The effects of stem density of tropical swards and age of grazing cattle on their foraging behaviour

Benvenutti, M.A., Gordon, I.J., and Poppi, D.P. (2008) The effects of stem density of tropical swards and age of grazing cattle on their foraging behaviour. Grass and Forage Science, 63 (1). pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

The effects of stem density of tropical swards and age of cattle on their foraging behaviour were evaluated using artificial microswards, consisting of leaves of 20 cm in height and high tensile-resisting stems of 25 cm in height of Panicum maximum. The treatments consisted of a factorial combination of four stem densities of swards (0, 100, 200 and 400 stems m(-2)) and two ages of cattle (1- and 3-year-old steers). There was a significant interaction between stem density of sward and age of cattle for bite area (BA), bite mass (BM) and instantaneous intake rate (IIR). Stem density had a significant negative effect on these variables describing ingestive behaviour which was particularly strong for older steers. In leaf-only swards, mature cattle achieved a much greater BA (106.5 vs. 57.9 cm(2)), BM (0.88 vs. 0.47 g DM) and IIR (46.9 vs. 17.2 g DM min(-1)) than did young cattle. However, these variables were very similar across ages of cattle at the highest stem density of sward. These results show the importance of the high tensile-resisting stems as deterrents of the grazing process in tropical pastures, particularly in older cattle.

Item ID: 42535
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2494
Keywords: bite dimensions, foraging behaviour, cattle, stem density
Funders: CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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