on any of the foraging behaviour variables when cattle grazed species in Group 1. These results confirm that RNI and plant part selection is closely associated with the tensile resistance of the stem.

Item ID: 11439
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1871-1413
Keywords: foraging behaviour; cattle; tropical pastures
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2010 04:04
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070204 Animal Nutrition @ 80%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110601 Biomechanics @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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