The effect of the density and physical properties of grass stems on the foraging behaviour and instantaneous intake rate by cattle grazing an artificial reproductive tropical sward

Benvenutti, M.A., Gordon, I.J., and Poppi, D.P. (2006) The effect of the density and physical properties of grass stems on the foraging behaviour and instantaneous intake rate by cattle grazing an artificial reproductive tropical sward. Grass and Forage Science, 61 (3). pp. 272-281.

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Abstract

In reproductive swards, stems appear to act as vertical or horizontal barriers to bite formation, influencing instantaneous intake rate (IIR). The hypothesis was tested that the stems' barrier effect is determined by the physical properties and density of stems. Artificial microswards, consisting of 20-cm leaves and 15-cm stems of Panicum maximum, were offered to three steers (362 kg) in a factorial combination of three stem densities (0, 100 and 400 stems m⁻²) and two levels of stem tensile resistance [low (LTRS) and high tensile-resisting stems (HTRS)]. LTRS were not a barrier to defoliation and did not affect bite depth and bite mass. HTRS acted as both a horizontal barrier and a vertical barrier depressing bite depth (13.4, 13.6 and 5.1 cut for 0, 100 and 400 stems m⁻², respectively), bite area (89.3, 50.8 and 47.6 cm² for 0, 100 and 400 stems m⁻², respectively), bite mass (0.51, 0.29 and 0.11 g for 0, 100 and 400 stems m⁻², respectively) and IIR (23.8, 10.5 and 3.6 g sec⁻² for 0, 100 and 400 Stems m⁻², respectively). The results confirmed the importance of the density and physical properties of stems as determinants of the stems' barrier effect on bite dimensions and IIR.

Item ID: 42522
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2494
Keywords: bite dimensions, foraging behaviour, stem physical properties, sward structure
Funders: CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, INTA, Argentina
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 50%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8304 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops > 830499 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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