Ingestive behaviour and forage intake responses of young and mature steers to the vertical differentiation of sugarcane in pen and grazing studies

Benvenutti, M.A., Pavetti, D.R., Poppi, D.P., Mayer, D.G., and Gordon, I.J. (2017) Ingestive behaviour and forage intake responses of young and mature steers to the vertical differentiation of sugarcane in pen and grazing studies. Journal of Agricultural Science, 155 (10). pp. 1677-1688.

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Abstract

Sugarcane is an important forage resource in sub-tropical and tropical areas as it is used during the winter or dry season when the growth rate of pastures is significantly reduced. The current research study assessed the effect of four vertical sections of sugarcane in a pen trial and the level of sugarcane utilization in a grazing trial on the ingestive behaviour and forage intake of two age groups of steers (1 and 2 years old). The pen trial was comprised of two simultaneous 4 x 4 balanced Latin square designs (one for each age group of animals) of four periods, four animals and four feeding treatments, which consisted of four equal vertical sections of sugarcane. Dry matter (DM) and digestible DM (DDM) intake per kilogram of metabolic weight declined gradually from top to bottom of the sugarcane, with no significant differences between the age groups of steers. This difference in intake was associated with a decline in intake of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) as a proportion of the liveweight of the animal and an increase of total chewing time per kilogram of DM or NDF from top to bottom of the sugarcane. It was concluded that the toughness of plant material played a significant role regulating intake, which was higher for the top sections of sugarcane. In the grazing trial, steers of both age groups grazed down sugarcane in three plots over 9 days. Steers grazed up to four distinctive grazing strata. Digestible DM intake (DDM intake) was high at low levels of horizontal utilization of the top grazing stratum but DDM intake started to decline sharply when this stratum was removed in 0.92 of paddock area (i.e. equivalent to 0.08 of the pasture area remaining un-grazed). It was concluded that the proportion of un-grazed area of the pasture can be used as a grazing management strategy to control forage intake for sugarcane.

Item ID: 51935
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-5146
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 07:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 50%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070199 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 100%
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