Sward structural resistance and biting effort in grazing ruminants

Griffiths, Wendy M., and Gordon, Iain J. (2003) Sward structural resistance and biting effort in grazing ruminants. Animal Research Online, 52 (2). pp. 145-160.

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Abstract

Grazing ruminants face complex decisions in searching for and harvesting adequate forage to meet their requirements in the face of heterogeneity in the abundance, nutritive value and distribution of resources. Some of the major decisions which affect the bite mass and therefore, forage intake adjustments in bite depth, bite area and exerted bite force, are made in relation to heterogeneity in sward structure. A number of relationships have been established linking the adjustment of bite mechanics in response to variations in sward height and bulk density on temperate forages for animals of a range of body sizes. However, there is less consistency in the response of the bite mechanics to the greater variations in structural resistance that arise from the vertical and horizontal arrangements of the plant morphological organs of leaf, pseudostem and stem. Furthermore, only limited progress has been made in quantifying the biting forces involved in grazing, the linkages between the plant morphological organs and their effect on bite force and, the interaction with body mass. In this paper, we discuss the different hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the regulation of bite depth and provide evidence for their acceptance or rejection. We comment on the knowledge gap in understanding biting force mechanisms across animal species of contrasting body mass, and stress the need for differentiation between the concepts of biting force and biting effort.

Item ID: 42568
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1627-3591
Keywords: bite, effort, force, ruminants, structure
Funders: Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST), New Zealand, Macaulay Development Trust, Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD)
Projects and Grants: FRST MLUR001
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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